Due to the snow and black ice and the fact that our car has been trapped since Sunday i have of course been cooking (and eating). I have always enjoyed playing around with yeast, when i was young i was always making yeast goods i remember vividly proving the dough by the open fire and teaching myself how to knead and how dough should look and feel. I think i like the constant surprise factor with yeast products they are always unpredictable it feels as though the dough has a mind of its own - well i suppose it does in a round-about way. It is one of the most satisfying jobs in the kitchen and one i never tire of. When making any doughs use the wet quantities as a guideline - the flour you use varies, the weather can have an impact etc etc. It is nothing too fear it just takes practice to find that "look and feel". You will know what i mean after making some light and crusty batches and when you make some heavy and dry batches. It is all down to the feel!!
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
450g all purpose/plain flour
1 tsp salt
55g butter or lard for greasing
Put the milk and 55ml water into a saucepan and heat gently until just warm enough for you to dip your finger in comfortably. Put the warmed milk into a small basin or jug, add the sugar and the yeast, mix lightly and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes and the mixture has a lightly bubbling top.
Sift the flour into a roomy baking bowl or bowl of an electic mixer, add the salt and stir. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast and milk mixture in. Mix all the ingredients together until a soft, non-sticky dough is formed; if the dough feels dry a little more water a drop at a time, too wet add a little more flour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean, dry tea towel and leave in a warm (not hot) place until the dough has doubled in size, this could take up to an hour, so be patient.
Once risen, tip the dough back onto the floured surface and roll out to 1cm thick. Cut into 7.5cm rounds. The dough may start to puff up again but simply roll it back lighlty. Place the muffins on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise for 30 minutes, again in a warm, but not hot, place.
Grease a heavy-based frying pan or griddle with a little butter or lard (remove excess with paper towel) heat until hot but not burning. Add a few muffins, lower the heat and cook for 7 minutes on each side. Once cooked, put to one side, re-grease the pan or griddle and heat, then continue as above until you have used up all the dough.
Store them in an airtight tin.
Muffins are delicious warm, split the muffins and coat with lashings of butter and jam. Or toasted in the morning for breakfast....yummy!