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Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins

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holds99's picture
holds99

Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins

For my first attempt at English muffins I decided to try Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe from her Bread Bible.  The recipe uses a sponge/poolish and is an enriched (with butter and honey) dough.  I followed her recipe to the letter, except for diameter size.  After mixing I placed the dough in the fridge overnight for retardation.  She says it can stay in the fridge up to 24 hours. I left it in for about 12 hours.   The recipe calls for rolling the dough out while it is cold and cutting round 3 1/2 inch diameter  rounds (I cut them 4 inches in diameter).  Place them on a pan sprinkled with corn meal and sprinkle the tops lightly with corn meal, then allow them to rise (covered) until double in volume.

 Rose Levy No. 1Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins: Rose Levy No. 1

Photo below: Then place each dough round on a lightly buttered, griddle heated to medium.  Cook on one side for 10 minutes, flip them over and cook on the other side for about half previous time (5 minutes) until they reach an internal temp. of 190 deg. F 

 Rose Levy No. 3

Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins: Rose Levy No. 3

Photo Below: The front 2 rows are the tops (after being flipped and cooked 5 minutes).  The back 2 rows are the bottoms (after cooking for 10 minutes).

  Rose Levy No. 3

Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins: Rose Levy No. 3

The photo below is the crumb of the muffin.

 Rose Levy No. 4

Rose Levy Beranbaum's English Muffins: Rose Levy No. 4

Summary

In the opening passage of her recipe she says: "This incredibly smooth and supple dough is almost identical to the one for Basic Soft White Sandwich Loaf (page 244).  Therein lies the problem. The muffins DO NOT resemble English muffins with the firm texture and craggy holes in the crumb.  The crumb was way too doughy and more like the texture of Wonder Bread than English Muffin. 

With all due respect to Rose Levy, who I think has written a terrific book (Bread Bible), which I bake from frequently---I would be less than honest if I didn't say strike this one from your "To Bake" list.

Dougal has posted a version of Dan Lepard's recipe for crumpets that I plan to try next.  Thank you Dougal.  I'll keep you posted.

 

 

 

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Howard.

They look very professional on the outside. It's a shame you cut them open!

I'll watch your English Muffin quest with interest. Happy hunting!


David

holds99's picture
holds99

You're right.  I should have left them "ALL IN ONE PIECE".  C'est la vie.

I never received a blog on the lovely images of the loaves you posted.  I was going to comment on how good they looked; inside and out.  How did you get that beautiful glaze on the pumpernickel loaves?

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Howard.

I submitted the latest photos for entries to other topics than my own - Jane's Sourdough baguette topic and Sparks' Corn-rye topic, both of which are still on the TFL home page, I think.

I assume the "pumpernickel" to which you referred is actually my Jewish Corn (rye) Bread, although I did upload a photo of an actual pumpernickel not that long ago. In any case, both are glazed with a cornstarch solution.

Cornstarch Glaze
1. Dissolve 2 T of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water.
2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
3. Slowly pour the cornstarch solution into the boiling water, whisking continuously until it thickens to the desired consistancy.
4. Take off the fire. It can be used warm or at room temperature.

The glaze is brushed on the bread just before baking and when the loaves come out of the oven. It keeps in the refrigerator in a closed container for a few days.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

I was mistaken, my apology.  I went back and checked the images from 2 days ago and it was your Jewish Corn Bread that caught my eye, with the shining glaze.  Thank you for posting the recipe. 

As I was reading Greenstein's book I saw that he recommended a cornstarch glaze but it really didn't register as to how good it makes a loaf look until I saw your photo.  I'll try the glaze, as I will be making his Jewish Corn Bread in the near future.

Howard

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Howard.

I'd encourage you to try Greenstein's corn bread. Just be prepared for a different experience. I can almost guarentee you will have moments when you are sure you must have done something wrong, but Greenstein's instructions are good. Believe!

A couple things I learned from my last encounter with corn rye: 1) Do try Eric's suggestion to hold back some of the water until you have nice gluten development, but do use all the water recommended. This should be a super wet dough. 2) Under no circumstances cut the loaves until 24 hours after they come out of the oven.

Really, this is advice to myself. You might listen better than I do though. ;-)


David

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate the reminder re: Eric's recommendation to hold back on the water and, as you recommended, NOT cut the loaves for 24 hours.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

David,

I'm looking at Greenstein's book, Chapter 6, pages 132-178 (Sourdough Breads) and I'm trying to figure out which recipe I should start with.  I looked in the index and don't see Corn Bread per se.  I do see Rye Sour, which is used as the starter for the other rye breads; Jewish Rye (plus variations), Pumpernickel, etc.  Please give me some advice/guidance/suggestions re: a recipe.

Thanks,

Howard

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Well, the recipe only appears when you recite the proper blessing, in Hebrew. ..... Just kidding.

In the hardcover edition, which you must have from the pagination you gave, the recipe for "Jewish Corn Bread" starts on page 155.

If you are making a Jewish rye for the first time, I'd start with the Jewish Rye (page 136). If you want to start at the top, do make the Corn Rye. I find both delicious, but, as you know, the first time making any new recipe can be tricky.

The Jewish Rye and Pumpernickel are more forgiving. The Corn Rye is more challenging. I'd say don't judge it until you have made it at least 3 times. I think I've made it 4 times, and I don't think I have it just right yet, but the last time was the best by far.


David

holds99's picture
holds99

I must be going blind.  I looked at the Sourdough Bread list (page 132) at least twice and completely missed the Jewish Corn Bread recipe.  Between hurricane Fay, the yeast spores and flour dust flying around, a high pressure system has developed in the kitchen and fogged my brain.  How's that for an excuse? I didn't think so... :-)

OK.  I think I'll try a first iteration of Jewish Corn Bread this week.  I'll have to make the Rye Sour first.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Howard

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David

holds99's picture
holds99

David,

Here's the results of my first try at the Corn Rye Bread.  I don't have to tell you it's not an easy recipe to execute.  I went back after this baking session and read your posts on the subject and looked at your photos from previous posts, along with some of Erics suggestions---and will try it again in the near future.  The indentation in the top of the cut loaf is where I tore the top crust a bit before putting it into the oven.  It sank a bit at the tear spot.  The other loaf was about the same without the tear/indentation.

The taste was very good.  I let it sit for 24 hours before cutting, as you suggested.  It still was damp enough to leave a bit of dough traces on the serrated knife blade.  Not much, just a smear.  It's apparant I need a stronger blessing at the beginning of this process :-) 

Corn Rye BreadCorn Rye Bread

Howard

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Howard, sometimes it's a valuable lesson to learn which recipes are not worth the time or effort.  Thanks for "taking one for the team" and letting us know to steer clear.  

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

holds99's picture
holds99

SteveB,

Thanks for your kind post.  Charlene (my wife) encouraged me to let folks know about the problem with the recipe.  She has a good sense for, as you said, giving a "heads up" when things take a wrong turn.

Howard

alconnell's picture
alconnell

They sure do look beautiful Howard.  You are trying for one of my quests also.  I have tried about 6 different recipes, including that one, to get the perfect english muffin.  None has come close.  I have a recipe I haven't tried from Alton Brown's Good Eats.  He uses powdered milk and doubles the quantity of powder in order to get more flavor.  Sounds intriguing and here is the link to the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/english-muffins-recipe/index.html

holds99's picture
holds99

for your kind words.  And thanks for the link.  I like Alton Brown...a lot.  His approach is informative and interesting.  He's one of the bright spots on the Food Network.  I will give his recipe a try within the next week or so.  I'm thinking we may be looking for batter style crumpets.  Best of luck jn your "quest" and let's keep in touch via postings.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

danlepard's picture
danlepard

Hi Howard,

Great tip about the panty hose on the bread board, will have to try that! I wrote a recipe for English muffins last year for a newspaper here, and it did produce something close to the good English muffins you have in the US (our in England are terrible, not worth eating). The recipe would be better with a spoonful of sourdough starter mixed in, but for a quick and easy recipe these are really good.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/24/foodanddrink.baking19

regards from the cold wet island in the north!

Dan Lepard

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

Hey!

I made english muffins from Betty Crocker's Breads once...I liked them. I think they tasted okay. Of course, (as with bagels) I'm not sure if I'm a judge of authentic english muffins.

flickr set  and blog post

I don't know if they had the proper craggy holes but they tasted quite nice (i tended to roll out the dough to think so I think i have crispy little biscuits too...hehe) especially for...*sigh* no long sponge and preferment...*sigh*

it didn't taste like wonder bread...

English Muffin passes fork test 

Has anybody tried reinhart's from BBA?

I was curious about it...because he seemed to use boules and not cut them with biscuit cutters...is that usual?

i keep wondering if i should try it and then lazyness kicks in and i make these if i want them

 Lilandra

holds99's picture
holds99

Lilandra,

As for shaping them, I've seen different methods used.  For example, Weavershouse shapes hers by hand as well as some of the other posts I've seen.  Crumpets are made with batter and poured into rings sitting on a med-hot griddle and cooked.  Rather confusing.  Anyway, Dougal posted an excellent explanation as to the difference between muffins and crumpets.  A copy of Dougal's post: "Muffins and Crumpets - different!" follows:

Muffins and Crumpets - different!

 

There seems to be some terminological confusion here, so I'll see if I can straighten things out a bit.

"American" muffins are cakey, tall things. That's them clear and out of the way. 

Now the confusion...  

Muffins (proper English ones) and Crumpets are both disc-shaped, and both cooked on a griddle or pan rather than being baked in an oven -- but they are rather different things.

Muffins are made from firmish dough, which is (usually) rolled out about a half inch thick, then left to proof/rise before being cooked equally on both sides. They should end up about an inch tall. Importantly, they are split before eating.

Crumpets are made from a distinctly liquid batter. A metal ring is used to contain the batter, otherwise you get something much wider and flatter! (But that's the way its sometimes done in Scotland.) They are flipped in cooking, but the top and bottom end up very different. The bottom is pretty solid and brown (surprise - like the first-cooked side of a pancake!) whereas the top is basically white with open holes stretching deep (nearly straight) down into the body of the crumpet. The top is cooked just enough to solidify the whole thing. Crumpets already have an open surface to accept butter, jam, honey, etc (after toasting) so they would never be split. Recipe and pictures here: http://www.danlepard.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1666#1666

Summary:

Muffin - dough (no need a ring) - top=bottom - so split

Crumpet - batter (therefore containment ring) - top≠bottom - don't split

Hope that helps!

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

hi! thanks for the info! :)

holds99's picture
holds99

So good to hear from you.  I will definitely try your recipe for English muffins in the near future.  Sounds like what I am looking for in the way of English muffins. 

I have 2 jars of starter in the fridge (one white and one WW) and, as you suggested, I'll add a spoon of white starter to the recipe when I bake them.  I enjoy baking different type of breads and have your book The Art of Handmade Bread and thoroughly enjoy it.  I have tagged your recipes for Corn Bread and Chelsea buns, which I plan to bake in the near future. 

The panty hose board really works quite well for me, espcially for moving the baguettes/batards from the couche to the parchment lined trays that I bake them on.

Best to you and thanks again for your help,

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Howard,

In case you don't have enough options to consider, here are a couple more:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/RecipeDisplay?RID=R283

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1307/jump-start

Both are for sourdough english muffins, both are from the folks at King Arthur.  The first is from their web site, the second is from their 200th Anniversary cook book.  I haven't made the first recipe.  I can vouch for the second, however.  There are a couple of things that I have learned about it, though.  One is that you don't want to cram in all of the flour that the recipe calls for; the dough will be too firm to allow all of those lovely bubbles to form.  A softer, moister dough works much better than a drier, stiffer dough.  The other is that the 15-minute time between cutting and baking the muffins is an absolute minimum.  Lately I have been allowing the muffins to rise until they are light and bubbly, which means they are about twice as high as they were when first cut.  While you do get some growth (griddle spring?) while the muffins are baking, the bubbles have to be well-started before the muffins hit the griddle to get the best results.

Enjoy your experimenting.

PMcCool

holds99's picture
holds99

PMcCool,

Really appreciate the links and particularly your tips re: the dough hydration and time period between cutting and baking.  I have copied your post, printed it and will refer to it when I get into baking the next batch.

What is your preference as to which type flour to use for the English muffins?  I normally use KA's line of flours for all my baking, but a few weeks ago I bought two 5 lb. pounds of Gold Medal unbleached organic, which I have been using in breads where the recipe call for AP or bread flour, and it's what I used for the English muffins.  I think it works as well as KA.  It's available in our local supermarket but it's slightly more expensive than KA. Last time I bought a 5lb bag of KA AP here (a few weeks ago), it was $3.89.  The Gold Medal unbleached organic (It's USDA Certified Organic) was around $4.29 for 5 lbs.  Here in St. Augustine we really don't have a wide selection of flours to choose from, other than national brands, unless I go to a natural food market and buy Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill, which is an expensive proposition.

I'll let you know how it goes with the experiment. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Howard,

I usually use an AP flour for the muffins.  While a bit of chewiness is okay, my thought is that bread flour might be too much of a good thing for the muffins.  That's purely opinion, since I have not done a side by side comparison.  And, as long as I'm spouting opinions, it seems to me that a little whole wheat or a little whole rye (less than 10%, maybe?) wouldn't be a bad thing, either.  As far as bleached or unbleached, or brand, it typically depends on what was on sale when I went shopping last.  Unlike wines, the differences between a $2.00 bag of flour and a $4.00 bag of flour tend to elude me, particularly in the taste of the finished baked goods.  Consequently, I aim for the lower cost brands (most of the time).

I do like the Eagle Mills brand of unbleached flour (by Conagra or ADM, I can't remember which just now) because it is a blend of regular AP flour and white whole wheat.  That's one for which I will spend a little extra (although it's nowhere close to the KA prices here in the Kansas City area) when I can find it. 

Some stores in this area carry the Hudson Cream brand of flour, which is milled here in Kansas.  Their AP flour is in the 13-14% protein range and then they add gluten to that to make their bread flour, which has a protein content of close to 16%.  That stuff can stand up to long ferments with sourdough just fine.  Bagels, anyone?

Have fun experimenting.

PMcCool

holds99's picture
holds99

PMcCool,

Thanks for you thoughts and opinion on the flours.  I agree with you re: tossing in some WW or rye.  As a general rule they really make things more interesting and better tasting. 

For the time being I'm inclined to stick with the Gold Medal unbleached organic, as it's availble locally and performs well.  Maybe I'll do a test with a double batch of something, splitting the batches between the Gold Medal and KA just to see if there's a discernable difference.    Havent seen Hudson Cream brand but I'll look for it in my travels.  At 16% protein we're talking serious gluten.  Yep, bagels come to mind, big time :-).

I mail order WW flour from Cable Mill, a water driven mill in the Great Smokey Mountains.  It's terrific WW flour.  Bought some at a State Park store while on a trip to the Great Smokies and got hooked on it.

Thanks again, and best of luck with your baking adventures. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Howard,

I started this msg this morning, then got sidetracked and just realized I never clicked on post.

I'm so glad you tried these because just a few days ago, I was outside with the kids playing in the garden, looking through The Bread Bible. I looked at ths recipe and thought I'd give it a try. I used to LOVE English muffins with butter that would melt and fill all the holes. So, yes, the holes are everything!!! I won't even try this recipe. I'm going to read through all the comments because it seems that it is a gold mine of possiblities. Thanks for the post.

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

Re: the English muffin recipe, It wasn't my intent to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.  Just wanted to raise a red flag re: my experience with this one, particular recipe.  I have baked many recipes from the Bread Bible and it's a great book and Rose Levy is a great baker and author as well as a nice person.  This is the only one of her recipes that I have baked, from her Bread Bible that I wouldn't do again or recommend.  The dough would probably make a terrific pullman loaf.

Looking forward to your future postings and best of luck with your baking adventures.

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Alas so many of the "roll and cut" recipes give the same result - great taste - no nooks. 

I have had success with a very high hydration dough and very, very gentle mixing.  I also like to "bake" them in muffin rings (so, OK, if they are only for crumpets why do they call them "English Muffin Rings", huh?).  I published my formula and technique in a blog a ways back - and I have been able to repeat the results.  I believe that the gentle mixing is important. (But I believe that my levain recognizes me, so you want to be careful about signing on to my belief system :>))

FYI: A very famous maker of commercial English muffins lists white whole wheat flour as an ingredient, so I have given some consideration to adding that (in a small percent) to my formula. But the home mill is "closed" for the summer (too hot - too busy  - to mill...) so it must wait.

Of course, Mr. Lepard's formula would be the one I'd try if I were looking for a formula (and not just because it is similar to my own...) .  I have gone back and forth about that last addition of the baking soda.  I'm going to try it this weekend on my own formula and see if I like the results...

Hapy Baking!

holds99's picture
holds99

Just today I made Mr. Lepard's Cider Vinegar Muffins and they're great.  I posted something on them a few minutes ago.  I'll check out your blog entry for English muffins and give them a try.  I think you're right-on about very little mixing.

I'm thinking the reason they call crumpet rings :English Muffin Rings" is because some marketing guys on Madison Ave. found a factory somewhere with a warehouse overflowing with rings and decided to sell some "sizzle" in the form of "English muffin rings", which are really crumpet rings.  Go figure.  $6.00 for 4 rings that probably cost 40 cents (at most) to manufacture.  Sounds like my kind of profit margins, where do I sign up for a distributorship?

I'm going to keep experimenting.   This English muffin thing is sort of like the search for the perfect baguette only different :-)

Hang in there and keep the oven light on.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

Pat,

Hope you have recovered from your trip and are back slaving over the work bench and oven :-). 

OK.  I used your recipe and I think they turned out good.  I may have made them a bit too thick (operator trouble) by pouring a little too much batter into the rings.  I did end up with 12 muffins and my proofing time matched the time in your recipe.  Next time maybe I'll pour each ring 2/3 full of the batter.  I do think Weavershouse is right, especially with the one's I made being rather thick, that they can use about 10-15 minutes at 325 deg. F. in the oven, after removal from the griddle (internal temperature was 195 when I took them out of the electic skillet), to finish them and make sure the centers are completely done.  They were cooked in an electric skillet covered for 10 minutes on one side and 5-6 on the other side at 290 deg. F.  They browned nicely and the crumb opened nicely. 

I lightly oiled the inside of the rings. I doubled your recipe, which gave me 12 large muffins.  As you  suggested, I did 2 batches (enough batter for 6 muffins per batch) one batch with bicarbonate of soda mixed in 30 minutes before cooking time, the other batch without it.  It may be my imagination but I think the bicarbonate of soda makes them brown faster.  Note: the 6 on the rear of the rack have bicarbonate of soda mixed into the batter.  I think I would NOT use bicarbonate in the future, as they're fine without it.  Thanks for sharing.

Proth's English Muffins

Proth's English Muffins

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Wow..you must have enough English Muffins for quite a crowd tomorrow morning! Those look great, but I think the Cidar Vinegar muffins look a bit more nook and crannyish? I have the the Cider muffins in the fridge for tomorrow. I did try Proth's last weekend, but as I said I made them into loaves because I don't own any rings. There was no way I was going to get the results Weavershouse did without them!

 

holds99's picture
holds99

I'm trying to talk the St. Augustine City Council into holding an English muffin festival downtown at the central park.  They're dragging their feet on the deal.  Their main objection is that St. A. was founded and settled by the Spanish.  They're such sticklers for detail. 

I think I can turn this festival thing around if I can find a Spanish muffin recipe that fits into 3 1/2 inch rings.  I'm conferring with my friend, Ramon, re: disguising the current crop with toppings...and passing them off as tapas :-).

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Looks good.  I will need to study it...

isaac's picture
isaac

Hi Howard.

Thanks for the info.

I am new to this group and had to add this note.

You obviously took the time to take those nice photos, whoby themselves look like almost professional photography, beside informing us of your experience.

Isaac.

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for the kind words and welcome to the group.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I can't hardly keep up with your posts. These English Muffins are very nice too but I haven't even made the Lepard muffins yet and so many others are offering other recipes my head is in a spin. So, do you have a favorite as far as taste goes?

 

You did a beautiful job with Pat's muffins. They are so professional looking, perfectly round and lots of nooks. How did you like using the rings and did you cover these while they cooked? Oh, and when are you opening that giant muffin/hamburger joint?

 

Hope the weather didn't cause problems for you and Charlene. Our son and family said they had lots of rain but didn't lose any power which is always good.                                                                weavershouse

holds99's picture
holds99

Weavershouse,

As a result of the flavor and being made from an enriched dough (honey, butter and egg) my preference is Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar version of the muffins. 

As for Pat's recipe, the rings were very easy to use.  I lightly oiled the inside of each ring with some Pam as well as the bottom of the electric skillet and set them on the preheated skillet, allowed them to heat up for a minute or so and ladled the batter into each ring.  After about 6-7 minutes I checked the bottom for browning and carefully flipped them over (rings in place) using a teflon spatula.  Then, after the muffins "set up" (a minute or so, on the flip side), using an oven glove, I slid the rings off and set them on a side plate.  After the rings cooled enough to handle, oiled them again and reused them for another batch.  During cooking I kept the cover on the electric skillet with the skillet set at about 290-300 deg. F.  I would suggest only filling the rings 2/3 to 3/4 full, to allow for a bit of expansion and rising inside the rings.  Despite the fact that they reached 200 deg. F internal temperature, because of the thickness and type dough, they need some additional time in the oven to completely cook them, as you orginally suggested.

We were very fortunate during the storm (Fay).  Mostly rain with some moderately high winds off and on.  No big, sustained winds, which is what really does a lot of damage and knocks out the power.  Your son, in Palm Coast, got more rain than we did because Fay just sat stationary over Daytona and the surrounding area for a day or two.  Melbourne really got hit hard---and as of yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, Fay had stalled over Tallahassee, as she headed out of state, and was dumping 4 inches of rain per hour on that area, which is a lot of rain.

During the storm I baked a couple of recipes from George Greenstein's book Secrets of a Jewish Baker.  I did his hugely challenging Corn Rye Bread and his Whole Wheat Oat Bread.  Dont' know if you have tried to make his Corn Rye but it was the most difficult dough I have ever handled.  I went back last night and reviewed David Snyder's and Eric Hanner's previous posts and suggestions re: this recipe.  David' last iteration had photos of crust and crumb that turned out really nice.  As I recall, Eric suggested holding back on the water, adding it slowly while developing the gluten.  Anyway, this one is a real challenge.  The results were fair to middling, as they say, nothing to write home about.  As David suggested, I let it sit out for 24 hours before cutting it.  It still stuck to the knife a little bit.  The taste was geat.  I'll keep at it, off and on, until I figure it out.  The WW Oat bread is very good and reminds me of a Scandanavian type bread; a bit dryer than a typical whole wheat oat loaf and firm, but very good flavor. 

Hang in there and keep us posted on your baking adventures.

Howard

jkandell's picture
jkandell

I found Beranbaum's english muffins to be too biscuity.