English Muffins

Once I realized that English Muffins were made on a griddle, and not in the oven, I knew I wanted to serve them. This was the most elusive recipe I had to master for The Go-Go Grill. The experimenting began at Bar Corvo, where we ate English Muffins for family meal. It was hard to nail down the English Muffin because recipes online vary so much from one to another. Some call for powdered milk, some call for buttermilk, others just water. Some suggest you make a batter that you pour into rings on the griddle. After sifting through many recipes, a recipe from the Culinary Institute of America proved to be the best. As it turns out, it is the simplest one. The only difference with theirs and the recipe below is that I use slightly more flour, and more salt. The video that CIA made was tremendously useful to me, maybe it will help you, too. Here it is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdwCJQ_RAP8

2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour (¼ cup for dusting)
1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
Oil For Grilling
Cornmeal for Dusting

Proof Yeast – Combine yeast with water that is warm to the touch, but does not burn you (110º Fahrenheit, ideally). Add sugar, and leave covered in a warm place for 10 minutes. Check mixture for bubbles. If the room where you are working is quiet, you can put your ear close to the bowl, to hear the little bubbles cracking. If you can neither see nor hear bubbles, something’s wrong. Your yeast may be inactive or the mixture may not be warm enough. Start over with new yeast.

Mix Dough – Add 2 ¼ cups of flour to the yeast mixture and stir. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to incorporate all of flour into your dough. Add 1 tablespoon of Salt. Continue to stir for about 3-5 minutes once the mixture is consistent. Stop working the dough once it becomes elastic – develop the glutens !

Rest Dough – Leave the dough covered in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has double in size.

Shape Dough – Dust a cookie sheet with a thin layer of cornmeal and 1 tablespoon of salt. Flour your work surface and flour your hands. Keep a bowl of flour close by for future dusting. To remove the dough from the bowl onto your work surface, reach in with your flour-covered hand and peel the dough from the sides of the bowl. Continue dipping your hand into flour while you do this so you’re not covered in dough. Once the dough is out, sprinkle flour onto it and shape it into a log. Now, for hamburger size buns, you will want to divide the dough into 5 or 6. If you’re using the muffins for poached eggs, you might want them to be smaller, so divide into 8 or 10. Roll the pieces of dough gently between two floured hands until they become round, and place them on the cookie sheet with cornmeal. Dust more corn meal over the tops of the muffins. At this point the muffins can rise again, for 30 minutes – 1 hour. The second rise will yield airier, lighter muffins. Or, you can begin cooking immediately.

Cook the Muffins – Heat skillets (cast-iron is best) or a griddle on a medium flame. Add a few drops of oil. Gently transfer the muffins from the cookie sheet to the heat – you can use your hands or a spatula.