What is a life without bread?
Growing up I always thought life in prison with the whole “bread and water” routine would be no major loss. I LOVED bread. I was a girl who could and did live on bread alone. On days that my IBS flared, a normal meal would be toast with a side of toast.
There were days where I would eat bread for all three meals. In ignorance, I thought that bread was a “safe” food for my embattled digestive system. WRONG-O.
Another facet of bread that I adored was baking. I loved the tactile nature of making bread. I loved proofing the yeast. I liked feeling the dough between my fingers as I kneaded the flour into a round elastic ball. My weekly repertoire included baking Honey Wheat bread for my husband’s sandwiches for lunches; baking up a loaf of Whole-Wheat Irish Soda bread for my breakfast toast and to accompany dinner, as well as English Muffins for breakfasts and evening snacks.
English Muffins were my specialty. My husband and I dream of owning a B&B when we are older, so I am already amassing recipes for this future endeavor. If you have never had a homemade English Muffin, you have never had a TRUE English Muffin. They are heavenly.
Since becoming Paleo my bread baking has come to a halt—much to my husband’s chagrin. While I surprisingly do not miss eating bread, I miss the experience of baking. I long for the process. I miss the amazing aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting through the house. Nothing smells as wonderful as fresh-baked bread. Nothing.
Yesterday morning I made English Muffins. You may be wondering if I fell off the Paleo wagon. Happily, for my stomach, I did not. Dear friends of ours have been really helping my husband out while he is working at the Naval hospital. They are familiar with his stories of the magic of these muffins, but had yet to try them. Thus, I decided to whip up a batch for them.
It felt wonderful to take my old place in the kitchen, proofing yeast and kneading dough. I wondered as I cooked each ball of fluffy dough on the stove, before baking them in the oven if I would succumb to temptation and eat a muffin. To be 100% honest, they did not even appeal to me. Maybe my stomach now recognizes “the enemy.” I was able to easily prepare a buttery muffin complete with strawberry jam without even stealing a bite. It was as appealing as an anchovy (I HATE anchovies, for the record).
For those of you who are not Paleo, I have included the recipe for the muffins. Seriously, they are AMAZING.
For those of you who do eat Paleo, do you miss bread? For those who are not, could you live without bread?
Sally Anne's English Muffin Recipe
Makes About 12-14
Time = 1 ½ hours
1 cup milk (any kind, I usually use skim, because that is what the husband drinks)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 (or 2 ¼ tsp) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
Pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of flour and sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
4 cups bread flour
2 cups All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1) Proof yeast in warm water (NOT HOT), with a pinch of sugar, for 10 minutes.
2) While yeast proofs, melt butter in the microwave and then add milk and heat until HOT, about 1 minute. Add in sugar and stir well to dissolve.
3) Once milk mixture cools, add to yeast and add 4 flour and salt. DO NOT ADD THE SALT DIRECTLY TO THE YEAST. It needs to be hidden in the flour. Salt is the enemy to yeast and destroys all the puffy goodness it brings.
4) Knead in the other 2 cups gradually as needed. You may need ½ cup more flour, basically you are working to get a soft dough, not too sticky, but not dry. You should knead for about 5-8 minutes.
5) Place dough in a bowl coated with butter or cooking spray, cover and keep in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
6) Pour about ½ cup cornmeal on a plate. Roll dough into medium size balls, a little smaller than a hamburger bun, and coat with corn meal. Place dough on cooking sheets coated with cooking spray. Leave room for “raising;” I usually place 6 on a cooking sheet.
7) Let the muffins raise in a warm place for 30 minutes. You do not want them to over-puff and deflate.
8) Grease a skillet or frying pan and cook the muffins for about 3-4 minutes on each side. You want them to be lightly browned.
9) Bake them on a cookie sheet for about 6-8 minutes.
10) Toast and add butter and jam and ENJOY!