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Lesson 8: English Muffins
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This dough is best prepared the night before so that you can let it proof in the fridge overnight, and then cook it any time the next morning.

For this final dough, you have two options. You can make the same baguette dough we made in the previous lesson, yielding a chewy distinctly sourdough open-nook-and-cranny-delicious muffin, and skip right ahead to the forming section below, OR you can try to make an enriched English muffin.

Enriched doughs are any doughs that are mixed with ingredients beyond flour, water, yeast, and salt. Enriching a dough with foods like fatty oils , milk, and sugars affect the way gluten bonds are formed. These ingredients hinder the dough's ability to create long bonds that stretch into large open bubbles during the baking process, yielding a tighter softer crumb, but also a more savory flavor and longer shelf stability.

So, the choice is yours! If you loved the way that last lesson's baguette dough baked and desire a sour chewy English muffin, skip to below and see instructions on how to form the dough once bulk fermentation has completed. If you are ready to try your hand at working with another dough enriched with fat, sugar, and milk, you have chosen wisely and your taste buds are already thanking you.


Tools & Ingredients

Here are the tools and ingredients required to follow along with this lesson.

Tools

Ingredients

You will also need to mix up a 50/50 all purpose flour and rice flour mix for dusting. Some recipes call for cornmeal, but the gritty meal has a tendency to burn in the skillet and scorch the muffins.


Bulk Mix

The bulk mix for this dough is very straight forward. Perfect to whip up after dinner, let it proof while watching a movie, then punch down and form before bed, letting the shaped rise happen in the fridge.

Combine the all purpose flour, white bread flour, and intant yeast into one large mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk and create a well in the middle for liquids.

In a separate saucepan, measure out 350 grams of water and set aside. In small cup or dish, weigh out the dry milk, sugar, salt, and shortening.

Whisk the ingredients in the saucepan together until the dry ingredients have completely dissolved in the water. Heat the mixture on the stove until it reaches between 120-130.

Pour the heated mixture into the well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients. Using a dough whisk or a wooden spoon to get these ingredients incorporated is recommended.

This is a high hydration dough, meaning it is super sticky to work with until the yeast has had time to go to work. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated and pulling away from the side of the bowl, set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.


Knead and Bulk Ferment

Giving the dough a minute to rest before kneading alleviates some of the knead time, and gives the warm water a few extra minutes to activate the yeast and hydrate the dry ingredients. Using a bowl scraper, separate the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Flour your countertop, and knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes. Work the dough until it is smooth across the surface and feels evenly hydrated, separating easily from your fingers. Work in a little extra flour during kneading, but no more than three or four tablespoons.

Clean out the bowl you mixed the dough in, and film it with a layer of spray oil. Transfer the dough back into the bowl, and spritz the top of the dough as well before covering it with a towel or plastic wrap, allowing the dough bulk ferment.

This dough doubles quickly because the yeast has additional sugar to snack on during this fermentation and the high temperature of the liquid we added. Check your dough after 30 minutes, but depending on how cool the dough became during kneading it can take up to an hour to double.


Turn out Dough

Place a kitchen towel on a baking sheet. Dust the towel until it is covered in thin layer of rice flour. Then dust again with a 50:50 mixture of rice flour to all purpose flour. Flouring the towel really well ensures that these sticky muffins won't get stuck to the towel.

After bulk fermentation turn out the dough onto the well-floured towel and allow to relax for 10 minutes.

Dust the top of the dough with the rice flour and all-purpose flour mixture, then press the dough from the middle outward until you have filled the pan with a half inch thick dough. Don't worry if you don't reach the edges of your pan, it's more important to have a consistent thickness across the dough.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or place in an oven bag before letting the dough rest in the fridge overnight.


Cutting and Cooking

Remove your dough from the fridge and observe how puffed it has become overnight!

This dough is best cooked in a cast iron pan or griddle. Spray oil works great, but if you want a richer crust flavor, you can cook the muffins in ghee. Ghee can take a minute to make but is amazing to use for cooking. Ghee also seems to be commercially available almost everywhere now, so check your nearest supermarket.

Heat the skillet with medium to low heat for at least 5 minutes before cooking. I am using the skillet half of the combination cooker we used in the sourdough class.

Using a four inch round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the dough when you are ready to place them in the pan. If you don't want round English muffins, you can just slice the dough slab into rectangles with a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.

You should be able to squeeze six large muffins out of this initial cut. Gently remove the extra dough, cutting with a sharp paring knife if it sticks. Re-knead the removed dough with about a tablespoon of water, and set aside for the moment.

Using a spatula, transfer your muffins 3 at a time into the skillet at medium-low heat. Don't worry if they begin to puff unevenly in the pan, with the top expanding to be larger than bottom. When the underside is golden brown, flip the muffins.

Cook the second side other side of the muffins until gold brown, pressing them slightly into the pan after being flipped. This should take about 6-8 minutes per side.

Place the muffins onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before splitting and toasting.

While you are waiting for your muffin rounds to cook, reflour your kitchen towel slightly and press the dough you hydrated and kneaded into the pan. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, or until visibly relaxed, before cutting with a smaller dough cutter, or simply cutting into fourths and cooking in the pan.


Serving and Storing

Before serving, slice the muffin in half and toast face down in a dry skillet.

Look at all those nooks and crannies! Perfect for melting butter in. Or cheese.

My favorite thing to make in these muffins is an egg sandwich. A creamy salty cheese like brie, allowed to get melted by a fried egg, topped with prosciutto and mustard isa savory breakfast dream.

Remember that you can make a sourdough version of this muffin by using the dough recipe from the baguette lesson.

Next, we conquer one last bread that barely never ever doubles in size, because well, it shouldn't. Follow along to whip up the fastest recipe yet, flatbread!

CLASS PROJECT

Share a photo of your finished project with the class to complete the lesson!

Nice work! You've completed the class project