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Authentic English Muffins

No recipe image available.This recipe yields exceptional homemade crusty, cornmeal-coated English muffins, ideally moist and rough-textured on the inside. More work is required than other recipes, but the outcome far outweighs the extra effort.

Recipe Ingredients:

Starter:
2 cups warm water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

Sponge:
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F | 45°C )
2 cups starter - room temperature
3/4 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
2 cups unbleached bread flour

English Muffins:
Sponge mixture
Remaining starter
4 cups unbleached bread flour (approximately)
4 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Starter: In a medium bowl, stir together water and yeast. Let stand a couple of minutes to dissolve yeast. Stir in all purpose flour and whole wheat to make a thick batter.
  2. Cover with a cloth and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. For Sponge: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the 2 cups starter (reserve remaining starter for dough), and mix well; Stir in the milk and bread flour to make a thick batter. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  4. For English Muffins: Stir down the sponge mixture and add the remaining starter, flour, honey, salt, buttermilk powder and cornmeal. Beat with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. Dough will be soft. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  5. Lightly deflate the dough. On a work surface sprinkled with cornmeal, roll or pat dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 3 1/2-inch rounds using a cookie cutter. Place on a baking sheet that's been sprinkled lightly with cornmeal, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. Heat a cast iron frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Sprinkle cooking surface with cornmeal. Cook a few muffins at a time (do not crowd the pan) until bottoms are browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, adjust heat if muffins are browning too quickly. Transfer cooked muffins to a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. To serve, split muffins with the tines of a fork and serve with desired toppings. Store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days or freeze and use as needed.

Makes 14 to 16 English Muffins.

Tip: For muffins with more "nooks and crannys", the dough must almost be of a batter-like consistency. Muffin rings can be purchased in kitchen specialty stores, or you can "create your own" by removing the tops and bottoms of large tuna cans or similar type cans. The rings support the loose batter and allow the muffins to retain their shape as they rise and bake.