Whole Wheat English Muffins

If you’ve never made English Muffins before, you’re missing out.  This recipe is simple and the end product is worlds better than those you could purchase in the store.  We adapted this recipe from a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  The cornmeal we use to sprinkle the sheet tray is our Red Flint Floriani Polenta.

Whole Wheat English Muffins
Makes 6-8 muffins
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) Community Grains Hard Red Winter Wheat Whole Grain Flour
1/2 tbsp (.25 oz.) sugar
3/4 tsp (.19 oz.) salt
1 1/4 tsp (.14 oz.)  instant yeast
1 tbsp (.5 oz.) butter (at room temperature)
1 cup (8 oz.) milk (at room temperature)
Community Grains Floriani Red Flint Cornmeal/Polenta for sprinkling

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast until combined.  Add the butter and milk and mix until it forms a ball.  The dough should be workable and soft and not stiff.

Knead the dough:

Mixer Method – leave the dough in the mixer and change the paddle attachment out for the dough hook.  Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding more flour if needed.  The doughs should be tacky, but not sticky.

Hand Method – transfer dough to a floured surface.  Knead for 10 minutes
The dough should be warm and register between 77 and 81 degrees F.

Oil a large bowl, put the dough in and roll it around to coat the dough evenly with oil.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to ferment at room temperature (away from any drafts) for 1 – 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, mist lightly with oil and dust with the cornmeal (Floriani polenta). Using a damp cloth, wipe down the counter and turn out the dough. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces for larger muffins, or 8 equal pieces for medium sized muffins.  Once divided shape the pieces into boules.

Spacing at least 3 inches apart, transfer the boules to the sheet pan, spray lightly with oil, and sprinkle more cornmeal on top.  Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and allow to proof for another 1 to 1.5 hours or until the boules have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with oven rack in the middle, and put a sheet pan in the oven to warm up.
Heat a skillet or griddle to medium and lightly grease the pan.  After gently removing the plastic wrap from the baking sheet, very carefully transfer the boules, using a metal spatula, to the hot pan.  Fill the pan so that each muffin has 1 inch space all around.  Cook the muffins for 5-8 minutes on each side.  The goal is to develop a nice golden brown color and cook them without burning them.  Carefully flip the pieces over.  Once they have cooked on both sides, transfer them to the sheet tray in the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes.

Repeat this process until all muffins are cooked and baked, transferring baked muffins to a cooling rack.  The muffins are best if allowed to cool for 30 minutes.

Instead of using a knife to slice open the muffins, consider opening them by inserting the tines of a fork in around the edge until you’re able to separate the sides.  This allows for more nooks and crevices where butter can pool, one of the advantages of English Muffins!

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