English Muffins

An English muffin cooling on a rack.

Image via Wikipedia

 

~1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup milk I used 2% here, but you can use anything. I bet buttermilk would add an awesome tangy-ness
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
cornmeal for dusting

Start this process the night before you want to eat the muffins.

Measure out 1 cup of flour by scooping and leveling out with a knife. Add it to your plastic container. I am usually a huge proponent for using a scale because it’s much more accurate, but we’ll make do here. To deal with this loss of accuracy, take out another 1/4 cup of flour and have it standing by.

Add the 1/8 tsp each of instant yeast and salt to the flour. Mix it briefly.

Measure out 1/3 cup each of milk and water and put it into a mug. Add the tbsp of butter to this. Pop it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or until it’s somewhere between lukewarm and warm. The butter will be just starting to melt. Mix in the butter and add all of the liquid to the flour mixture.

Mix with a spatula, spool, hand, or whatever. My dough was too wet at this point, so I added about 1/8 of a cup from the flour that was reserved earlier. Mix some more. The dough should be quite soft and somewhere between sticky and tacky. It will get less sticky as it rests, don’t worry. The high ratio of liquid to flour is needed to ensure nice big holes in the final product.

Once the dough has come together, just scrape down the sides of the container and lid it up. You don’t really have to worry about mixing too much or too little, Whenever you think it’s thoroughly mixed, it’s good.

Now let it sit at room temperature for 12 hours or so.

The next morning, the dough will have doubled in size. Turn it out onto a (cornmeal) floured surface and fold to redistribute the nutrients for the yeasty beasties. You just enough flour to prevent sticking.

To fold:
– grab one side of the dough, stretch it out and fold it over just past the midline
– repeat for the opposite side
– repeat for the other two sides

Turn it seam side down, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. I just covered it with a cereal bowl, but you could use plastic wrap or a tea towel too.

After resting, the gluten will have relaxed a bit. You can now roll it out to about 1 cm or slightly over 3/8 inches in thickness.

Then take your cookie cutter or cup and punch out rounds and transfer them to another floured surface.

Take the leftover scraps, stick them together, roll out, and punch more rounds. If you used too much flour on your surface (not so much of an issue for corn meal), it might be hard to get the scraps to stick back together, so use only what you need. Also, if the dough is too elasticy, it may be necessary to let the dough rest a bit before rolling it out again.

Cover the dough circles with a sheet of plastic or a tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. During this time, clean up some of the mess you have made, brew a coffee, and heat up the griddle over medium heat.

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