English Muffins

If you've eaten the crud that comes in plastic bags from the supermarket, these will shock and awe you.

You'll need:

Frying pan(s), rolling pin, cookie cutter (I use a steel canning band from a mason jar). I find that it's best to have multiple frying pans ready to go, simply because I am impatient and get bored of waiting for muffins to cook, so I cook them all in one pass. You'll need 2 baking sheets, and a big mixing bowl:

Mix sugar in warm water, add yeast. Let it sit until the yeast begins to foam a little bit.

Once yeast is foaming, add the water/yeast mixture to the buttermilk and stir it in. Then add the flour and stir it into a dough. The dough should not be too dry, nor should it be very wet; you may need to add flour as you're kneading it to get a proper consistency. Unfortunately for you, it's very hard to describe dough! Anyhow - knead it until it's slick and pliable. Put a few drops of oil in a large bowl and dump the dough in, then roll it around to coat it with the oil (so it won't dry while rising). Usually I put a moist towel over the top of the bowl or store the bowl in my oven to keep it out of the way while it's rising. Do not turn the oven on, if you store your dough there.

Let the dough rise for a couple hours until it's about doubled in size. The time this takes will be a function of temperature.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead out the bubbles (it will shrink back down again) and let it sit for 5 minutes to relax the gluten. Then roll it out with a flour-dusted rolling pin until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Sometimes, I go 3/4" thick because I'm wild at heart. Use a cookie cutter to cut out discs from the dough and place the disks on a baking sheet that is dusted with corn meal. Re-roll the dough as necessary and keep cutting discs until you're out of dough. Let them sit about 1/2 hour; they will plump up a bit.

Heat your frying pans to a very low temperate; I use the lowest setting on my burners and then turn it up a bit from there. Wipe the surface of the pans with a paper towel and some butter - the objective here is to make a no-stick surface not to impart butter flavor to the muffins.

Cook the muffins 10 minutes then flip them over. They should be slightly golden brown on the cooked side. If not, turn the heat up a bit and give the other side 10 minutes. Once you have the heat right, give each side about 10 minutes - muffins cook slowly so you have plenty of time to judge by eyeball.

If you allow the muffins to cool but not dry out, you can freeze them and they'll hold up fairly well! I just stick them in a zip-loc bag and toss them in the freezer. Thaw with 20 seconds in a microwave then cut and toast!!!