Signs of a true foodie - they associate every mood/mood swing/emotion/feeling with some or the other dish. I always, always, always do that. It's more like a way to express myself. I am also known for having weird food cravings at times when I am sure that they cannot be satisfied instantly. I have been craving for Eggs Benedict out of nowhere, since last night and frantically looked for them all morning in vain. But well, when I want something, I make sure I have it. So I just ended up making everything right from step 1 :)
I have noticed though, ever since I have started this food blog, I have been wanting to try stuff out at home. Everything homemade. It is completely worth it! Anyway, here it goes:
Source : Various. Including the Culinary Institute of America, Gordon Ramsay, Alton Brown, Gillian's Blog and recipetips.com
All ingredients to be used preferably at room temperatures except if mentioned otherwise.
For the English Muffins: (Makes 8)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 Egg (Optional)
3 tablespoons Warm Water
1/2 cup Milk
1 1/2 tablespoon Oil
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
Flour for dusting
Semolina for coating (You can also use cornmeal - the traditional way)
Oil. (To be used very very sparingly, just to coat the griddle)
For Poached Eggs:
3 tablespoons Vinegar
Water for cooking
For Hollandaise Sauce:
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 a stick of Melted Butter
Juice of half a Lemon
A pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste
The English Muffins: Mix your yeast with the 3 tablespoons warm water and add 1 teaspoon Sugar to it. Let it froth for 10 minutes. In the mean while, combine Milk, Oil, 1 teaspoon Sugar and the Egg(optional) in a bowl and whisk well. In a clean, dry bowl, sift the flours together and add the salt. Make a well in the middle. Add the frothy yeast mixture to the milk and stir it together. Now pour this into the well and incorporate everything (I used hands) to form a sticky and soft dough. Dust it with flour if it turns too sticky, 1 tablespoon at a time. Work the dough till it becomes soft and springy.
Take a clean bowl and coat the insides with oil. place your dough in it and let it rise for about an hour. A handy tip that I came across on recipetip was to heat a small bowl of water for 2 minutes on high in the microwave, and then place your bowl of dough inside the microwave (on standby mode, just to keep a closed space) along with that bowl of water at one side. You may keep your dough uncovered as opposed to the normal practice of keeping it covered with Saran wrap or a wet cloth. The hot water ensures optimum temperature and your dough shall rise beautifully!
Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release the air, then get it out on a floured surface and gently work it (with a very light hand). You do not want to overwork the dough if you want those beautiful nooks and crannies in your muffins. work it for a couple of minutes and then gently roll it till it is as thick as 1 cm. then cut out round muffins with a cookie cutter or a sharp bowl or a sharp lid. Place them on a sheet with dusted with flour and cover with a damp cloth and let them rise for another 20-30 minutes. By now your muffins will have risen even further :)
Heat your griddle on medium low to medium, depending on it's thickness, and lightly coat with oil, you can also use a cooking spray. on a flat plate, pour some Semolina/Cornmeal and coat your muffins on both sides lightly. Now place them on the griddle, and let them cook for 6 minutes. You will notice that they rise even further. check for a beautiful brown color and a crisp exterior before you flip those plump domes and cook them for another 4 minutes on the other side.
Get them off the griddle, shake off the excess Semolina/Cornmeal, use a fork (not a knife) to cut open these springy rounds of awesomeness, and enjoy! You can enjoy them as your breakfast or tea time snack with a little butter and jam too :)
Phew. Step 1. Done!
The Poached Eggs: Heat 4 inches of water in a pan till you see tiny bubbles on the inside surface. Meanwhile, prep your eggs. Break them open individually in small bowls and be ready. Then turn your heat to low so that the water does not boil. Add the Vinegar. Now just stir the water so as to make a whirlpool in the water, and gently drop your Egg in the center. Now let this assembly be undisturbed for the next 4 minutes. Remove your Egg, check for its consistency by gently touching the yolk. It should be soft, and the whites should be opaque. Add it to an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process. You can always reheat the poached Egg. You still have to make the Hollandaise, remember? :P
I did my Eggs one at a time. To Reheat the Eggs, just immerse them for 1 minute in hot (not boiling) water.
Hollandaise Sauce: Heat 1 inch of water in a pan, just like the poached Eggs. Your water must be on simmer, and not boil. Alton Brown asked for chilled Butter, but I really preferred the melted Butter. So melt your Butter. Now in another pan, whisk your Egg Yolk with 3 drops of Chilled Water, till it becomes paler in color and frothy in texture. Now, put it over the simmering water and whisk till it reaches a consistency where it can coat the back of a spoon, or when you pick your whisk up, it pours down like a ribbon. It usually takes about 3 minutes.
Now take it off the heat, and slowly pour in a small amount (about half a teaspoon) of the melted Butter while you are still whisking. This is the most important step. Once this Butter is completely incorporated, keep adding the Butter, a little at a time, till you incorporate all of it. Once you get that smooth sauce, add in your Lemon Juice, Salt and Cayenne Pepper. Whisk Well. Voila!
To Assemble: Re-toast your Muffin. Re-heat your Poached Eggs. Fork your muffin open. Add the Bacon Strips (Optional. I also read somewhere that Smoked Salmon could be used as an alternate.). Place your Poached Eggs on each half.
If you want to re-heat your Hollandaise, what I did was I immersed the bowl in some hot water for 10 seconds and it was back to it's normal consistency. Spoon over the smooth and silky sauce on the assembly, and garnish with a pinch of Cayenne and a sprig of Cilantro/Parsley.
Trust me, this was all well worth the effort. It was healthier than the normal breakfast meal too. Whole wheat bread and very less Oil, what more could I ask for? And the sense of accomplishment comes for free! ;)