English Muffins

awen
Posted on 08/18/2010 by kint
With regards to the recent posting about Silk soy milk, I thought I'd share this recipe for English Muffins. I happened to have soy in the fridge when I first made it and it worked beautifully. It's out of Peter Reinhart's new book Artisan Breads Every Day. I didn't get in on this one during recipe testing, but I heard it was very extensive so as to get things just right. I believe he succeeded. I sadly don't have pictures, but I will say these are as lovely as they are delicious.

While he doesn't mention it in his recipe, another I've used (from King Arthur) says you can 'free form' the muffins without rings, they just aren't beautifully round. This recipe is a bit wetter so it might not work as well, but it wouldn't hurt to try (maybe just leave out a half ounce of liquid?). Or, alternatively, I'd highly recommend just picking up a four pack of English muffin rings (these ones have worked well for me).

Lacking a nice, temperature-regulated griddle I do these in a cast iron pan set at medium-low on my electric stove (3 to 3 1/2 on my 1 to 9 dial) and it takes about 12 minutes per side as per the recipe. Don't forget to preheat! Also, I don't go crazy with the cornmeal as per the recipe. I just spray the rings and pans and it's worked out fine so far.


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English Muffins
from Artisan Breads Every Day
pp 125-7

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2 teaspoons (0.5 oz / 14 g) honey
1 tablespoon (0.5 oz / 14 g) vegetable oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups (12 oz / 340 g) lukewarm whole or nonfat milk (about 95F)
2 2/3 cups (12 oz / 340 g) unbleached bread flour
3/4 teaspoon (0.19 oz / 5.5 g) salt, or 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons (0.22 oz / 6 g) instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon (0.06 oz / 2 g) baking soda
3 tablespoon (1.5 oz / 43 g) warm water
Cornmeal, for dusting

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Do Ahead:

Add the honey and oil to the milk and stir to dissolve the honey. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together, then pour in the milk mixture. Whisk for 1 minute, until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is hydrated. You should see gluten strands forming as the wet sponge develops. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then mix the batter for a few more seconds. Scrape down the bowl again, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days. The batter will bubble and rise as it cools down.

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On Baking Day:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake the English muffins. The dough will be much stiffer but still sticky and it will bubble as it comes to room temperature.

When you're nearly ready to bake, dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and gently fold it into the dough, just like folding egg whites into cake batter, until it is fully absorbed. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes, until it starts bubbling again. Heat a flat griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, or to about 300F if using an electric griddle.

Mist the griddle and the inside of the crumpet rings with spray oil, then dust the inside of the rings with cornmeal. Cover the surface of the pan with as many rings as it will hold, then dust the pan inside the rings with more cornmeal. Lower the heat to medium-low, actually closer to low than to medium; you'll have to use trial-and-error on this at first until you find the setting that works with your stove or griddle.

To bake, mist a 1/3-cup measuring cup with spray oil, fill it with dough, and pour the dough into a ring, filling the ring about two-thirds full; depending on the size of the ring, you may not need all of the batter in the scoop to fill each ring, but for standard crumpet rings 1/3-cup of batter is about right. Fill all of the rings, then sprinkle cornmeal over each muffin.

The dough will not spread immediately to fill the ring, but will begin to slowly rise and soon will fill and reach the top of the ring; it may or may not bubble. Cook the muffins for at least 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown and crisp and the tops lose their wet look. Then, flip the muffins over, rings and all, and cook for 12 minutes more. If it takes less than 12 minutes per side, your griddle setting is probably too high and you'll end up with undercooked muffins.

When both sides are golden brown and the dough is springy to the touch, remove the muffins from the pan. Cool them in their rings for about two minutes, then pop them out.

Turn the muffins on their edge to cool; this will help prevent sinking and shrinking. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. After they cool, you can split them with a fork to accentuate the interior nooks.
thirdbase 19th-Aug-2010 10:56 am (UTC)
Awesome! Is it Saturday morning yet?

Thanks!!!
kint 20th-Aug-2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Don't forget to prep it Friday night so you can bake it in the morn :D
thirdbase 20th-Aug-2010 11:01 am (UTC)
Yep -- will be getting to that tonight. That one seems to be my favorite mistake!! "Ok, got everything mixed up and ...oh. Wait four hours. Hmm. Crap."

"Hmm. Crap." should be my motto, really.
lnearth 19th-Aug-2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
No apologies for lack of pictures--I think sometimes we rely too much on visuals--your description provides a nice mental image of the muffins!
sleepwalker41 19th-Aug-2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm really tempted to try these. Thanks for sharing!
kint 20th-Aug-2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Do it! Like right now! Give into the baking peer pressure! :D Seriously, though, very tasty and totally worth it IMHO. An acquaintance said hers came out a bit gummy, but I think that's mostly timing -- the slow cook is really quite important. I've done two batches very successfully (perhaps a third tonight).
sleepwalker41 20th-Aug-2010 11:36 am (UTC)
I've made bread so many times, but never once thought to make English muffins. If I have the motivation to make bread, then I've got it for these. And then I must tackle homemade bagels.
kint 20th-Aug-2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
Homemade bagels are also absolutely amazing (though I'm still working on keeping them from sticking to the pan after the final bake). As a note for when you do get there (and if you have/have access to one), a food processor does make the mixing of an extra-stiff dough much easier. IMHO :)
cordelia_sue 19th-Aug-2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this! I use his pizza dough recipe and I love it. I've been looking for a good english muffin recipe. I will give this a try, plus I just put that book on hold at the library.
kint 20th-Aug-2010 01:47 am (UTC)
I have everything he's written up until now save his pizza book and they're all great (though Bread Baker's Apprentice was my first love). I still need to dig into this one more, but I know it was all very thoroughly tested so it should all be lovely.
cordelia_sue 20th-Aug-2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Well I love pretty much everything you've ever said in this community, so I will trust you! I will have to check out his books some more. The hard part will be deciding which one(s) to buy! I don't have much of a cookbook budget, unfortunately.
kint 20th-Aug-2010 12:35 pm (UTC)
First, thank you very much! Secondly, I totally feel for you. Libraries are a wonderful thing. Also used bookstores/websites (when at least a little funding is freed up). :)
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