Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I know these directions look long, but these muffins are SO simple to make. The recipe is from a new book I got for Christmas, Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. These are what I consider to be the absolutely perfect English muffins. They have a nice holey texture inside and they toast up perfectly to serve with jam. I’m excited to try more recipes from this book. The make-ahead aspect gives the finished product great flavor as well as requiring very little hands on time each day.
2 teaspoons (14 g) honey
1 tablespoon (14 g) vegetable oil or olive oil
1 ½ cups (340 g) lukewarm whole or nonfat milk (about 95°F)
2-2/3 cups (340 g) unbleached bread flour (I was out of bread flour so I used all-purpose flour)
¾ teaspoon (5.5 g) salt, or 1 ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons (6 g) instant yeast
¼ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
3 tablespoons (43 g) warm water
Cornmeal, for dusting
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.
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 over medium heat, or to 300°F if using an electric griddle.
Mist the griddle and the inside of the crumpet rings with Baker’s Joy, 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 up 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 2 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.
You can make a partial whole wheat version by using half bread flour and half whole wheat flour. If you do so, increase the amount of milk by ¼ cup (56.5 g).
Recipe source: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day