Made my first batch of English Muffins this morning. Turned out better than anticipated.
Very nice! Tell us about your recipe, what you did, etc.
Thanks for the comment, mdvpc.
It was pretty easy, actually. I simply followed the KA recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-english-muffins-recipe I halved the recipe, which made a baker's dozen. Used a coffee mug to cut them out.
Cooked them on a cast iron griddle. The griddle was rather small, so I could only do four at a time. I put a cake pan on top with a beer mug in it to keep them flat while cooking the first side. It's important that the griddle not be too hot so they have time to cook all the way through before browning.
The recipe calls for AP flour, but next time I'll use BF to make them a bit chewier.
Finally, I deviated a bit by retarding for two days.
Cook the first side for five minutes before flattening with the cake pan.
Thanks for giving us this information. I am going to try them.
. . . know how they turn out.
I've done these a few times now, they always turn out quite ok and seem to be quite forgiving. The problem I always have though, regardless of which recipe I use (I've tried this KA one too), is that the dough is incredibly sticky. It makes it really hard to cut a neat circle of dough and put it on the tray to rest, and I end up with very irregular shapes. How did you deal with this?
One way is to have a small bowl filled with all purpose flour right beside the cutting board. Dip the cutter all the way into the flour so as to coat both sides, up to the top of the cutter. Cut & slightly twist the cutter into the dough to make sure the cut is neat. Then back to the bowl of flour for another cut. If the dough is not that sticky, this should work. Now it remains to lift the round to put it on the tray. That is the fun part, usually done talking to the dough asking it not to let me down, at the same time praying a little that my wish for a perfect round be granted, and gingerly doing the best I can.
Thanks for the tip about dipping the cutter into flour, I actually haven't tried that and I do remember getting my cutter full of sticky dough every time! You've also described exactly how I feel when I'm trying to lift the round, "please be nice and round!".
Timdbro, it sounds like your dough may be underworked, or perhaps you need to add a bit more flour as you are kneading. Step 2 in the KA recipe says:
"2) Mix and knead — by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine — to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary."
I don't recall having to add flour, but I don't remember for sure. Work your dough until the gluten is fully developed. I used the slap and fold technique. If it is still too sticky after that, then add a wee bit more flour.
Yeah, it's almost certainly not as developed as it could be — I usually end up doing about 20 minutes of slap and fold, but as I'm still not very adept at it, it probably isn't as glutinous as it should. I can certainly see the dough change and become smoother and more elastic though, which is why the stickiness annoys me!
Next time I might try adding some flour until it's a bit easier — I don't know if bringing the hydration level down will change the outcome much, it'll be interesting to find out!