Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thoughts on a Thursday

I was watching

on PBS Sunday night. In the second show  the bakers made English muffins and at the end of the show they talked about the Muffin Man and sang the song. I thought it was very interesting.


Muffin man - Project Gutenberg eText 20338.png

Do [or "Oh, do"] you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Yes [or "Oh, yes"], I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Yes, I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.[1]       from Wikipedia

The rhyme is first recorded in a British manuscript of around 1820 preserved in the Bodleian Library with lyrics very similar to those used today:
Do you know the muffin man?
The muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man
Who lives in Drury Lane?[1]
Victorian households had many of their fresh foods delivered; muffins would be delivered door-to-door by a muffin man. The "muffin" in question was the bread product known in the United States as English muffins, not the much sweeter cupcake-shaped American variety.[2] Drury Lane is a thoroughfare bordering Covent Garden in London.
The rhyme and game appear to have spread to other countries in the mid-nineteenth century, particularly the US and the Netherlands.[1] As with many traditional songs, there are regional variations in wording. Another popular version substitutes "Dorset Lane" for Drury Lane.[1][3]

They said that some of the poorest people would make the muffins and then walk around the city ringing a bell announcing the arrival of their muffins for sale. Of course, some had to complain and then the couldn't ring their bells any more and that ended them selling door to door.


Here are a couple of recipes for English Muffins. I'm sure they are much better than the ones we buy.

Image result for english muffin images
It is well worth rising an hour or so early to make Homemade English Muffins. While the dough rises, you can doze back off or leisurely sip a cup of coffee.
LEVEL: Moderate


·                                 ½ c. water
·                                 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
·                                 1 tsp. sugar
·                                 2½ c. all-purpose flour
·                                 1 c. bread flour
·                                 1 tsp. salt
·                                 ¾ c. milk
·                                 2 tsp. cornmeal


1.       Make the dough:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until bubbly -- about 8 minutes. Combine the flours and salt in a large, ovenproof bowl and warm in the oven for 5 minutes. Place the flour mixture and the yeast mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. With the motor running, add the milk in a steady stream. Process until the dough is smooth and rides the blade. If needed, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough is smooth and supple. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume -- about 1 hour. Punch the dough down, transfer it to a clean work surface, and knead for 3 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
2.       Shape the muffins:
Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and set aside. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, gently form each into a patty and place the patties on the prepared baking sheet, turning to coat both sides lightly with cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
3.       Cook the muffins:
Lightly oil a cast-iron skillet and heat over low heat. Place 4 muffins in the skillet and cook until the bottoms are golden brown -- about 15 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining 4 muffins. Store in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Serve toasted.

Image result for english muffin images

Another version

Go to her site for color illustrations of each step.

Whenever I eat/make English muffins, I think about how they’re probably the only food on Earth to which I would refer as having “nooks and crannies” and how I don’t even really know what a cranny is but I know they’re in English muffins along with the nooks and that both are absolutely required as butter receptacles in the perfect English muffin and hooray for run-on sentences about English muffins.
But seriously, have you ever had an English muffin without the nooks and crannies? It’s just not the same. It’s like eating a hockey puck of bread. But add the nooks and crannies and, suddenly, that hockey puck is actually a soft, chewy, delicious circle of bread just begging to be toasted and topped with butter, jam and/or cheese with a runny egg on top, oooooh yes. Dream a little dream with me about that for a sec.

English Muffins

·                            4½ cups bread flour
·                            2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·                            2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
·                            1½ teaspoons salt
·                            1 egg
·                            1¾ cups milk
·                            3 tablespoons unsalted butter
·                            Semolina or farina, for sprinkling on the griddle
1.                In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg (do not stir).
2.                Combine milk and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stir and heat until an instant read thermometer reads between 110 and 115 degrees F. Remove from heat.
3.                Pour milk mixture into bowl; stir just until a dough forms. Use dough hook attachment to knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes until dough is smooth, soft, elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl; OR, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.
4.                Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled large bowl; turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
5.                Meanwhile, lightly spray a griddle or large pan (or two) with cooking spray, then sprinkle generously with semolina or farina. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
6.                Punch down risen dough; divide into 16 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball; press down to a 3 to 3½-inch diameter. Place dough pieces on prepared griddle or pan about 1 inch apart (depending on the size of your griddle/pan, they will not all fit. Place the extras on a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina or farina, and cover with a sheet of parchment paper).
7.                Turn on griddle to low heat (about 275 degrees F) or place pan over low heat on stovetop. Cook muffins 7 to 15 minutes each side until deep golden brown. If muffins puff up too much during cooking (and they probably will), cover them with a sheet of parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top to act as a weight. The muffins are cooked through when an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads about 200 degrees F.
8.                If the muffins are sufficiently browned on both sides but are still not fully cooked in the center, place them on a clean baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
9.                Repeat the whole cooking/baking process (steps 7 and 8) with remaining dough.
10.            Cool muffins completely. Use a fork to gently pry muffins open, so you get all the nooks and crannies.

Image result for english muffin images

Image result for english muffin images

Image result for english muffin images

Next week the topic will be Clotheslines.

Classes this week include Maggie B on Thursday from 10-4, Doll Class Saturday the 17.

Next Week we have the Rebekah L Smith class on Monday Oct 19. Email me for more information.

Wisdom Words:

Image result for fall wisdom quotes

No comments:

Post a Comment