More English Muffins

August 23, 2010

I spent the weekend with old friend in Saratoga in upstate New York. Having loved the book Last of the Mohicans, the nearby towns are straight from the book: Lake George, Fort William-Henry, Fort Edwards, Glenn Falls. But having read the book in early adulthood, I imagined the savagery of the frontier wilderness of the 1750’s. Today, it is mostly corn and dairy farms. We played tennis, just 10 miles from where Hawkeye jumped into the falls to escape the pursuing Magua.

I baked two kinds of English Muffins for my friends; buttermilk English muffins, and also wheat-honey-raisin muffins. I modified the Buttermilk recipe to use a starter (same starter as the Focaccia), which was a winning idea.  The starter gave much more tang and interesting flavors. (first time I made English Muffins last week)

A choice of English muffins in the morning.

The wheat-honey-raisin English muffins did not use a starter (as they were sweeter). I used a combination of wheat-and-all-purpose flour, a technique Chris Kimball recommends to avoid “hockey puck syndrome”. Also the wheat version uses water instead of buttermilk. I added the raisins just before kneading. Otherwise I made them side-by-side in two separate bowls, each following the same general steps.

Personally, I though the Buttermilk with butter was the winner. But my kids were also insistent that the honey-raisin with homemade grape jelly was the winner. I stored the left over muffins in a zip-lock bag which we ate on Sunday morning, and their was no loss of freshness.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $1.50, for 19 muffins.
How much work? Small/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Small/Medium.
Start at: 6:00 AM. Ready at: 9:00 AM.

1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/6 cup (1 1/3 ounces) 105-degree water
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast


2 1/4 cups flour (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Cornmeal for sprinkling

Wheat and Raisin:
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (6-1/4 ounces)
1 cups whole wheat flour (5 ounces)
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup warm water (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tbsp honey
1 package or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup raisins
Cornmeal for sprinkling

  • Mix together ingredients for starter. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours.
  • The next day, measure flour(s) and salt into large bowl with the starter.
  • Turn on oven, and then turn it off immediately once it reaches 200-degrees.
  • If substituting clabbered milk for buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat buttermilk and butter in microwave for 55 seconds until reaches between 100 and 110 degrees. Whisk in sugar (or honey), and dry yeast. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Slowly add milk/yeast mixture to flour, mix with a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains.
  • Flour counter and knead by hand for 1 minute. Wash bowl and spray with vegetable spray.
  • Put dough into prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm (turned off) oven for 1 hour.
  • Gently scrape out onto a floured surface, without punching down. Shape or roll to about 1/2-to-3/4 -inch thick.
  • Using a 3-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to form rounds. (I used large overturned plastic cup, also tin can)
  • Spread cornmeal over wax or parchment paper. Place the circles of dough onto the cornmeal.
  • Dust tops liberally with cornmeal. Top with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour.
  • Preheat a dry griddle or large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully use a spatula to place a few rounds onto the skillet. Brown each side for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Let cool for 20 minutes on wire rack. Split using a fork (never a knife).
  • Toast before serving.
  • Preparation time is 3 hours.

%d bloggers like this: