February 13, 2011

English Muffins

Recently my husband and I rediscovered how much we enjoy English muffins. I had made them from scratch in the past and enjoyed the nontraditional process of cooking them on a griddle rather than in the oven. So, I decided to try the version of English muffins from my copy of The Bread Bible.

These turned out delicious, far tastier than the store varieties. There's just something about a homemade English Muffinmust be the love. (Note: this recipe only makes 10 English Muffins, so double it! That was my only disappointment when I was done with the recipe was how few muffins I had to enjoy.)

English Muffins

1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup water at room temperature
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. instant yeast

Whisk the sponge ingredients until very smooth, incorporating air, for about 2 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a thick batter.

Flour Mixture
1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. dry milk
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. melted butter (optional)

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, dry milk and yeast. Sprinkle this on the sponge mixture to cover completely. Do not stir. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand for one hour at room temperature. You may then refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours to allow flavors to develop. (If refrigerated, remove one hour prior to mixing the dough.)

After the dough has fermented, add the butter and mix on low speed until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Cover, and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on the salt, and knead on medium speed for 10 minutes. Dough will be smooth and shiny but tacky enough to stick slightly to your fingers. Add a little flour or water if necessary to obtain this texture.

Scrape dough into an oiled container, and cover tightly. Allow dough to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently knead dough in container. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 24) to chill and firm the dough.

Sprinkle the counter evenly with the cornmeal. On a lightly floured counter, roll out the dough into 1/4-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the rounds. Place them on the cornmeal and cover with greased plastic wrap to rise until they are about 3/4-inch high. With remaining scraps of dough, pat into a round. Cover, and refrigerate at least one hour to relax the dough before reshaping and cutting.

Once rounds have risen, preheat the griddle to 275ºF. Brush griddle with melted butter if desired. Cook muffins 10 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature is 190ºF. Cool the muffins on a wire rack completely. Separate the muffins using a fork prior to freezing if you're not going to eat them within a couple days.

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