Buttermilk English MuffinsWe love to spend a weekend at Terranea in the beautiful peninsula of Rancho Palos Verdes. It is a perfect retreat close to LA, and the five restaurants are all terrific, but Mar'Sel, the flagship is one of my favorite locavore restaurants anywhere. Chef Micheal Fiorelli hits it out of the ballpark with every dish, and as soon as the bread basket lands tableside, you know you are in for a treat. The restaurant is famous for the home made English Muffins, served at dinner as well as brunch.
These really are first rate, and not that hard at all to make.
So next time you have breakfast guests (yeah, I know, its summer!) bake these up.
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 ¾ cups room temperature buttermilk
4 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
Cornmeal as needed
1. Combine yeast and water in a standing electric mixer bowl.
2. Whisk with a dough hook to dissolve the yeast.
3. Gradually add the room temperature buttermilk.
4. Add the flour, sugar and salt, and then turn the mixer to medium speed. Mix until a wet dough forms.
5. Add the room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time.
6. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead for 10 minutes.
7. Place the dough in a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for one hour.
8. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
9. Dust a work bench with flour. Roll the dough out to about a half-inch thick and using a ring cutter, cut into desired sized circles.
10. Transfer muffins onto a sheet pan lined with cornmeal, leaving a little room between each.
11. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
12. Heat a frying pan greased with clarified butter over medium Iow heat. Slow cook the muffins on each side until they are evenly golden brown.
13. Transfer muffins back to the sheet pan. Bake for approximately ten minutes. Allow muffins to cool, then poke a fork around the circumference of each muffin so they can be pulled apart easily.
Another really simple dinner roll recipe comes from Alton Brown, and these can become Parker House Rolls, Butterflake rolls, or really great burger rolls.
the whole procedure is right here. These rolls use milk and butter for a really rich and delicious result, but you can use this recipe if you want a roll with no dairy, use my Slider Recipe from King Arthur Flour
Beautiful BunsFor the slider rolls I used the famous beautiful hamburger bun recipe from King Arthur Flour. How could I not when I thought of the name! If you know me at all you know what a devotee I am of their products. And recipes. If you sign up on the site for their email list, you will be notified of the Free Shipping promotions a few times a year, which is when I order months worth of baking supplies at a time.
(fair warning: you will be tempted to buy things that you had every intention of using-- like special european flour supposedly perfect for bagels, that take up cupboard space indefinitely.)
What I was looking for was a light, soft buttery roll, suspecting all along that it would turn out to be a challah-like recipe. Sure enough. I might add an egg in the future and use this recipe for a dairy challah (I know, I know...)
Anyway, this site sells hamburger pans, but as usual, I did the research so you don't have to. I tried making them with whole wheat (fail), I tried making them in mini-muffin pans (fail), but what worked was making the dough, rising it, shaping the golf-ball size rolls, rising them, and baking them half way. This is called par-bake. Bake till they feel pretty firm, but before they start to turn golden. Remove from oven, cool well, and freeze. When you want them, fire up the oven, pile them on a baking sheet, and bake until they brown. Depending on the size you made them it will only be about 6-8 minutes. Pretty cool.
• 1 cup lukewarm water
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 1 large egg
• 3 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 1 tablespoon instant yeast
• *For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
2) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into pieces about the size of a golf ball. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten slightly. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
4) Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter.
5) Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes*, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
6) Cool the buns on a rack.
*see note above about par baking.
More good advice from King Arthur:
Brushing buns with melted butter will give them a soft, light golden crust. Brushing with an egg-white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1/4 cup water) will give them a shinier, darker crust. For seeded buns, brush with the egg wash; it'll make the seeds adhere. And, feel free to add the extra yolk to the dough, reserving the white for the wash.