These world-famous English muffins spread with butter and jam are the perfect start to a long day of wine tasting.
1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant (also called quick-rising or bread machine) yeast, divided use
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
6 tablespoons melted clarified butter (see Note), as needed
Instructions: At least 1 day before cooking the muffins, combine the bread flour, 3/4 teaspoon of the yeast and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl to make a sticky dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. The dough will rise slightly.
Combine the starter dough, 1 1/3 cups water, remaining yeast, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in 3 cups of the flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.
Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely cleans the mixer bowl. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. It should feel tacky but not stick to the work surface.
Shape the dough into a ball. Oil a medium bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil, leaving the dough smooth-side up. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into twelve equal pieces. Shape each into a 4-inch round. Sprinkle an even layer of cornmeal over a half-sheet pan. Place the rounds on the cornmeal about 1 inch apart. Turn the rounds to coat both sides with cornmeal. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the rounds have increased in volume by half and a finger pressed into a round leaves an impression for a few seconds before filling up, about 1 hour.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until melted and hot, but not smoking. In batches, and adding butter as needed, place the dough rounds in the skillet. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed so the muffins brown without scorching, adding more clarified butter as needed. The undersides should be nicely browned, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook until the other sides are browned and the muffins are puffed, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel-lined half-sheet pan and let cool for at least 20 minutes to complete the cooking.
Note: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted and boiling. Cook until the butter stops sputtering, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim the foam from the surface of the butter.
Line a wire sieve with dampened, wrung-out cheesecloth and place over a medium bowl. Carefully pour the clear, yellow melted butter through the sieve, leaving the milky residue behind in the saucepan. (Discard the residue.) Pour clarified butter into a small container and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 12 muffins
From “The Model Bakery Cookbook” by Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen
Source: Thanks https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/food/article/Recipe-The-Model-Bakery-s-English-Muffins-15495292.php