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Old 02-06-2006, 10:00 AM   #1
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English muffins

This is a recipe from Delia Smith - I don't often bother to make my own, as my local baker makes exceptionally GOOD muffins - but I've got friends coming for afternoon tea and decided to make my own today. The smell is scrumptious. I shall really have to restrain myself from splitting one straight from the oven and slathering with loads of good local butter!

English Muffins – recipe from Delia Smith’s book of cakes.

Makes 12

1 lb (450 g) strong plain flour
1 rounded teaspoon salt
8 fl oz (225 ml) milk
1 level teaspoon caster sugar
2 level teaspoons dried yeast
2 oz (50 g) lard

You will also need a thick, solid-based frying pan or a girdle* (Girdle is the old Scots name for a circular flat piece of iron that can be put over a gas burner or heated in the fire - the English call them griddles!).

Measure the milk and 2 fl oz (55 ml) water in a small saucepan and heat until just 'hand hot', ie, so that you can hold your little finger in without it burning. Now pour it into a jug, add the sugar and dried yeast, mix it with a fork and leave it for about 10 minutes to get a real frothy head.

Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, making a well in the centre, then pour in the frothy yeast mixture and mix it to a soft dough – it should leave the bowl cleanly but if it seems a bit sticky add a spot more flour. On the other hand if it seems a little dry add just a spot more water.

Now transfer the dough to a flat surface and knead it for about 10 minutes by which time it should be very smooth and elastic. The dough can go back into the bowl now. Just slip the bowl inside a large polythene bag (a transparent pedal bin liner is ideal), and leave it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. This will take about 45 minutes or longer, depending on the temperature. When the dough has risen, lightly flour the work surface, then tip the dough out and roll it out to about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Then, using a 3 inch (7.5 cm) plain cutter, cut out 12 rounds, re-rolling the dough a couple of times again if it starts to get puffy. Mix the scraps and re-roll as well to use it all up. Now place the muffins on an ungreased, lightly floured baking sheet, sprinkling them with a little more flour, then leave them to puff up again for about 25-35 minutes in a warm place.

When they are ready to be cooked, grease a thick-based frying pan or girdle with just a trace of lard, then heat the pan over a medium heat, add some muffins and cook them for about 7 minutes on each side, turning the heat down to low as soon as they go in. You'll need to do this in 3 or 4 batches but they can be made well in advance.

If you want to serve them in the traditional way, all you do is break them just a little around their waists without opening them, then toast them lightly on both sides. The correct way to eat them is just to pull them apart without cutting and insert a lot of butter. You can store them in an airtight tin for about two days before toasting if you have any left over.

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Old 02-06-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
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Question help needed translating ingredients to USA ingredients

I would love to make this but need help understanding how to use ingredients available in USA markets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
1 lb (450 g) strong plain flour
> what is the USA flour equivalent? Should I use "bread flour"? should I use all-purpose (AP) flour? should I use a mixture of the two?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
1 level teaspoon caster sugar
what is caster sugar? what is the closest USA equivalent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
2 level teaspoons dried yeast
Is this active-dry yeast OR instant yeast? (I would guess it is active-dry yeast)

Would really appreciate help here since I and my family do love english muffins.

BTW, I really appreciate having a recipe that shows the weight of the solid ingredients. Thanks Ishbel.

TIA (Thanks In Advance)
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subfuscpersona
I would love to make this but need help understanding how to use ingredients available in USA markets.

> what is the USA flour equivalent? Should I use "bread flour"? should I use all-purpose (AP) flour? should I use a mixture of the two?


what is caster sugar? what is the closest USA equivalent?


Is this active-dry yeast OR instant yeast? (I would guess it is active-dry yeast)

Would really appreciate help here since I and my family do love english muffins.

BTW, I really appreciate having a recipe that shows the weight of the solid ingredients. Thanks Ishbel.

TIA (Thanks In Advance)
'Strong' flour is what we use for bread, pizza etc. It would not be suitable for cakes, for instance.

Caster sugar is finer than granulated, but not as fine as icing sugar. If I run out of caster, I zuzz some granulated in a blender... voila - caster. Maybe it's what the US call 'confectioners' sugar'? (Although that might actually be 'our' icing sugar!)

I can only assume it's dry active yeast, in US terms - but again..... I have no clue! That's the difficulty I always have in translating lots of the recipes on this site.... - two peoples, speaking a common language - and understanding little!

Our recipes are always in 'solid' weights - not cups, or anything... again, I find it much easier to deal with our measurements, both metric and avoirdupois!
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:20 PM   #4
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The U.S. equivalent of castor sugar is fine sugar, not confectioners or powdered sugar. The latter two have cornstarch added to them.

Strong flour is called bread flour here. It has more gluten content than does all-purpose flour, and much more than cake flour. It can be made by adding 2 tbs. vital wheat gluten to 3 cups all purpose flour.

And yes, the dry yeast is Active Dry Yeast on this side of the Atlantic.

Flour is sold by the pound. Look at the package. Typically, it can be purchased in 5 lb. bags, 10 lb. bags, 20 lb bags, etc. Purchase a bag of bread flour, then see if it tells you how many cups per package are available. Or better still, purchase a weight scale. They aren't very expensive. Then, measure some flour out and see how many cups and partial cups you get from a pound of flour. Then, just multiply or divide as needed to determine the applicable measurements.

Hope that helps.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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