Today’s D.I.Y. has been staring me in the face for months. Literally.
It’s my breakfast.
I eat the same breakfast pretty much every day – a toasted English muffin (with a little butter and honey), a hard boiled egg (with salt and pepper) and a big iced coffee.
I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make my own butter and English muffins, but then again – really? English muffins always struck me as one of those food items that you don’t actually ever make. And butter? Really?
But while reading the One Girl Cookies cookbook (and I did read it – from cover to cover), I came across a recipe for homemade butter. I was really bummed because they made it seem so easy that I actually felt guilty. Yes, guilty.
For not making my own butter.
So I decided to do it. And if I was making my own butter how could I NOT make the English muffins too?
Surprisingly they were both super easy to make – and, not surprisingly, totally superior to what I usually eat.
The butter was exactly how I imagined really good old fashioned butter to taste – sweet and creamy, full of flavor and a lovely meltaway texture.
The English muffins were delicious too. They smelled heavenly and were toothsome (been DYING to use that word – yay!) and dense, yet not at all heavy.
As for the nooks and crannies? Not so much – and probably for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t think you ever get those really distinctive “N’s-and-C’s” that commercial brands have. I also think I overworked the dough. You know I have “rolling dough” issues, and as a result tend to get a bit heavy handed in the process. Next time I’ll employ a lighter touch.
Will there actually BE a next time? I don’t know. While I enjoyed this little exercise (which was the main point behind starting the D.I.Y. series in the first place), I can’t honestly say that I will be making breakfast from scratch on a regular basis any time soon. This felt more satisfying in a “bragging rights” sort of way (You guys! I MADE my own English muffins! And butter!).
We’ll see. In any event, I was proud of myself for attempting this, and happy that the results were so delicious.
How about you? Have you ever “D.I.Y.’d” something that you had always purchased in the past? It doesn’t have to be in the kitchen either. Maybe you sewed a dress or crafted a piece of furniture? Please share, and let me know if you’d do it again, or head for the store the next time!
adapted from allrecipes
1 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water (110 degrees)
¼ c. melted shortening (1 3/8 oz.)
6 c. flour (I used all purpose; will substitute bread flour next time)
1 t. salt
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles (about 185 degrees); remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In your mixer bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 c. flour. Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Add the salt and the rest of the flour and beat just till incorporated. Switch to the bread hook attachment and knead just until smooth (alternatively, remove dough from mixer bowl and knead by hand). Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured board. Roll out to about ½” thick. Using a drinking glass, round cutter or empty tuna can, cut out rounds (I used a 3 ½” round cutter). Place rounds on prepared baking sheets, and dust the tops with more cornmeal. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
Heat griddle – grease with butter or cooking spray. Gently place rounds on the griddle and cook on medium heat till browned on each side (anywhere from 5-10 minutes per side). Transfer to a rack to cool completely, and repeat with remaining rounds. Once cooled, serve immediately or split and freeze for longer storage.
adapted from One Girl Cookies
2 c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1/4 t. table salt
Pour the cream into the food processor and turn it on. Somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes, the cream will separate into yellow butter (which will ball up around the blade) and “buttermilk” (which will look like milky water). Strain the butter and either discard the buttermilk or reserve it for another recipe (like scones, fried chicken or cake).
Return the butter to the food processor, add 1 c. cold water and process for 20 seconds. Strain and discard the water. Do this 3 more times, after which the water should be almost clear.
Place the butter in a large bowl, add the salt and – using a rubber spatula – work the salt into the butter for 3 to 5 minutes. Buttermilk will continue to be released – drain it off as needed. Transfer the butter to an airtight container and refrigerate.