english muffins

I had high hope about 2008. See, a little more than a week ago, things couldn’t have been more perfect. Indeed, potatoes were finally to be celebrated through the immensely important international year of potato; which, needless to say, kept me in a state of ecstasy.
That, until my laptop crashed, leaving thousand of pictures and a miserable me behind. Days passed by and when I eventually felt brave enough to start eating again, I found them, sitting in a little basket. They sure had some shoots pointing through, but still looked quite perfect to me. The glorious potatoes.

english muffins

Not that you care, but last night, I had mashed potatoes with a spoonful of confit d’oignons stirred in and a fried egg on top of an English muffin. And it was good. The mashed potatoes were soft and creamy; just what you would expect from something after which a year was named. The confit d’oignons brought a nice contrast – both taste and texture wise. The fried egg was cooked to perfection: the oozing yolk sat on top of the white that had crispy golden-brown edges. And there, almost hidden underneath and totally unpretentiously, laid the apple cider vinegar English muffin.
I hear you coming though. Oh yes, I do. What’s so special about that English muffin? Show me the potatoes, you teaser.

english muffins

And well, I might, in the future, but those little fluffy breads, the ones you see above and below and, ahem, all over foodbeam right now, they’re out of this world. The taste is fantastic, so is the texture. Yeah, I bit into one. Just to check you know. But then I kept biting and just when I though it couldn’t get any better I found that gorgeous pocket of air.

english muffins

As you might have guessed, Dan Lepard is the guy behind all this. And as usual, he clearly rocked it.

Apple cider vinegar English muffins
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s The Guardian ‘s guide to baking

I’ve always been a big English muffins buyer as nothing quite appeals to me as much on Sunday mornings as a toasted English muffin does. However, since I’ve discovered how to make these at home, I’ve never looked back.
The dough relies on both apple cider vinegar and live yogurt as souring agents. Thus, the finished muffins have a pleasing sour flavour.

english-muffins-dough.jpg

The dough, although pretty soft, was fun to work with and felt really smooth after a couple of kneads and folds.
As with most Dan’s recipes, you are required to knead the dough very gently three times at 10-minute intervals, and to fold twice it during the proofing time (at 40-minute interval). If you have no idea of what I’m talking about you can go and check there, as the process I used for making foccacia is sensibly similar.

Apple cider vinegar English muffins

makes 12

The night before
50g unsalted butter, melted
100g warm water
50g apple cider vinegar
100g live yogurt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp salt

Melt the butter then mix in the other ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Add:
375g flour
2tsp easy-blend yeast

Mix well then allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then start kneading Dan’s way – three times at 10-minute intervals (use some oil to prevent the dough from sticking to both the work surface and your hands). Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning
Oil your work surface and turn the dough onto it. Do the regular stretching and folding at 40-minute intervals for 2 hours. Roll the dough 1,5cm thick and cut out discs using a 8cm cutter. Lay the discs onto a floured surface, dust the tops with flour and allow to proof for at least 2 hours.
Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan onto moderate heat then slide the muffins into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes then flip over and cook for a further 4 minutes. Then turn off the heat, flip the muffins and leave them in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and get on with the remaining discs of dough.