The English muffin were originally eaten by the "downstairs" servants in England's Victorian society, the English muffin surfaced and rose to prominence in Great Britain when members of all classes of society became aware of its goodness. The family baker made English muffins from leftover bread and biscuit dough scraps and mashed potatoes. He fried the batter on a hot griddle, creating light, crusty muffins for the servants. Once members of the "upstairs" family tasted these rich muffins, they began to request them for themselves - especially during teatime.
As a result of the English muffin becoming the "most fancied" bread on the isle, English muffin factories sprang up all over England. Muffin men could be heard in the streets selling their muffins from wooden trays slung around their necks. For teatime in private homes and clubs, the English muffins would be split and toasted over an open fire and served in a covered sterling dish alongside tea. The prominence of the muffin men in English society was evident when "Oh, do you know the muffin man" became a popular children's nursery rhyme. The popularity of the English muffin reached its zenith in Great Britain during the years preceding World War I.
(Extract from an article at the Kitchen project.com)
Recipe for 12 muffins:
- 450 grams (3 cups) Untreated Bread Flour
- 2 teaspoons Dry active Yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Natural bread Improver (not necessary)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 350 milliliters warm water
Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add any flavourings, then most of the warm water. Mix thoroughly taking great care not to make the dough too wet. To speed up the rising and ensure that the dough is not too moist you can scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a well floured board and knead for approximately 30 seconds, but it is not necessary. When fully mixed cover the dough with cling film and place the bowl somewhere warm to proof, until it double in size.
Tip the dough out onto a floured board and shape until smooth. Divide the dough evenly into 12 pieces and shape each into smooth round balls. Flatten the balls of dough to about 3/4" thick, set aside on a lightly floured surface to proof until it doubles in size (usually about 15-20 mins).
Heat a frying pan or a griddle to a medium heat and lightly oil. Cook each muffin for 5-6 minutes each side, longer if very fat.
Note: muffins taste less floury if you brush off the flour, and dust with semolina before cooking. Vary the ingredients to make sweet and flavoured muffins.
"I like my coffee like I like my women.In a plastic cup."