Why this recipe works For the ultimate English muffin—one that’s chock-full of butter-thirsty nooks and crannies—we found that we needed a high-hydration dough. Drier doughs produced muffins with a compressed, even crumb. To enhance the bubbly crumb, we incorporated a series of folds into our recipe to encourage the yeast to produce more gases and to build the structure necessary to trap them. English muffins have a distinct yeasty character, so we allowed the shaped dough to proof slowly in the refrigerator so it would develop more flavor. After you brown the muffins, group the batches in different spots on the baking sheet to help you keep track of their cooking times. Split muffins can be stored in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Wrapped in aluminum foil before being placed in the bag, the muffins can be frozen for up to 1 month. We do not recommend mixing this dough by hand.
- makes 12 muffins
- resting time 1½ hours
- rising time 13 to 13½ hours
- cooking time 42 minutes
- total time 16¼ to 16¾ hours, plus 15 minutes cooling time
- key equipment 2 rimmed baking sheets, 12-inch skillet, instant-read thermometer
- 3¼ cups (16¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk, room temperature
- ½ cup (4 ounces) water, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons (1¾ ounces) cornmeal
1). Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, water, melted butter, and sugar in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
2). Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 8 minutes. Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes.
3). Using greased bowl scraper (or your fingertips), fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees and fold dough again; repeat turning bowl and folding dough 2 more times (total of 4 folds). Cover tightly with plastic and let dough rise until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4). Sprinkle half of cornmeal over rimmed baking sheet. Press down on dough to deflate; transfer to well-floured counter, divide into quarters, and cut each quarter into thirds (2½ ounces each). Cover loosely with greased plastic.
5). Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), form into rough ball by stretching dough around your thumbs and pinching edges together so that top is smooth. Place ball seam side down on clean counter and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round.
6). Arrange dough balls seam side down on prepared sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Cover loosely with greased plastic, then gently place second baking sheet on top.
7). Let dough balls rest for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove top sheet and loosen plastic covering muffins. Let muffins sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Sprinkle muffins with remaining cornmeal and press gently to adhere.
8). Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Using metal spatula, carefully place 4 muffins in skillet and cook until puffed and well browned, 3 to 6 minutes per side. Do not press down on muffins.
9). Transfer muffins to clean baking sheet and bake until sides are firm and muffins register 205 to 210 degrees, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining muffins in 2 batches, adjusting burner temperature as needed to prevent burning.
10). Transfer muffins to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Split muffins open with fork and toast before serving.
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