Anna’s recipe for crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside English muffins is bound to produce a tasty snack for everyone in your household.
The muffins can be enjoyed the day they are made, or they can be toasted the next day. To serve, use a fork to split the muffin in half before toasting.
Prepare the starter 12 to 24 hours ahead of making the dough. In a mixing bowl, stir the water, flour, yeast and honey together using a wooden spoon until blended (the mixture will be soft and stretchy). Cover (leave lots of space for the bubbles to grow) and leave on the counter to rise for a day. It will make more than you need for this recipe, but once the muffins are made, you can add more flour & water and keep the starter going – it will improve over time (and needs feeding every other day) and should be stored in the fridge after the first 2 days.
For the dough, place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and add the butter. Use a pastry cutter to work in the butter by hand, until pieces of butter are no longer visible.
Add the water, starter, yeast, salt and sugar and mix the dough on low speed until blended and continue to mix on low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out with a rolling pin (sprinkling with flour as needed) to just over ½-inch (12 mm) thick. Use a 3 ¼- 3 ½ -inch (8 – 8.5cm) round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Sprinkle a parchment-lined baking tray with cornmeal and place the muffins on the tray. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cornmeal, cover with a tea towel and let rest 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 ºF (200 ºC). Heat a griddle pan over medium high heat and grease lightly. Griddle the muffins (don’t overcrowd the pan – you may have to do this in batches) 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Once all the muffins are griddled, bake them for about 10 minutes, until browned a little further. Cool the muffins for at least 30 minutes before enjoying.