muffin of the month, april 2017: cinnamon raisin english muffins

previous monthly muffins

2/17, glazed lemon poppyseed muffins || 12/16, chocolate peppermint muffins || 9/16, whole wheat english muffins || 7/16, english muffins || 2/16, vegan ginger muffins

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Herbert’s first birthday was already three weeks ago, but the celebration never stops with him. He’s a little party starter.

My farmor (paternal grandma) used to send us massive boxes full of english muffins, in about a dozen different flavors. There were so many of them, we have to keep the muffins in the freezer. Regardless, they never lasted long (they were damn good, and also my dad eats a lot of english muffins.)

We would have the traditional unflavored variety, whole wheat muffins, and the popular cinnamon raisin, but there were also jalapeño muffins, herb muffins, and other fruit flavors. When I started making my own english muffins a year ago, I wanted to be able to compete with the ones we used to have (I’m still lagging in second place, I think), and work through all the flavors I could remember.

 

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To be honest, though, I can only remember four, so after I’ve mastered jalapeño english muffins, I’ll just have to start making up my own flavor combinations (anchovy asparagus muffins, perhaps?)

 

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The recipe here is adapted from my other two recipes and it turns out best with plenty of milk and butter in the dough. More fat means a softer muffin, but like any bread, they’re still amazing without the fat and without the dairy. I always err on the side of not enough flour, because too much flour makes the muffins dense like bricks.

 

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cinnamon raisin english muffins

adapted from my whole wheat english muffins

makes 12 medium-sized muffins

*vegan substitutions included

 

200 g sourdough starter**

150 g buttermilk, yogurt, or water

110 g water

90 g whole wheat flour

350 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping the dough

dash of salt

40 g dark brown sugar

56 g oil or melted butter (2 oz/4 Tbsp)

2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 c raisins

vegetable oil or butter for frying

cornmeal for dusting

 

**If you’d rather use active baker’s yeast, then substitute 7 g of yeast, 100 g all-purpose flour, and 100 g water.

 

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine starter, buttermilk, water, flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and oil/melted butter.

Using a dough hook, wooden spoon, or your hands, beat/knead the dough until it forms a slightly sticky, cohesive mass, about 5 minutes.

Lightly grease another large bowl, and transfer the dough, flipping it over once to oil the entire surface.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof/rise until doubled, at least 6 hours (2 if using baker’s yeast.) You can let the dough rise in a warm oven (100 F/ C), on the counter at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. If using sourdough starter, the proofing will take a lot longer than if you’re using baker’s yeast.

When in doubt, let it double. The size is really the indication that it’s ready.

When the dough is done proofing, turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface (the countertop, a pastry board, or a bread cloth, for example.) Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, using a scale for consistency, if desired, and roll each portion into a ball.

Dust a baking sheet liberally with cornmeal and arrange the dough on top, leaving an inch or so between each piece. Gently press down on each muffin with the palm of your hand to flatten it into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let proof/rise another half an hour, until puffy.

While the muffins are proofing again, preheat the oven to 350 F/ C.

When the muffins are ready, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, and add about 1-2 Tbsp of oil/butter. Once the pan and oil are hot, sear/brown the muffins on each side, working in batches and leaving space between the muffins on the stove. Let the muffins brown for about 3 – 5 minutes on each side, and rearrange on the cookie sheet.

Dust the muffins one more time with cornmeal, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until puffed up and plump.

Let the muffins cool on a wire rack, then store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic. Muffins last about a week stored correctly.

 

Chop, chop, y’all!

Nick P.

Categories: alternative diet, Breads, muffins, Vegan