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With all the holiday and birthday business pretty much off in memory land for the year (two more birthdays and we’re clear for a bit), bread baking has come back to just baking for every day. Except that we’re all a little food-hungover still, and kinda sick of bread. The last loaf even sat long enough to go green!

So something different, as Our Man Cub still needs a sandwich to bring to school during the week. English muffins, anyone? English muffins, it is.

A note to the adventuresome: the english muffin recipe in the King Arthur Bread Book, which has never ever ever failed me before, was surprisingly remiss on this one. The things produced with their recipe are not english muffins – they are frightening dinner rolls with a cornmeal dusting. Don’t do it, for the love of Pete. Bake some cookies – the crispy almond ones are particularly good, in fact. Make some of those instead.

On the other hand, Michael Ruhlman has a bomb english muffin recipe on his site. Those are totally worth the slow-ass cook time and the cornmeal all over the place*. His english muffins come out completely delicious, crunchy and chewy in all the right places, and pretty easy to put together.

I think I forgot along the way, through all the bullshitting with Anthony Bourdain on the teevee – all that hipster-in-the-kitchen** hooey – that Michael Ruhlman is one badass chef. CIA graduate and cookbook writer guy, he’s got the credentials, for sure. But what I love best about him is that he can be so freaking encouraging. Look –

“YOU DON’T NEED A BOXED MIX!  DON’T LET FOOD COMPANIES TELL YOU YOU’RE TOO STUPID AND TOO LAZY TO DO IT YOURSELF! THIS IS BEAUTIFUL FOOD MADE FROM BASIC INGREDIENTS: WATER, BUTTER, FLOUR, EGGS!”

That’s from this post. Anyone who tells me stuff like that is, in my opinion, Entirely Full of Win. After years of being a pretty good cook and a miserable baker, I decided this year that I would learn to bake. I still have a long way to go (at least I’ve gotten some pretty osm cookies out of it. And some breads too!) and words like that go a long way for me to truck on through the stuff that doesn’t work (for the time being: pâte à choux – quelle disastre!) to nommier pastures.

Anyway! I’ll leave you to go hit up his page for the recipe, and tell you what I found out in the process of making these (which are in the pan on my stove as we speak):

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