English Muffins Take 1

Little Josephine pastry is happily chewing away on a fresh English muffin even as we speak, er…you know what I mean. The recipe came out well, though not nearly as well as it might have done save for three things. One, the fact that I didn’t have an ice cream scoop of the right size. Two, that I was also out of cooking spray. And three, Mr. B’s infernal final step of stirring in salt at the very end of the rising process. For anyone who’s ever prized big bubbles in bread, this is near sacrilege, since the stirring pops the very finest exemplars of the yeast’s hard work. Yes, the many smaller ones do inflate to be fairly large as the muffins cook on the griddle. But they could have been more. Oh, so much more.

Which is why I’m going to mess with this recipe. The question before I do is: why does Mr. B add the last of the salt at the end instead of putting all of it in at the beginning? The answer: because salt kills. At least, it kills yeast. This isn’t normally a problem in breads and batters since they all need at least a little for flavor. Plus, without salt yeast would grow explosively, gobbling up every bit of available food before the dough develops decent flavor. The question is: how much is too much? Clearly Mr. B thought a teaspoon would slow the growth of the yeast too much. One obvious solution: just add more yeast. This might make an overly “yeasty” tasting muffin, but then who knows until I try? For Thursday: 3 1/4 teaspoons of yeast (vs. the 2 1/4 the recipe now calls for) and all of the salt at the beginning!

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