I have finally come up with a sure fire way to home made English Muffins. No special equipment needed. These muffins are cooked in a frying pan. They are not like store bought, as there are no preservatives. You cant beat the freshness! These are not hard to make but as anything home baked, take a bit of time to allow them to rise. Well worth the time! They keep in the fridge for a week or you can freeze them for a few months.
Warm the milk to scalding in a small saucepan until it bubbles (150 degrees) Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Allow to cool until lukewarm.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water ( 110 degrees) I add a pinch of flour and a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast. It will bubble away. Give it about 10 minutes to bubble.
In a mixer or large bowl, combine the milk,yeast mixture,melted shortening and 3 cups of the flour. Beast until smooth. Add the rest of the flour and the salt. Knead the dough.
Place in a greased bowl,cover and let rise until doubled. (About 1 1/2 hours)
Punch down dough. DO NOT over work the dough! I simply use a rolling pin and roll out to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the muffins out with a biscuit cutter,drinking glass or an empty clean can. At this point, if you have the muffin forms, you can put the rounds directly into the forms that rest in the frying pans.. This is not necessary, but if you have the forms, they are beautifully even. See the pictures....I did some with the forms and some just by cutting, and they are equally just fine.
Prepare your frying pans. If using the forms, place them in the frying pans that are lightly coated with cornmeal. Place your slices of dough into the forms and sprinkle a little cornmeal on top of them as well.. Let them rise for 40 minutes, or until they rise to the top of the forms.
If you do not have the forms:
Place your slices of dough onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal.Lightly sprinkle cornmeal on top of the rounds as well.
Let rise 40 minutes, and then add them to the pans that are lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
Either with the forms or not;
Place the rounds in the frying pans that have a sprinkling of cornmeal on the bottom and turn the heat to a low/medium. Fry them for 5 minutes and check them by peeking underneath. Flip them and fry for an additional 5 minutes.
Let cool on wire racks. DO not cut these with a knife. You want to split them with a fork. Poke the fork all the way around the middle of the muffins, and then gently tear apart. This will keep all the nooks and crannies nice. :)