It started with an urge to make English muffins. Why? I saw this essay of a recipe from Tom Douglas, thought it sounded awesome, and was not willing to even read the whole thing, let alone attempt it.
So, I searched for a different recipe… and I just got confused.
Alton Brown makes a very wet batter, which he cooks in metal English muffin rings.
This very-highly rated recipe on AllRecipes.com tells you to roll out the batter and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter (or tuna can… interesting).
CountryLiving tells me to form patties with my hands.
Some recipes use powdered milk instead of milk, some add baking soda in the final rise, some swear by cast iron. Every recipe claims to have the twist needed to get the much-desired and very-elusive “nooks and crannies” that characterize Thomas Brand English muffins.
I literally had NO idea where to start… so I decided to choose a recipe that didn’t require any special ingredients (goodbye, Alton Brown’s powdered milk) or special ingredients (not even hacked ones, like tuna cans). I finally settled on a recipe that — of course — claimed to ACTUALLY result in nooks and crannies, and used some history and logic to do so.
The author had found old recipes that included the phrase “let rise overnight.” She knew this would result in over-proofing, which makes things airy and sour… just like an English muffin! Smart lady.
The result was interesting. I was delighted that they looked like English muffins, but disappointed that they were so tiny — the very biggest one was only the size of my palm — and totally misshapen.
I didn’t get so many nooks and crannies, and the texture wasn’t quite right. They were quite sour, much more so than expected, but it was a nice taste. The best part was that they smelled EXACTLY like the Thomas kind when they were toasted, which took me right back to my childhood, when my dad ate English muffins with peanut butter on a very regular basis.
Ok… I lied. The best part was the killer breakfast sandwiches I made with these: egg, bacon, avocado, and sharp cheese. Amazing!
I’m not sure I’ll repeat this exact recipe, as I’d rather something less sour. But, it was a fun experiment, and that was one seriously fantastic breakfast sandwich!