A cold and snowy weekend calls for homemade bread! I spent last week eating shop bought toasted muffins for lunch – not the healthiest I know but something about the cold weather makes me crave variations of hot buttered toast. These homemade muffins are much tastier – and more complex – than the shop bought verions, with the added advantage that you can control exactly what is going – and whats not going – into them.
The way you make these muffins may seem odd at first glance – the muffin dough are browned in a hot pan before they’re cooked in the oven. Trust me, it works, its easy and the muffins are amazing.
Recipe adapted from Foodess
You’ll need –
- 1.5 cups semi-skimmed milk
- 1/4 cup cold butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
- 4 cups plain flour (you can use 2 wholemeal, 2 plain if you prefer)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 sachet dried instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cornmeal
First, heat up your milk in a microwave proof bowl – about 3 minutes on full power for me, or possibly less depending on the strength of your microwave. Once its started to froth at the edges, remove from the microwave and whisk in the cold butter. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before whisking in the beaten egg and the yoghurt. Set aside.
Next, assemble your dry ingredients – I used a mixing bowl but its not essential at all. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt, and then mix using your dough hook or wooden spoon while you slowly add in the wet mixture. Stir together until well combined, and then decant into an oiled bowl and leave to rise for an hour, covered tightly in clingfilm. The dough is a very wet one, but don’t worry!
After an hour, the dough will still be very wet. Generously coat your work surface with flour, and then scrape out the dough on top. Dust very generously with more flour (really coat it with a lot of flour!).
To cut out your muffins, you’ll need a round cutter about 3 inches across. Of course, you can improvise, using a water glass if you like. I used an empty tuna can that I washed out, since I realised it was exactly the right size with thin sharp edges. Cut out rounds of dough by pressing down the cutter firmly (the dough will make a cute plopping sound). Use a floured spatula or other flat implement to transfer to a floured baking tray and continue cutting, bringing the scraps together, adding more flour and kneading until all your dough is used up (I formed my last scraps of dough into a monster muffin which tasted amazing!).
Let the muffins rest in a warm place for 20 minutes (mine didn’t rise much in this time). Preheat your oven to 200C/gas mark 6/400F.
Next, heat up a large saucepan and cover the bottom generously with cornmeal (I LOVE cornmeal for making corn bread, and it also adds a gorgeous crunch to other homemade bread). Carefully transfer your muffins to the pan and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes until they’re browned. It’s surprisingly easy to handle them. Once they’re browned on one side, flip them over, and then transfer back to the baking tray.
Once you’ve browned all your muffins, pop them into the oven for around 10 minutes on the middle shelf. You’ll be able to tell that they’re done when they sound hollow when tapped.