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English Muffins

English Muffins

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Makes 1 dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslet.

English muffins are not simply bread dough shaped into a disk and then baked or fried. The formula and procedure are different to get the texture correct. They’re more work, but the final product is better than anything available in grocery stores. Because of the long kneading time, a stand mixer with a dough hook is recommended.

Ingredients:

1½ cups (350ml) very cold water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 pound (about 3¼ cups / 454g) bread flour, plus up to 3 tablespoons as needed*
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons nonfat milk powder
2 teaspoons butter

Directions:

Mixing

In a stand mixer bowl, combine the yeast and water. Mix well. Then combine all the ingredients and mix to form a sticky dough. The dough shouldn’t look wet; so add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 3 tablespoons, to achieve the correct texture. Knead 20-25 minutes at second speed (#2 on a KitchenAid). This dough is intentionally over-kneaded to develop its characteristic coarse texture.

First Rise

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 2½ to 3 hours in a cool location, about 70°F (21°C).

Portioning and Makeup

Because this dough is soft and sticky, use dusting flour. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide into quarters, then divide each quarter into three pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Round the units and arranged on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Let relax 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, cut parchment paper (or waxed paper) into squares to fit six to a standard baking sheet. Repeat for a second sheet. Dust each square generously with corn meal. Then carefully shape and stretch each dough ball into a thick muffin, trying not to deflate the dough too much. Place each muffin on the cornmeal-prepared trays, one per piece of parchment. Dust the tops liberally with corn meal, cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and let rise a second time until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Baking

Place a stove top griddle over two burners and heat over low flames (or use an electric griddle or large skillet on the stove). Transfer each muffin to the stove by carefully lifting each piece of parchment and flipping the muffin onto the cooking surface. Cook on both sides over low heat until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To serve or toast, split each muffin with one or two forks, separating the top from the bottom. Toast until golden, serve topped with butter and/or your favorite jam.

*For thicker muffins, add another 1 to 3 tablespoons of flour for a stiffer dough.

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