English muffins are by far my favorite breakfast bread. I love them with eggs, or even better as a vehicle for taking my eggs on the go with me. But I also love them alone, hot out of the toaster with some butter and a little jam. It's perfect for breakfast or a snack.
My husband always says he doesn't care for English muffins. He also says he doesn't like eggs. I tease him that these are little fibs he likes to tell. Because when we go out for breakfast, Eggs Benedict is one of his two go-to choices. (That or a smoked salmon plate.) The truth is that he doesn't dislike these things, they just aren't his first choice. He's not a breakfast kind of guy.
Ironically, as much as I love English muffins, eggs and bacon, I never eat Eggs Benedict. But today being National Eggs Benedict Day, I decided I was going to make this classic dish. But if I was going to do it, I was determined to make my own English muffins. (I figured I'd cross the Hollandaise-is-tricky-to-make bridge when I got to it.)
Making home made English muffins was so easy! I don't know why I haven't done it before. Probably because I'm afraid of dough that needs to proof. It was so simple it has inspired me to try new doughs. It was only about 30-45 minutes of work, with a 2 hour rest period in the middle so the dough could rise.
The hollandaise was tricky. I put a lot of effort and energy into the English muffin making process and when it came time to make the Benedicts, I rushed through a few recipes and instructional guides. And unfortunately I didn't time my Eggs Benedict making very well, so I think that my sauce may have started to break. I did as I was told and whisked in a bit of water and it came back together, but it still didn't look perfectly smooth. It was delicious though. And I'm not giving up on hollandaise. This was an opportunity for me to learn from my mistakes and my next attempt will be that much better.
Eggs Benedict on Homemade English Muffins
For the muffins:
from the Culinary Institute of America
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup water, warmed to 110∘F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornmeal
vegetable or cooking spray, as needed
Place the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a mixer and stir to completely dissolve. Let the yeast proof until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix ingredients together on low speed using the dough hook until all ingredients are blended, about 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth, another 5 minutes.
Cover the stand mixer bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Fold the dough gently over on itself and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (CIA says 12. I was only able to get 8.) Shape into rounds and place on a sheet pan that has been heavily dusted with cornmeal. turn each muffin over to coat both sides with cornmeal. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. (In my eagerness for fresh muffins, I may have forgotten this second rise. They came out fine.)
Preheat a griddle over medium heat and brush lightly with oil or spray with cooking spray. Cook the English muffins until lightly brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the muffins over and cook until golden brown, another 5 minutes.
Split the English muffins with a fork and pull them apart. Toast them just before serving.
For the Hollandaise
adapted from The Curvy Carrot
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt
In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water set on medium heat, whisk the butter and egg yolks together until smooth.
Very, very slowly add the boiling water to the mixture, whisking constantly. Continuing to whisk constantly, heat the mixture until it is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Off heat, gently whisk in the lemon juice, peppers and salt.
For the Eggs Benedict
2 English Muffins
4 sliced Canadian bacon, cooked until heated through
handful of spinach, sauteed until wilted (optional)
4 eggs, poached
Toast the English muffins and butter generously. Top with Canadian Bacon, spinach, poached egg (Ugh. I didn't poach my eggs. I used my Williams Sonoma egg