This recipe starts with a poolish … a starter made the day before. This wet sponge mixture is added when making the dough the next day and improves your finished English muffin texture and flavor. English muffins are also made differently than traditional bread. The muffins are first cooked in a cornmeal dusted saute pan, then finished in the oven.
- 3/4 cup water (110 – 115 degrees)
- 1 1/3 cup flour, bread flour preferred
- 1/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1 1/2 cup water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- t teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 cup flour, bread flour preferred
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Cornmeal for dusting muffins
Preparing the poolish
The day before you are ready to make the English muffins, mix together the water, flour and yeast by hand until homogenous the poolish will have lumps and will be wet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.
At this point, the mixture will have fermented and risen with visible bubbles (it should not have collapsed in the center).
To make the dough
In a separate small bowl, place the remaining 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 – 115 degrees), the honey and the dry yeast. Stir lightly. The temperature of the water is important. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast…if too cold, it will not be warm enough to proof the yeast. I use an instant read thermometer to make sure the water temperature is correct.
Let sit for about 20 minutes. The yeast should start to bubble in the middle. This is called ‘proofing” the yeast.
Place the poolish and the proofed yeast into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
On low speed, slowly add the flour/butter mixture to the bowl
Mix 4 minutes on low speed, making sure to scrape down the dough to incorporate. Continue mixing on medium speed. The dough should be wet and tacky and come together on the dough hook. (see photo on right).
Remove the dough from the bowl. I use a plastic dough scraper to help remove the dough from the bowl.
Place the dough on a work surface and knead by hand for a few minutes to smooth out the dough.
Remove dough and place back on a work table. Pat the dough down then fold it into thirds. Place back in to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for another 15 minutes or until it springs back when lightly touched.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While dough is resting, prepare a baking sheet by placing parchment paper on it and lightly sprinkling it with cornmeal.
Using a biscuit cutter, cut out muffins and place on the prepared baking sheet. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, you can use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch squares.
You can gather dough remnants an reroll them to cut out additional muffins.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Place the muffins in the pan, making sure not to over crowd them. It the skillet becomes too hot, make sure to turn the heat down. When browned, flip and cook on other side.
Place the English muffins on a CLEAN piece of parchment paper lined baking pan.
Place in the preheated oven and back for 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove muffins from oven and let cool on a cooking rack. Store in a zip lock back in the refrigerator or freeze for future use. I thaw them overnight in the refrigerator if they are frozen.