English Muffins

With everyone on quarantine from coronavirus pandemic, the bread recipes are flying around like crazy. These hit my feed and looked too yummy to pass up so I decided to try my hand at them.

They did seem a little daunting, so I kept procrastinating. But when I finally got around to making them last night (and baked them this morning), they weren’t that difficult at all. And man oh man, are they delicious!!!

2 c bread flour – I used all-purpose flour and it worked fine
1 c whole wheat flour
2-3/4 t kosher salt – if you use regular table salt, use half as much
1-1/4 t instant yeast (not rapid rise)
1-1/2 c cold milk
2 t honey – the original recipe called for 1/4 c, but the finished muffins were a tad on the sweet side
1 large egg white – I accidentally used a whole egg and tragedy didn’t ensue, so …
1 c fine cornmeal, for dusting – I used the coarse ground I got from Whole Foods bulk section and they are a little crunchy…
2 T unsalted butter, for grilling

Makes 12 muffins (or 14-16 if you make them smallish)

In the bowl of your electric blender, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add all the wet. Mix for 5 minutes on medium-low speed with your paddle attachment. Just make sure you scrape down to the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, to be sure you’re incorporating all your flour. You can also do it by hand.

[The original recipe said your dough will start to come together in a ball; mine did not. Mine was more like an elastic-y batter than a bread dough. Maybe because of the egg yolk?? I also didn’t sift my flour; but that would have created the opposite problem, as sifted flour is fluffier than non-sifted so you use less.]

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 4-5 hours someplace warm, until it has doubled in size. (the plastic wrap keeps the dough from drying out over such a long time)

Generously dust a rimmed cookie sheet with half or more of the cornmeal.

Drop large spoonfuls of the spongy, wet dough onto the cornmeal, using slightly wet fingertips to shape them, if desired. They should be approximately 4-5″ in diameter. If you like yours more petite, that’s fine – you’ll just need more than one cookie sheet’s worth.

Sprinkle the tops with more cornmeal, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 12 – 48 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat a griddle over medium-low heat (a 4 on a gas stove, or 325° if you’re using an electric griddle). Melt a little butter and griddle the muffins until the bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Rotate them 180° partway through, so that their outer edges switch to the middle of the pan. This ensures even browning.

As far as when to flip them, they’re a lot like pancakes – they fluff up a little and get little air bubbles, and then the bottoms get dry. Be careful not to overcook though. Even if they don’t burn, they can get tough.

Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Split them with your fingers or a fork to eat them. The fresh-baked muffins are delicious as is; but once they’ve cooled off you’ll want to toast them and then slather with butter or jam.

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