Purists insist that you should never slice open an English Muffin to toast it. Instead cut a sliver in the side and toast it whole. When done, poke butter in through the slit and savor the muffin with your morning cup of tea.
¼ Cup Warm Water (110° F)
Pinch of Sugar
1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ Cups Warm Milk (110° F)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Bits & Softened
1 Tablespoon Honey
5 ¼ Cups Unbleached Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoons Salt
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let stand until the yeast dissolves and becomes foamy (for about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, butter a large bowl. With an electric mixer combine the milk, butter and honey. Combine until the butter is almost melted. Stir in 2 ½ cups flour and the yeats mixture. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes or until well combined. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place, away from drafts, until it is doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Butter a 4 quart mixing bowl and set aside. Stir the salt into the dough. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour so the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – about 8 to 10 minutes – adding enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, turning it once to coat the top of the dough with butter.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place, away from drafts, until it is doubled in volume (about 45 minutes). Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Sprinkle a bread board generously with the cornmeal. Place half of the dough on a board and sprinkle more cornmeal over the top of the dough. Gently roll the dough out into a ½ inch thick round. Cut out the English muffins with a floured 3 inch biscuit cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Arrange the dough rounds 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Knead, reroll, and cut the dough scraps once. Cover the muffins with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place, away from drafts, until they are doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Heat a lightly oiled nonstick griddle or skillet over medium high heat. Lift some of the dough rounds with a spatula onto the griddle. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, and then reduce heat to medium and cook, turning every few minutes, for about 13 to 18 minutes, until done in the center. Cool muffins on wire racks while you cook the remaining muffins. Serve with butter, jam or honey. Makes 10 to 12 muffins