English muffins… or Just muffins

In continued enthusiasm to make weekend breakfasts, I thought English muffins would be a fun idea.  After all, one half of our little duo is English. When I brought it up to Chris he said, “Ok, but can I call them just muffins?” har-de-har-har.

English Muffins 1

RECIPE: 1 dozen Just Muffins

1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 oz)
1 oz lukewarm water
7 oz lukewarm buttermilk
250 g bread flour
30 g sugar
10 g kosher salt
2 1/2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
Nonstick spray
White cornmeal as needed

  1. Put the dough hook on the mixer.  In the mixing bowl, whisk together the yeast and lukewarm water to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Stir in the lukewarm buttermilk (microwave the buttermilk for 30 seconds, if it’s coming straight from the fridge).
  3. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl.  Mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. With the mixer still running, add the room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate.  Have patience.
  5. Run it in the mixer for 7 to 8 minutes.  (Unlike making bread, the dough isn’t going to make a dough ball around the hook, but that’s ok.)
  6. Grease a separate bowl with oil and place the dough in there.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 60 minutes.  Then, transfer to the fridge to rest for another 60 minutes.
  7. While it’s in the fridge, prepare baking sheets with silpats (or parchment) and a generous, protective layer of cornmeal.  Enough so that your muffins won’t touch and stick to the silpat or parchment.
  8. Flour the work surface and your hands with a little less flour than you think you should use.  Knend the dough a couple times on the work surface to deflate it. Then, shape it into a chunky log.
  9. Pinch off pieces of dough (they should weigh ~60 g) and gently roll them between your palms into spheres.   Set them on to your backing sheet nestled into the cornmeal.  Pat them lightly so they flatten a bit and adhere to the cornmeal.  Then, turn them over so they get cornmeal on the other side too.
  10. Let them rest in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
  11. Warm a griddle in the oven to 250°F.  Scatter the pan with a thin layer of cornmeal and move it to the stove top.
  12. One at a time, dust off the muffins and lay them on the griddle.  The trick is to bake the outer crust first, keeping the air bubbles inside.  This means that they form all those nooks and crannies.
  13. Warm them for 4 minutes on each side and then continually flip until they are toasty and golden.  Then, put them in the oven for 10 minutes to finish baking.
  14. Let them cool on the baking sheet, then use a fork to puncture an equator around the middle so that they can be pried open.

Recipe adapted from Christina Tosi and photos via Food 52