Last year we were doing some major purging of household items, and I ran across the old circa 1978 Presto Griddle. I almost flipped a coin when deciding whether to toss it or not. I’m glad I didn’t, because now it has new life.
Here are my English Muffin Mounds sitting fat and happy on the old appliance. The boys were asking “So what’s for breakfast?” early this evening (yes, food is always on their minds) and English Muffins came to mind, so I grabbed the Peter Reinhart Bread Baker’s Apprentice book and decided to knock off another Challenge recipe. I did take a slight detour though which I’ll explain.
But first, let’s get on with the cooking. Here are my Muffins after the initial flip. Each portion had a raw dough weight of about 80 grams. I always liked this old griddle. Over the years it has probably seen over a thousand pancakes. With the dial thermostat set at 350 and using Canola Oil in the pan, as you can see there is great golden color after about 6 minutes of cooking. The flip was no problem. I am Crepe Maker Extraordinaire, or so I have been told, and it’s all in the wrist Really though, you just need to ensure that the dough has a good initial cooking time on the first side so that it’s stable. Then flip it quickly and decisively.
So here is where I took the detour – the griddle has a big dome cover with vents that close, so I just let them go right in the pan covered for about 15 minutes at 325 F on the griddle dial. As they were doing so nicely in the griddle I couldn’t resist letting them continue right there. I did a few flips in between. And as you can see there’s nice golden color and no burning. The domed cover just acted like a little oven.
We did test one while it was still very warm for doneness. Just perfect.
Do heed Peter’s recommendation in the book on the fork splitting. It makes a difference in the texture. Cool them about 15 minutes or so, then pierce the white circumference all around with a fork and pull the muffin apart. This is what you’ll get.
I used 7 ounces of liquid here to the 10 ounces of flour, giving the dough a 70% hydration ratio. I am pretty adept at handling a 70% dough, so after looking at the recipe, that was my target. For good texture, try and avoid flour additions. The next time around, I’m going to try a 80% dough (much wetter). I’m just curious here.
The verdict? Well, we haven’t bought commercial English Muffins in a long time because the quality has deteriorated on all the brands. After this, we’ll likely never buy them ever again. Fun and easy cooking plus a nice fresh breakfast complement.