I have tried making English muffins before, and it was in January of 2010 according to this trusty blog. I just reread that entry and saw that I had planned to make them a few more times before I made my final decision about them. I never made them again, til now. And using a different recipe. My sister in law did send me an English muffin recipe, but I lost it. When I saw this one in the Southern Living cookbook, I decided to try it again. This one is a bit different, because it does have cornmeal on the bottoms, like Thomas English muffins do. Still no nooks or crannies, though...
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
6-7 cups all-purpose flour (I hate ranges like that...I used 6 cups)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cornmeal
Combine yeast and warm water in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
Combine milk, shortening, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan; heat until shortening melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to 105-115 degrees.
Combine yeast mixture, milk mixture, and 3 cups flour in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes)(I never knead that long, maybe 1 or 2...). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured surface, and knead 4 or 5 times. Divide dough in half. Place half of dough on a smooth surface that has been sprinkled with 1/4 cup cornmeal. Pat dough into a circle 3/4" thick; cut dough into rounds with 3 1/2" biscuit cutter (cut carefully, as leftover dough should not be reused). Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
Sprinkle 2 baking sheets (I only did one big one) with remaining cornmeal. Place rounds, cornmeal side down, 2 inches apart on baking sheets (1 side should remain free of cornmeal). Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Using a wide spatula, transfer rounds to preheated, lightly greased electric skillet (350 degrees)(I used just over medium heat in a regular skillet), cornmeal side down. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden (that was too long for almost all of them...). Cool on wire rack. Yield: 8 muffins
Yep, all that work for 8 English muffins. I actually got 9 out of this batch, but still. They only cost like $1.49 at the bread store. They tasted good, toasted with some of my homemade (but quite runny) freezer jam that I posted a few weeks ago. But this was a lot of work for this amount of muffins. Also, weirdly, while they were in the skillet, it smelled like I was making popcorn, because of the cornmeal.