Hooray it's Secret Recipe Club time! For those who don't know SRC is a group of dedicated cooks and bakers who are assigned a blog in secret each month from which to choose a recipe and blog about on the same day.
This month I was delighted to be assigned Karen's Kitchen Stories and I had a wonderful time this month on Karen's blog. Karen is a little bit obsessed with bread and has baked some amazing things which had my mouth watering like Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries, Pain au Chocolat and Strawberry Danish. Yum! She claims to not be an expert at either baking or photography but her recipe index and stunning photos beg to differ!
I also love baking bread (although I am nowhere near as accomplished as Karen) so I decided to choose a bread for SRC and settled on her Cherry English Muffins. Mine ended up being blueberry muffins though as I couldn't find any dried cherries.
Making English muffins has been on my to-do list for years but I've never quite gotten around to it. Part of the reason is that English muffin/crumpet rings just aren't available here in Australia. I know because I've looked in every kitchenware shop I've come across and searched online to no avail. Actually that's not quite true as I found a set of 4 on Ebay that would ship from the US for more than $30! Um, no.
I decided that I wasn't going to let that defeat me and came up with an alternative - I used the rings from my mini spring-form pans instead! I could only fit 3 rings in the pan at a time and the 3 batches each took about 20 minutes to cook so this is definitely not a quick bake, but it does make a great weekend project and we got to enjoy some delicious muffins for afternoon tea. I got 9 largish muffins from this mixture and between the 5 of us they lasted all of, oh, 15 minutes. Seriously!
There's definitely no comparison between these and the shop-bought ones - they were sensational! They may have taken ages to make but it was totally worth it. I'm really pleased I persevered and finally made them. Thanks to Karen for the inspiration!
Blueberry English Muffins
Very slightly adapted from Karen's Kitchen Stories
2 tsp rice malt syrup (or honey)
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (I used homemade almond and coconut milk)
340 g (12 oz) bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)
3 tbs warm water
Corn meal or semolina flour for dusting
Mix the syrup, oil, milk, flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl with a large spoon. Mix together for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 days.
Remove the bowl from the fridge about 2 hours before you will be making the muffins.
When you are ready to make the muffins, mix the baking soda with the water. Sprinkle the cherries over the dough and then gently fold the water, soda and cherries into the dough. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a heavy based frying pan or griddle over medium heat (150 C / 300 F for an electric griddle).
Spray the griddle, muffin rings and a 1/3 cup measure with spray oil and then dust the inside of the rings with cornmeal. Pour 1/3 cup of dough into each ring (no more than 2/3 full). Sprinkle cornmeal over each muffin once you've filled all of the rings.
Cook for at least 12 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown and then flip the muffins in their rings and cook for another 12 minutes or until you are sure they are cooked through and springy to the touch.
Cool the muffins in their rings for 2 minutes, then remove the rings and cool them on their edges for at least 30 minutes to prevent shrinking.
Thanks Karen! I really enjoyed my month visiting Karen's Kitchen Stories.