“i just couldn’t keep walking by them without taking another one”
it may have taken me two days….but i committed! i will not be had by an english muffin! this journey began saturday and ended monday morning.
i knew i liked the taste of the recipe i tried last week…so i decided to give it another go…but this time thoughtfully and well timed. the end result was only 10 muffins, though, so i decided to try out another recipe…since i had the whole weekend.
the first…we’ll call the lazy dough. the second…we’ll call the monster dough.
don’t be confused….there is nothing lazy about executing this first recipe. it takes time and patience and then some more time. the dough is lazy…not the process. make the sponge, let it rest…sprinkle on the flour….don’t stir yet…let it rest rest….on and on we went….the dough begging for a snooze after every step…sheesh….lazy dough and lazy bakers…don’t mix.
recipe one (lazy dough)
1 cup & 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water at room temperature (70° – 90° F)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
mix all ingredients of the sponge together in a large bowl – preferably in your stand mixer. whisk together until very smooth – about 2 minutes. the sponge will have a batter consistency and bubbles will begin to form almost immediately.
1 cup & 1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
about 1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon melted butter
in another bowl whisk together the flour, dry milk and yeast. sprinkle this over the sponge mixture but don’t stir in. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this sit so it can ferment. 1-4 hours at room temperature….or apparently for the best flavor…1 hour at room temperature and then to the fridge for 8-24 hours. (are you starting to see why the first attempt was a failed one?) the sponge will begin to rise and come through the flour mixture…don’t be scared! :)
now it’s time for the dough. add your butter to the mixture and, with a dough hook in your stand mixer, begin mixing on a low speed (unless you like flour in your face) until mixture begins to come together to form the dough. make sure all the edges are scraped down and guess what it’s time for….cat nap! give the dough a rest for about 20 minutes. add in salt and begin to mix again…this time for about 10 minutes on a slightly higher speed. you can see the dough take on a smoother elastic look and once it is all holding together nicely you’ve probably mixed long enough. the dough will be slightly sticky.
time to nap again! grease a bowl for the dough….lightly oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside for and hour or two or until it’s doubled in size. once dough has risen, punch down….lightly kneed back into a ball and refrigerate for at least an hour…up to 24 hours.
once the dough is chilled, lightly flour a clean surface to roll out your dough. roll into a rectangle about 8×12 and 1/4″ thick. using a 3 1/2″ biscuit cutter, you should be able to cut out 5-6 muffins. place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly covered with cornmeal…lightly dust the tops of muffins as well and let them rise again till they are about 3/4″ tall…about 45 minutes. (don’t be surprised but…) don’t get right back to rolling out the scraps again….they are gonna want to take another break. form scraps into a disc – cover and refrigerate for another hour or so….these buddies need to relax their gluten! (shakes her head) once relaxed and ready…your dough should yield another 4-5 more muffins. you should have about 10 total.
preheat your griddle to 275 – brush lightly with melted butter. add on your muffins but don’t crowd them. they cook for about 10 minutes on each side…but use your own judgment….you know what you’re looking for – golden brown bottoms…then flip and repeat. i read that one blogger was skeptical that a griddle would actually cook through the muffin….but don’t be scared and stick them in the oven to be sure….the griddle works, and works well….why in the world would the bread bible give you false information?
transfer to a cooling rack….add butter and jam/honey…and enjoy!
the monster dough….could also be misinterpreted. i have called it monster dough…not because it was a difficult feat, but because i literally felt like i was working with a monster. i could imagine the dough springing to life throughout each and every step….only growing and becoming more ominous the further we worked together.
recipe two (monster dough)
2 cups warm water (110°F to 115°F / 45°C )
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
begin by stirring warm water and yeast together until yeast is dissolved. add in flour and mix until batter consistency. cover mixture with kitchen towel and let rest for at least 4 hours at room temperature. (for the record….this began my monster creation. as the starter bubbled and grew…it became a slimy mess that threatened to take over my kitchen…dum dum dummm)
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F / 45°C )
again, begin by dissolving the yeast in the warm water. (make sure it’s not too hot…this will kill the yeast) add in 2 cups of the starter and mix well. stir in milk and flour. mix till batter consistency. cover and let rest for an hour. (the monster is rising…eek!)
4 cups unbleached bread flour (might be a little less than this. flour is a judgment call…you want it to stick together…be manageable….but not dried up with flour)
4 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder
handful of cornmeal
stir your sponge and mix in the rest of your starter. with your dough hook in the stand mixer, mix in honey, salt and buttermilk powder. add in flour 1/2 cup at a time…let it mix in before you add more, so you can be sure you’re not using too much flour. again…you’re looking elastic texture…the whole wheat won’t make it as smooth as the previous mixture. if you have to go over 4 cups….because it’s still too sticky….do so sparingly. set the dough aside, cover and let it rise till doubled in size.
ok…so i don’t know if it’s just me…..but this seemed like a massive amount of dough. the monster dough was taking over my stand mixer….and possibly my kitchen. i made the mistake of leaving him alone….overnight to rise. when i came back in the morning….he had risen so much….he was pouring over the large bowl i let him rise in. i don’t know what he was after…but he was on his way…good thing i woke up when i did!
deflate your dough and lightly kneed into a ball. lightly flour a clean work surface to roll out your dough to a 3/4″ thickness. cut out using a 3 1/2″ biscuit cutter. sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place dough cutouts on top. again, lightly sprinkle the top and let them rise till they have doubled in size.
um….monster dough was not having it. he did not want to be rolled out and as i began to cut the first muffins out, they would shrink to a funny oval looking shape and the dough around it would quickly retract! arg! silly monster dough! just accept that you will be made into english muffins and eaten! i had to get to a point where i could roll the dough out….wait…make sure it wasn’t trying to go anywhere….and then cut (when it least expected) i literally felt like i was beating this monster to it’s death. it was twice the size i expected…and it was super stubborn. i kept throwing it down, rolling it out, flipping it over….rolling it more….anything i could do to kill the beast!
so the recipe says you should get 14-16 muffins….um….i got 33? yep….that’s monster dough for you!
once the muffins have risen to double their size move to griddle. preheat to 275° and cook batches of muffins….again, don’t crowd them. they will cook for about 10 minutes on each side….but use your judgment on when to flip. once browned on both side…transfer to a cooling rack….split open, butter and enjoy!
ok…compare and contrast:
lazy dough: 10 muffins
monster dough: 33 muffins (however it was supposed to be 14-16)
lazy dough: no nooks and crannies
monster dough: nooks and crannies
lazy dough: more of a biscuit texture
monster dough: definite english muffin texture
lazy dough: my personal favorite….taste wise….very good
monster dough: still very good…especially toasted….but definitely more of an english muffin….also had a grainy flavor due to the whole wheat flour
another empty tupperware at the end of the day = success. you should be warned that making english muffins is quite the task….but if you know what you’re getting into and can plan accordingly….they are worth the effort.