Tuesday, May 15, 2012

English Muffins

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (plus more if needed, up to 1 1/2 cups total)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornmeal

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let sit about 5 minutes or until foamy on top.

While the yeast/sugar mixture is resting, combine 1 1/2 cups bread flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt. In a second small bowl, combine the milk and butter. Microwave the milk/butter for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir butter until it melts into the warm milk.

Pour the yeast mixture and the milk mixture into the flour. Stir until is has combined into a pasty mix. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in the white whole wheat flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. (This is where you can use more of the white whole wheat flour if the dough is still too sticky).

Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean counter-top ad coat you hands in flour. Dump the soft ball of dough out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the counter-top while kneading. Adding too much flour will yield tough muffins.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated with non-stick spray. Lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in size (about 45-60 minutes).

Punch the dough down, shape into another ball, cover the bowl/dough and let rise a second time (45-60 minutes or until doubled).

Punch down the dough again and turn it out onto a well floured counter-top. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it is about 3/4-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or large round glass, cut the dough into circles. When you can't cut out anymore circle, gently ball the remaining dough, roll again and cut more.

Place the cut dough onto a sheet pan that has been liberally covered in cornmeal. Sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover loosely with a damp town and let rise, once more, until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non stick spray. Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins to the hot skillet with a spatula. Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side. Make sure to keep the heat low so that the outside browns slowly, allowing time for the inside to "bake" (about 7 minutes total).

Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to slice open. Toast the split muffins in a toaster. Or freeze them and pull them and pull them out at you want them.


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