December 22nd, 2006
… for a short holiday. Regular posting will resume in early January.
I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in my research project so far for making such thoughtful comments and giving me such a lot to consider. I hope you all have an enjoyable holiday season, and a happy and prosperous New Year.
We’ll be enjoying home-made English muffins for breakfast on Christmas morning. I’m including the recipe here if anyone else is interested in trying them. It assumes you have some experience making bread or other yeast-leavened baking. You can leave out the dried fruit if you prefer them plain.
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
2–2 1/2 cups flour (the quantity you need will vary depending on the humidity and other conditions)
1/3 cup dried fruit (cranberries for a seasonal flavour, but raisins are also nice)
rice flour or fine cornmeal
Place 1/4 cup warm water in medium size glass mixing bowl, and dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and leave for 10–15 minutes.
Soften the cranberries by covering them with boiling water in a measuring cup or small bowl.
Heat the milk and remaining water to body temperature, and add to the yeast mixture.
Add 2 cups of flour and knead with your hands until all ingredients are mixed well together. Add more flour if necessary, but keep the dough sticky, not smooth. Drain the cranberries and mix in.
Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl covered with a damp, clean tea towel until doubled (1–1 1/2 hours, depending on the temperature). This is a good time to open presents.
When the dough has risen, deflate it by gently pulling it away from the sides of the bowl. Divide into 4 equal-sized pieces, and roll each piece in fine cornmeal or rice flour. Let them rise slightly on a flat tray for 10-15 minutes, while heating a frying pan to a medium-hot temperature.
When the frying pan is heated, cook each side for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let rest for a few minutes before serving with butter and jam or honey. Fresh fruit is also nice. Makes 4 muffins. Enough for two hungry people who don’t plan on having much lunch.
Christmas dinner will be goat cheese profiteroles, salad, and methode champenoise, plus fresh berries for dessert. The profiterole recipe may follow later.