English muffins redux

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes plus 90 minutes proving (you can skip the proving, how to is explained further down)

Cooking time: 15 minutes

I recently attend a two day bread workshop and since then I’ve been putting what I learned into use. Time to revisit an earlier recipe and tweak it for a better result. The main change is to add the butter after the liquid rather than with it. The result is the flour more readily absorbs the liquid and forms a lovely elastic dough that is then lightened and softened by the butter. Once baked this dough has more chew and less crumble to it. As I can’t help but fiddle with a recipe I also smoked the butter that I used in my most recent batch of muffins. With only 15g of butter the smokiness is lovely and subtle.

You will need:

300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
6g fast-action yeast
6g salt
15g caster sugar
15g softened butter
1  large free-range egg
175ml milk
oil, for greasing
semolina or polenta for dusting

Making it:

In a large mixing bowl mix add the flour then sprinkle the yeast on one side and the salt into the other side of the flour. Mix the sugar, egg and milk, then mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Allow this to sit for 10 minutes before adding the butter.

Knead the mixture on a lightly floured surface for 10-12 minutes, or until soft, smooth and stretchy or in a food mixer with the dough hook at low speed for 10 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil. Oil your hands and then move the dough from the mixer to the oiled bowl. Cover the dough and leave to prove until doubled in size,approx 1 hour. Dust the work surface with  the semolina/polenta and tip the dough out then roll out to about 2.5cm thick.
Lightly dust a chopping board with some semolina or polenta.
Using a 9cm straight-sided cutter, cut out eight muffins.Place the muffins, evenly spaced on the dusted chopping board.
Leave to prove for another 30 minutes.
Preheat a large weighty frying pan on the hob on a very low heat. Dry fry the muffins for approximately 5-7 minutes, then flip over and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side. Move them to cool on a rack.

Slice them in half and toast them.  Serve with plenty of salted butter.
If you want to do these (and yourself) justice finish them off with plenty of cream cheese and crispy smoked bacon.
Enjoy a great start to the day.
These might keep well and toast nicely a day later but they are always all eaten before the mornings over in our house.

Variations:

The dough can be made the night before (I have been known to be  muffin making at 3am) and then cut and cooked the next day. Follow the method below and you don’t knead (sorry couldn’t help myself) to wait for 90 minutes of proving before you have your breakfast.
Mix the dough ingredients and knead for just 2-3 minutes, transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and stick in the fridge overnight. The next day roll out and cut and cook as described above.

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