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Okay, so this morning I thought it’d be fun to try to make English Muffins. English muffins don’t require an overnight proof, which is nice. It takes about 2 hours from mixing bowl to plate, and even quicker if it’s warm in the kitchen. The dough is slack to allow for big, open holes so you should be prepared for that.

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I used the recipe from Beth Hensberger’s Bread Bible, except I halved it originally thinking we only would need a 6-8 muffin yield. While that still held true, we only NEEDED 6-8 muffins, I ended up making almost three times that amount.

Sidetrack: I have been neglecting my sourdough starter, so this morning I fed it and I noticed that it started to foam up almost immediately, which is great. And because I hate to throw anything away, I had some starter in the fridge that I had also neglected, so I combined the two but that left me with about 4cups of starter. I thought, “hey.. instead of throwing this away, I should just add it to the muffins and see what happens.”

So I did! In that way I ended up making a little more than a full recipe and thus ended up with about 20 muffins. It’s a good thing they’re tasty. We’re going to be eating them for a while, unless you come over then we’ll gladly give you some.

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Traditional English Muffins

1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast (or a little less than a tablespoon of instant yeast)
Pinch of sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Cornmeal (for dusting)

If using active dry yeast, combine the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. If using instant yeast, as I did, you can just mix the yeast in with the flour and omit this first step and the sugar.

Combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in egg, milk, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in each time, until you have a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with cornmeal and then roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Use a large round cookie cutter or an upside down drinking glass to cut the muffins out of the dough.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the muffins onto the skillet and let the bake for 5 to 10 minutes until quite dark before flipping.