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Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

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holds99's picture
holds99

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

A few years back I was testing English muffin recipes on TFL.  After I posted a recipe I received a comment from Dan Lepard who provided a recipe for excellent English muffins.  The other day I decided to give the recipe another try.  The only thing I changed was a couple of stretch and folds at 20 minute intervals after the dough came out of the refrigerator, after reaching room temperature.  This is a really good recipe which produces a light, flavorful muffin, and it's easy to make.  They take about 7 minutes per side on a medium low grill or in a cast iron skillet.  Don't try to hurry them or the outside will be brown before the inside is done.  I used a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature.  These reached an internal temperture of 202-204 deg. F.  Incidentally, I quadrupled the recipe to make 4 times the amount of dough, which is the reason the dough amount in the first photo under the recipe is fairly large.

Edit: I also added 3 Tbs. ripe 100% sourdough starter to the dough mix.

Below is the recipe that Mr. Lepard published in the Guardian newspaper.

Howard

 

 

Cider vinegar English muffins

What the Americans call an English muffin we used to call, well, a muffin. But since those little cakes in paper cases have invaded the supermarket shelves and stolen the name, our own little plain bread muffin has become neglected in Britain. In the US, bakers have raised the quality of their English muffins to something close to perfection. Crisp on the outside, sour and holey inside, and chewy when toasted and slathered with butter. Make these and you'll see what we've been missing all these years. In this recipe, the dough gets mixed and lightly kneaded the night before and is left in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly. You can even leave it until the following evening if that works better for you.

Makes 8-10 muffins

50g unsalted butter

100ml warm water (by weight: approximately 4 oz. or 116 g.)

50ml cider vinegar [by weight: approximately 2 oz. Or 58g.]

100ml plain live yoghurt [slightly less than ½ cup]

1 large egg

1 level tsp salt

375g strong white flour

2 tsp easy-blend yeast [I used instant yeast and it worked fine]

Oil for the bowl

The night before, melt the butter in a saucepan [use stainless steel with the vinegar], then remove from the heat and beat in the warm water with the vinegar, yoghurt, egg and salt until smooth. Measure the flour and yeast into a bowl, tip [pour] in the butter and vinegar mixture and stir to a thick batter. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Lightly oil the work surface and knead the dough gently for 10-15 seconds (see Basic techniques). Scrape the bowl clean of scraps of dough, wipe the inside with a little oil, place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plate or cling film and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning (or evening), lightly oil a dinner tray and upturn the dough on to it. Stretch and fold the dough in by thirds (see Basic techniques), then cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1-2 hours until it warms and begins to rise again. [It takes a full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.]

Line a dinner tray with a tea towel and dredge the surface liberally with flour. Gently roll out the dough [on a work surface] about 1½ cm [approximately 5/8 inch] thick, trying not to knock too much of the gas from it. Cut the dough into discs using a 12cm-diameter [approximately 4 ¾ inches] cutter (yes, that large, as they'll pull inwards as they bake), or take a sharp knife and cut the dough into 6 rectangles or something close to that. Carefully lay the cut dough on the floured cloth. Dust the tops with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 1½-2 hours [they’ll take the full 2 hours at 75 deg. F.] or until doubled in height.

Get a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with a snug-fitting lid if possible. Place on a moderate heat until the surface is hot but not scorching.

Uncover the muffins and flip them one by one on to your hand with the cloth, then slide them into the pan. You should be able to fit 3 or 4 in at a time. Cover the pan with the lid to create a bit of steam to help them rise and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then check to see that they're not burning. If the bottom is a good brown, flip them over using a spatula. Cook on the other side for about 3-4 minutes. [I used an electric skillet with a lid, set at 340 deg. F. cooking them in a dry pan for 6 minutes on side 1 and 4 minutes on side 2 until they reached an internal temperature of 190 deg. F.] When done, remove to a wire rack, drape a tea towel over to keep them soft, and continue with the remaining muffins. Freeze in a zip-lock bag as soon as they're cold.

Comments

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Those look great. I've had my eye on that recipe for a while myself.

Great, open crumb considering how firm the dough "looks".

What did you do with the scraps? Re-roll/cut? What kind of can is that you are using for cutting. I can't seem to find anything much better than coffee/tomato cans(only 4").

ps: I noticed the recipe does not mention using corn meal(unless I missed it), but it looks like you did use it on the towel?

Thanks for the great post.

holds99's picture
holds99

That's semolina on the floured towels. I use semolina for all my baking.  The dough is very sticky, which require a liberal dustingof flour on your work surface and generously rub flour onto your wooden rolling pin.  I placed dish towels on large aluminum baking pans and dredged the dish towels with lots of flour, then dusted the floured towels generously with semolina.  Flouring and dusting the dish towels with semolina will keep the muffins from sticking to the cloth during final proofing.  Cover the muffins during final proofing. 

Also, be gentle with them when taking them off the floured towels after final proofing, because you want to preserve as much of the gas as possible.  Gently lay them onto the surface of the pan or griddle where they will bake.

The scraps I hand shaped into approximately the same size as the ones made using the cutter.  Actually, you could probably hand shape all of them.  Cutting them with a cutter gives them a more uniform shape and nice edges.  Incidentally, the cutter is a can that crab meat was packed in which I cut out the top and bottom, washed it thoroughly, and use each time I make muffins.  It's the perfect size and it works great.

Howard

varda's picture
varda

I still buy english muffins, so I'll have to try these.   I thought you needed rings to make them but I see you don't.   Thanks for the detailed write-up and photos.  -Varda

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks Varda.  You're welcome.

A few years back when I was trying various English muffins formulas and techniques; I must have tried a dozen different formulas, a couple of which were almost a wet batter, which were the ones that I used the metal rings on to keep them from spreading while they cooked.  I ordered metal rings and tried them, but put them away after Dan Lepard sent me this recipe.  It was unusual how we connected.  I had posted a photo of a plywood board that I had made to use for flipping baguettes.  My wife gave me a pair of pantyhose and I stretched the pantyhose over the board and secured them so that one surface of the board was smooth.  It works great for flipping baguettes from the couch onto the board, then onto the parchment lined baking pan.  The dough doesn't stick to the nylon.  Anyway Dan mentioned that he had seen the pantyhose covered board and liked the idea, at the same time he mentioned the muffin quest and sent me his recipe along with the explanation at the front of his recipe.  Serendipity.

I saw your Altamura bread post.  Good looking bread with lovely crumb.  Looks like your WFO is working just fine.

Howard

 

varda's picture
varda

I guess.   You work really hard and then the luck follows.   I've never flipped dough from the couch before.   That must be quite a sight to see it flying across the house.  -Varda

holds99's picture
holds99

Varda,

Re: "luck follows".  Seems everything is about---right place, right time or vice versa.  Incidentally, I learned that couch trick when I was a member of the circus group The Flying Punichellos.  In fact I still keep a couch in the kitchen, near the oven, for those muffins and baguettes. :-)

Howard

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Howard,
Thanks for posting this recipe. Your english muffins look perfect and as Varda noted, it's nice that you don't have to have a whole bunch of rings on hand to make these.
Thanks for the notes on how to cook them on the griddle, with the cover - what a lovely result!
:^) from breadsong

holds99's picture
holds99

I appreciate your kind words.  These are really good muffins.  One thing I forgot to mention is that I used Greek yogurt, which is very thick.  I also used 3 Tbs. of ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter in the dough mix.  The reason I quadrupled the size of the recipe was because I wanted to use all the Greek yogurt in the recipe and not have any left over, hanging around in the fridge.  Yeah, I know---tail wagging the dog.  :-)

Howard

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I love a good toasted english muffin for breakfast.  Your english muffins look great!  I like the foil pan cover.  Much better idea than what I do with my soda farls..my grandmother used to lay a towel over them on the grill and so I did the same.

Sylvia 

holds99's picture
holds99

Be sure to let them fully rise.  The recipe calls for 2 hours for final prood, and that's about the right amount of time.  I gently used the finger poke test.  As I mentioned previously the dough is very sticky, so use lots of flour.  I use the aluminum pan to create an oven effect on the grill, to keep the heat contained.  It works really well.  I started out making a tent out of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Then one day I was in the supermarket, saw the disposable aluminum roasting pans and, as Emeral says: "BAM!"  I reuse the same aluminum pan each time I make muffins, which is why it's a little dented.  Still works fine though.

Howard

Syd's picture
Syd

Great looking muffins, Howard.  Interesting that you cook them with a lid on.  That probably helps them to cook on the inside before they burn on the outside.  I will have to remember that for next time.   I also think the use of yoghurt and apple cider vinegar must make for a lovely flavour.

Syd

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for your kind words.  The lid is really important for getting the inside baked completely.  As mentioned previously, I used a digital thermometer inserted into the side of a muffin to check the internal temperature (202-204 deg. F).  I used Greek yogurt which is very thick and flavorful.  The cider vinegar gives them a really nice, distinct flavor.  Dan Lepard has a real winner with this recipe. 

Howard

lumos's picture
lumos

They look wonderful, Howard!  Thank you for sharing.

I've seen this recipe on Dan's website a while ago but never tried it because I wasn't sure about about inclusion of (quite a generous amount of) vinegar, on top of yogurt,  worried it might taste a bit too sharp, just like crumpets.  How's the taste like? Any hint of vinegar at all?  If you can assume me it won't taste like crumpets (though I like crumpets. I just don't want my muffins taste like them!) , I'll sure try this very soon. It looks much easier than my usual sourdough muffin.

btw....

2 tsp easy-blend yeast [I used instant yeast and it worked fine]

'easy-blend yeast' is the name some manufacturers in UK' s started calling ' instant yeast' in recent years, so they're basically a same thing with different names. Probably Dan used that name because it was an article on a newspaper, so he tried to make it easy for general public (unlike bread-geeks like us :p) to find it in a shop.

holds99's picture
holds99

Lumos,

My wife is my consultant and critic.  She also helps me take photos when my hands are messy with dough or whatever.  She's  always brutally frank with me about everything I bake---or cook.  That being said, she thinks Lepards recipe is the best she's ever tasted.  She also thought, for her taste, the vinegar was slightly pronouced and should be cut back a bit.  So, I cut the amount of vinegar in half, which gave them just a hint of vinegar.  You do get a nice, subtle flavor from the cider vinegar.  I don't mind the full amount but it's a matter of taste.  So, if you're sensitive to the sourness of vinegar and yogurt I would suggest you cut the vinegar amount in half.  It's like salt, you can add more (next time you bake them) but you can't take it away once it's in the recipe.

I'm with you on the instant yeast.  I used Fleishman's instant and it works just fine.  I like KAF yeast but Sams Club carries only Fleishmans which, as I said, works fine. 

Howard

lumos's picture
lumos

Thanks for the prompt reply and advice, Howard.

I'll probably try your 'please-the-wife' version first and see how it goes. I usually don't mind acidic taste. Rather I quite like it (my daughter always complain I put too much lemon juice/vinegar on salad...and everything else! :p), but I just want my muffin to be like muffin, not like crumpets. In my mind, crumpets are the round ones with lots of holes outside with hint of vinegar and muffins are the round ones with lots of holes inside without any acidic taste. It may be just my personal thing, but there you are. :p

Thanks again and Happy Baking...and best regards to your wonderful wife! :)

lumos

ETA: Just FYI, have you seen this recipe?

Dan Lepard's cornmeal/polenta English muffin

This is one of a few hundreds 'Want-to--bake-this-soon' recipes of mine.

 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Another question to Howard:

What brand/type flour did you use?

Thanks.

holds99's picture
holds99

I used King Arthur (KA) bread flour.  I use K.A. most of the time.  Sometimes I will go with Arrowhead Mill from the local health food store when I only need a small bag of specialty flour.  I had ordered what was supposed to be Bob's Red Mill cracked bulgur wheat from Amazon.  Well, it turned out the supplier was an Amazon supplier (Nutricity) who sent me eight 3 lb bags of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour.  I've been using it for whole wheat bread and mixed rye and whole wheat breads and it's really terrific.  It appears to be finely ground whole wheat flour that Bob's Red Mill calls pastry flour.  What I'm wondering is who makes all those whole wheat birthday cakes and cup cakes and whole wheat gateau au whatever... :-)

Howard

bnom's picture
bnom

I've only ever eaten English muffins toasted ---but I've only had store bought.  When they are freshly baked, are they even better than when toasted? 

I'm thinking this could be a good bread for those extended camping trips, although the smell could prove a little too inviting for bears . . .

holds99's picture
holds99

There's no comparison between these and Thomas brand.  These are light, flavorful and delicious.  They freeze very well.   Just take them out of the freezer and let them thaw out at room temperature.  Do not use a micorwave, it destroys the texture (of any bread).  I'm sure these would keep a couple of days for a camping trip in a cooler.  Just keep in mind they have yogurt (dairy) as an ingredient. 

Ranger Johnny at Ocala State Park says Florida black bears love these muffins.  Whoops!

Seriously, they're really quite good.

Howard

bnom's picture
bnom

but the grizzlies need to keep their paws off.   We had a huge male grizzly invite himself to dinner while we were camped in backcountry Yellowstone.  Take a look at the paws on him and you'll understand why: 

Let's just say I was glad to have a canoe to escape to because he was not at all deterred by our banging pots and pans!

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Those claws are enough to get me moving waaaay away, muy pronto.   Hope you were using a very long telephoto lens to get that shot.  Forget about taking the muffins along on your camping trip.  When we were in Alaska I heard some terrifying stories about grizzly bears and hikers/campers.   We watched a wildlife photographer using a huge telephoto lens on a tripod, shooting photos of a mother grizzly and her cub.  I noticed that he set his equipment up a long way from the bears and very close to his van.  Keep that canoe with paddles handy.

Howard

 

bnom's picture
bnom

I shot that pic with a little pocket Canon....the bear was about 30 yards away.  I don't know how much the canoes helped...we later saw him swim about a mile across the lake ... a very powerful swimmer! 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

with your tweaks and comments, Howard.

I once tried to make English Muffins from a Peter Reinhart recipe, with cornmeal dusting, and I disliked its grittiness. This recipe inspires me to give it another shot.

Happy baking,

Karin

holds99's picture
holds99

Yeah, I know the drill.  I made a dozen of so different recipe before this one.  Lepard has a winner here.  Use semolina on the floured towels.  Then just use a stiff brush to remove the excess semolina after they cool on the racks.

Your Hamburg Rye is still one of my very favorites.  It's also a winner.  I'll probably make it next week.

Best Regards,

Howard

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Well, I wanted to make a third attempt at crumpets, but cannot resist a Lepard recipe - I'm making these this weekend!

 

thanks!

holds99's picture
holds99

I've never made crumpets.  I'll have to look at a recipe and see how they're made.  You're right about Lepard.  He's a great baker and author.

Howard

Portier's picture
Portier

Howard, your muffins were great. I have devoured both of them today. Thanks!

Here is a pix of my Boar's Head Tavern Ham & Provolone taken for lunch today.

http://www.lotsaluck.com/Howard'sMuffinSm.JPG

The other muffin was dispatched with chicken and was not here long enough to photograph. No - not a hint of vinegar. It is wonderful having you as a neighbor - you raise the price of all the homes here. 

holds99's picture
holds99

I appreciate the kind words.  Sounds like the muffins were put to very good use.  Glad you enjoyed them.  See you soon.

Howard

bnom's picture
bnom

I just bit into my first English muffin -- what a revelation!  It has a definite that I really enjoy.  The texture is perfect.  I used a 4 3/4 inch cutout but found them a bit too big (and I got 6 from the recipe not 8 - 10).  Next time I'll use 4".   These would be great hamburger buns.

holds99's picture
holds99

A few years back I went on an English muffin quest and made a half dozen of so different recipes and I think this recipe from Dan Lepard is the best I've tasted.  I gave a couple to my neighbor and he toasted them and used them to make sandwiches and said they make great sandwiches.  For cutting the dough circles I use a crab meat can with the top and bottom removed to make a cutter.  I measured the crab meat can and its diameter is 4 inches.  You can see it in the photo where the dough is being cut out. 

Thanks for your feedback.

Happy baking,

Howard

rpt's picture
rpt

Can you explain why you have said 100ml warm water is 116g? 100ml water weighs 100g. Same for 50ml of cider weighing 58g.

Richard.

holds99's picture
holds99

Richard,

That's Dan Lepard's recipe that he gave me straight from the Manchester (England) newspaper.  Milliliters is volume measurement, while grams is weight measurement.  Just happens that 8 oz of water in volume is the same weight as 8 oz of water scaled---whatever that come to in grams.  It doesn't work that way for salt, flour, etc., for example. 

Howard

lumos's picture
lumos

If water is warmed, it expands in volume. So to be extremely precise, 100ml water is actually slightly lighter than 100g, if anything. (though in this particular case, it should be too far from 100g, as rpt rightly said)  The basis of metric system (1 cc/1ml water=1g) is based upon water at (around) 4 degrees C (when it's  thought to be the densest in liquid status) .....if my memory is correct. (could be a few degrees either way, but something around it)  It depends on how 'warm' the water is, but if the recipe says 100ml 'warm' water is heavier than 100g, it's not quite right. 

Sorry I hadn't noticed that part in the recipe earlier, because I was only watching the metric measurement parts.

As for the weight of vinegar, the recipe can be correct, because vinegar contains lots of  'things' other than H2O, so it is actually slightly heavier than pure water (if you pour some vinegar slowly into water, you'll see it flows to the lower part of water, so you'll know it's heavier) , though I've never checked how much heavier.