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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

Dan Lepard has hit a home run with these English muffins.  They're what I imagine English muffins should be and, in my opinion, they're about as good as it gets.  Mr. Lepard posted a link to his recipe in The Guardian newspaper article, which I have inserted below the photo. 

I used an electric skillet to cook them.  No oil, just "dry-fry/bake".  Preheat the skillet, with the cover on to get it heated like a small oven, before placing the muffins into the skillet.  The lid goes on the skillet while they're cooking, which holds the heat nicely and allows them to steam a bit.  I followed his directions and they're very easy to make and, as I said, his recipe produces terrific muffins.  For those who like a nice sour bite, you'll really like these muffins.  The dough needs to be prepared the night before, as it has to stay in the regrigerator overnight. 

Mr. Lepard calls for 50 ml of cider vinegar in his recipe, which gives the muffins a nice crisp, slightly sour taste on the order of a sourdough.  For my taste the sourness was fine.  However, I think next time I will reduce the vinegar slightly to about 30 ml vinegar mixed with 20 ml water just to see the difference.   I took the liberty of adding/imbedding some conversion notes (without making any changes to the original recipe) i.e. ml to ounces and cm to inches, etc.  Hope it was alright to do that.  I [bracketed] my entries and italicized them so it would be clear as to what I added.  Mr. Lepard says they can be made either in rectangles or rounds.  I chose 4 inch rounds because that was the largest cutter I have.  Mr. Lepard calls for 12 cm diameters, which is close to 4 3/4 inches.  He make them large to compensate for shrinkage after cutting. As for the leftover dough, after cutting the rounds, I simply rolled it up, kneaded it a bit and rolled it out and made 2 more muffins, for a total of 9 muffins.   They're great toasted with the holes absorbing the butter and marmalade.

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

Dan Lepard's Cider Vinegar English Muffins

Cider vinegar 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.

Variation

Crispy bacon muffins

Add 250g smoked streaky bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped finely, in with the flour, then continue with the recipe above.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

those look awesome! Love the nooks and crannies! So Howard, what happened with the rings you ordered for proth5's muffins? I did try them this past weekend and the dough was way too slack to do without rings. I ended up making loaves. These are on my favorites list for this weekends bake. Thanks for sharing! Oh..what type of flour did you use?

holds99's picture
holds99

I ordered 2 boxes of 4 inch Genuine Certified English Muffin Rings.  The vendor claims these are the exact same rings used at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Family's English Muffins.  Well, they're sitting on the kitchen counter...still in the boxes.  I've been duped by Madison Ave. hucksters who sold me crumpet rings under the guise of English muffin rings (you can't make'm without these babies) sales pitch.  Right now I'm thinking these things may end up being molds for my new monster burger to be unveiled at the Florida Beef Producers' booth at Central Florida Food Expo. in December :-)

Oh yeah, the flour for the English Muffins was Gold Medal unbleached organic AP.  It works really well.  It's a little more expensive than King Arthur AP.  Around here KA AP is selling in the supermarket for $3.79 per 5 lb bag and Gold Medal unbleached organic is around $4.29 for 5 lb. bag at Walmart.  Yeah, hard to believe, but Walmart carries it, at least here in St. Augustine.

I'm stlll going to make Pat's (Proth's) muffins as soon as hurricane Fay clears out of here tomorrow.  We're expecting Fay to hit later tonight...around midnight  We're 60 miles south of Jacksonville on Anastasia Island near the ocean and Fay went out to sea down around Sebastian Inlet and is expected to return to land around midnight...HERE.  It's raining like crazy out there now.   

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Gen-u-wine English Muffin Rings from the Queen Mother's dowery..so sorry. I do have another question though..are crumpet rings shorter in height?

Since I have Stone-Buhr AP unbleached flour (milled in WA) I'll give that a whirl. Our Walmart has the best selection of flour, both brand and variety..compared to the local Safeway, which is like your Publix.

I didn't realize that Faye had changed course and come up the eastern side. We'll have you in our prayers tonight..hang tight. My Aunt lives in Melbourne and I'm thinking she is far enough south to miss the brunt of the storm.

 

holds99's picture
holds99

The muffin rings I ordered are made by NORPRO.  I ordered them on-line from AlwaysBrilliant.Com in Denver, Colorado.  KA offers 3 1/2 inch rings but I ordered these rings from AlwaysBrilliant because they were supposed (emphasis on "supposed") to be 4 inches in diameter .  I wanted the extra half inch rings because I read there's some shrinkage when they cool.  Anyway, AlwaysBrilliant.Com sent me 3 1/2 inch diameter rings.  The height is 7/8 inch, which I think is pretty much standard.  There are 4 rings in a box and since I have a large electric griddle I ordered 2 boxes at $6.99 per box.  The shipping for the 2 boxes was as much as a box of rings ($6.95).  The shipping cost is the same if you order from KA.  So, if you can find them locally at some place like Williams Sonoma you may be better off doing that.  Rose Levy suggests using tuna fish cans with both ends cut out and washed thorughly.  That's a lot of tuna salad sandwiches before you've got 4 cans and are ready to make crumpets.

Re: the storm.  The good news is Fay has slowed to a tropical storm.  The bad news is she's almost stalled over Daytona (50 miles south of us) and is dumping heavy rain on the area as she moves up the coast and inland.  Last time I heard she had slowed to 2 mph.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but Melbourne/Port St. Lucie area, where your aunt lives, got hit hardest with up to 22 inches of rain and some flooding. 

Let us know how you do with your crumpets.  I've got a call in to Buckingham Palace for their recipe :-)

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

The muffins look perfect! I'm going to try this recipe as soon as I can. It's fun making them I think and this one with the cider vinegar and yoghurt sounds like a good one to try. Great job.

 

weavershouse

holds99's picture
holds99

Appreciate your kind words.  I think you'll really like these.  As I said in the recipe post, if you want a little less sourness you can dilute the cider vinegar amount in Mr. Lepard's recipe to half vinegar and half water (25 ml water, 25 ml cider vinegar for a total of 50 ml.) 

Charlene checked the Thomas English muffin package when we were in the supermarket yesterday and they list vinegar as one of the indegredients in their mix.

Good hearing from you.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Howard,

I have been into english muffins lately and even ordered the tin rounds for making them...I did a sourdough recipe that you poured into the muffin rings and they came out pretty nice with holes and  baked on my grill they lifted easily out of the rings with help of my tongs.  Your muffins look wonderful and I will definately give them a try.

 I Can't wait to try these nice looking English Muffins.   Thank You, Sylvia

holds99's picture
holds99

If you make them don't overwork the dough.  Just follow the recipe closely and they'll turn out fine.  Also, don't overheat your griddle when you start out.  You can turn the heat up if they aren't browning fast enough but don't overheat and run the risk of burning them before they've reached an internal temp. of between 190-200 deg. F.  I used a digital thermometer inserted into the side of one of the muffins to check.  Actually, I let it reach an internal temp. of 210 deg F.

Good luck with your baking adventures.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And plan to fry tomorrow.  We will see how this Ap flour works out.  Started out a little dry because I forgot to add water for the missing vinegar.   Blueberry jam awaits.

Picked up a kilo of "potato flour" (those two words being the only English on the package), not startch not flakes.  I will play with it.  I have no idea what will come out of it.  Will post in my blog later.  

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Howard,

Looks great! You got some wonderful holes. I'll try those next week. But I don't have rings. I'll make MINI ones.

Thanks for the research. I'll go look for Pat's recipe, too.

Jane 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane,

You just need a cutter to cut the dough into round disks once it's rolled out.  I used a 4 inch diameter (round biscuit type) cutter.  You could actually use a tuna fish can with both ends cut out, and washed thoroughly, as a cutter.  These are very light dough muffins. 

With the batter type crumpets you need rings to keep the batter from spreading as you cook them on a griddle or in a frying pan.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are needed, those are for crumpets.  Howard will set me straight if I'm wrong.  When the dough is runny, then the rings are a must.  I made some once using tuna fish cans, cutting out tops & bottoms, but now the cans have pressed bottoms and can't be made into rings.  (Drat) I do have a tiny spring form which can be used. (toy box)

With this recipe, it's only a matter of cutting them out of the dough.  I like to use a big coffee mug with a thin edge to cut them out.  I do have a few dino cutters that might be interesting...

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

OK, so if I understand well, most english muffin recipes use the rings just to cut out the dough. OK, then you're right, tuna cans are the right size. I just have to find some. Thanks for the idea.

Jane 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of little helpers, you might want to start looking in the toy box for anything that could cut the right size, granted, there are not too many things in there that are sharp, better so.  This is an opportunity for the oldest to help you, since cutting them out is easy using plenty of flour and a little twisting action.  Just a thought.  The idea that toys tranferring into real life can be an eye opening experience for a young imagination.  

I have a great big collection container of cookie cutters, some of them are dinosaurs, and the big round triceratops would be an interesting shape.  So would the sunflower and heart shapes. 

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Sounds good. Yes, I have a million helpers here, who these days have been crying to help me with the 75% hydration doughs. That's very ugly on little hands. But English muffins dough is a go. I can do a variety of shapes, hearts, bells... but hey, no dinosaurs!!!

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

As Dougal explained it, crumpets are made with batter and English muffins with dough.  At least that's my understanding of how it goes.  I have some round dough cutters (coupe pate) in various diameters, from school (long ago) that I used to cut the rounds.

Dont' know what dino cutters are but they sound good to me.  Actually, anything that cuts through the dough cleanly will work. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH

I have heard that the tuna cans do not work because the underside is rounded and the can opener won't remove it.... pineapple cans..the short ones...work great and make a good size ring mold for pouring and cutting.

Sylvia

proth5's picture
proth5

Howard - stay safe in that "tropical storm."  I am currently in the Ark - La - Tex facing flight cancellations and weather delays - so I can only imagine your experience.

But my biggest worry is my poor, poor, levain - it will be getting so hungry  :>)

Great looking muffins!  I wish that my baking schedule would let me do an overnight refrigerated rise.  It seems to do so much good for so many things. 

Pat

holds99's picture
holds99

Your travel situtation doesn't sound like much fun.  Inform the airline that you have a hungry child waiting for you at your destination and need to get home soooon.  Drop some hints about upgrading you to 1st class at no charge, etc. :-) 

I have your levain-build for the English muffins in the fridge as I write this.  I am doubling the recipe to get a dozen muffins.  Tomorrow morning I'll break out the muffin rings for their maiden voyage and make your muffins from the recipe you posted.  Your recipe looks like a winner.  I'll let you know how it goes. 

Good hearing from you.  Hang in there and get back to your levain asap.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

proth5's picture
proth5

you would abandon this lovely recipe for my old raggedy formula.  I don't use a lot of enrichment in most of my breads - so I'm sure they will have a very different character.

I would use the same technique to bake them.  I use a griddle, so I don't have a cover, but I've been thinking that a cover would improve the process.

I've done my formula both as given and with the addition of a small amount of water and baking soda (per the crumpet recipe) at the end (plus a 30 minute recovery period).  Since my bake schedule is a little skewed this weekend - I might not get a chance to try it again with baking soda and you might consider trying it on part of your batch.  Just a thought.

Free first class upgrades - you funny...

Stay Safe

Pat

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to the dough as opposed to just salt. Worth the try. My dough is still in the fridge. Waiting for me. My kitchen here in SKorea is so small I have to wait till I wash my coffee mug to make room to roll out the dough. Rolling pin: a mighty fine Shiraz from Australia. Maybe I wait 'till the afternoon so my pin is not too heavy. That was "lightly roll out" right?

Hey, I got one of those free upgrades, but my eco seat was a double booking. It is true, the champaign and caviar do taste better in business class! Just kidding.... not. Had a great flight to Seoul! Took me half the flight to figure out what all the buttons do on the remote and no one there to slap my fingers!

Mini O  (Aug 22)

Aug 23:  Finally got to frying my dough on the lowest gas setting.  Made a tiny aluinum foil dish (holds about 2 tablespoons water) to sit in the middle of the pan for steam ..works great.  I know it wasn't mentioned in your recipe but I find the muffins look more even on both sides if the proofed muffin goes into the pan top side down.  That gives the bottoms a chance to fluff up a bit.  Do you find that so?   They are very delicious also with 2 day old dough.  The dough was firm so the wine is still waiting, I needed the extra weight.

Thanks again, Mini 

granniero's picture
granniero

I have been wanting to try english muffins and think now is the time. I have thick buttermilk in refrigerator but not yogurt. What do you think of this sub? Your muffins look grand, can't wait to try.   I am a few miles west of Jax and we are getting the rain now. The frogs sound like they are loving it!

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for your kind words.  I don't see why buttermilk wouldn't work.  The yogurt I used was Cabot Vermont extra rich, all natural Greek Style plain yogurt with 10% milk fat.  This yogurt is very thick, almost the thickness of sour cream.  If you're substituting buttermilk I would suggest using maybe 2/3 to 3/4 the amount buttermilk because it's going to be wetter than the yogurt, unless your buttermilk is as thick as sour cream.

I would also suggest diluting the vinegar with half water (25 ml water mixed with 25 ml cider vinegar) or use half the vinegar called for in the recipe and use the full amount of buttermilk in place of the yogurt.  You want a tacky dough, not dry.  So don't be tempted to add more flour than Mr. Lepard calls for and be sure not to overmix your dough. 

Give the buttermilk a try and let us know how it works out.

Good luck. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Marni's picture
Marni

Those muffins look great!  I keep saying I'm going to make english muffins, -- got to do it.  Toasted, butter and jam... mmmm.  Thanks for the inspiration. 

I hope the storm wasn't too bad and that all is well in Florida.

Marni

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

and they are not very pretty, hence no pix.  I will have another go at these next weekend. First of all the dough is fairly slack. I did not want to add any flour because I wanted those nooks and crannies! Howard..did you find this to be true for your batch?

I won't roll them out quite as thin as 1.5 cm. They are not as thick as I would like.

I didn't have a linen towel to flour, so I used parchment paper with semolina sprinkled over it. I should have used lots of semolina because I had a heck of a time getting the rounds off the paper.

I used a Le Creuset skillet that has a teflon like coating. We inherited the stove when we bought this house. The burners are different in that they look like metal plates. I'm not crazy about them because its hard to regulate the heat. The 2nd batch came out a little scorched, so next time I'll know how to set the temp.

Patrick, my husband, snatched one up and taste tested it without toasting! He said it tastes great and was quick to point out it has nice crumb..he knows the lingo!

Betty

PS.. No patience..I had to slice one open and the nooks and crannies are there!! I'm totally excited and can't wait to try them out again!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

holds99's picture
holds99

Betty,

Don't get discouraged.  These may require some fiddling with the dough and heat but in the end I think you'll be glad you perservered.

Yes, the dough is slack and sticky.  I had to use a light dusting of flour on the work surface and on the rolling pin (a few times) as I rolled the dough out.  Don't worry too much about using some flour on the work surface and rolling pin and also lift, move and turn the dough after a couple of rolls.  You can even flip the dough over and roll the other side.  Just try not to get it too thin.  Move it around and dust both counter and pin with flour.  Otherwise it will stick to the counter and rolling pin.  Also, don't worry about getting it into a square or rectangle just concentrate on getting the right thickness over the entire dough area.  When cutting out the rounds, move your cutter around taking advantage of the largest areas of dough remaining, after each cut, in order to optimize the number of rounds you get. 

As for the scraps of leftover dough, I simply gathered them up, kneaded them back into a ball.  Let them rest for a few minutes until the gluten relaxed a little, then rolled it into a ball (like you would do for shaping a roll) then using the rolling pin I rolled it out to the same thickness as the original dough and cut 2 more muffins.  The last muffin will be mostly a hand shaped one. 

You'll definitely need a heavily floured dish towel or piece of cloth in a baking pan, to lay them on for proofing.  Otherwise they're going to stick to whatever you use.  I was reluctant at first to use a heavily floured cloth but decided to go with Mr. Lepard's directions and was glad I did, because I had to gingerly roll them off the floured cloth and into my hand because they wanted to cling to the cloth, despite using a heavy sprinkling of flour and rubbing it into the cloth.

I have a Le Crueset skillet but I have the same problem with mine that you mentioned.  If you have either an electric frying pan with a lid or, failing that, have an electric griddle, those are the appliances that do the best job set at around 290-300 deg. F.  If you're using the skillet try checking the heat on the cook surface with your digital thermometer, if you have one.  As you are aware, the Le Crueset needs low temperature to keep it from overheating.  Medium heat in the Le Crueset will be too hot and they will scorch before the centers get sufficiently done.  So, if you have to use the Le Crueset keep it on low or med/low.  I know you're a good baker and cook but my experience with Le Crueset is that the heat they produce is, in a sense, like salt.  You can always add more but can't take it away after it's been added, especially to something like these muffins.  As I said, if you can use an electric skillet with lid, that's ideal and it's what Mr. Lepard calls for.

Hope this helps.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

One final thought.  Roll the dough straight from the refrigerator and cut the rounds while the dough is cold and firm.  Don't let it sit around and soften or it will become unworkable.  I dusted my work surface and rolling pin with flour, took the dough out of the refrigerator, emptied the container of dough onto the floured work surface and used my floured hands to gently press-shape the dough into a rough square.  Then I rolled the dough out with a floured rolling pin, turning the dough a quarter turn at a time and dusting the work surface and rolling pin, as necessary, to keep any dough from sticking to the rolling pin or work surface, until it was the correct uniform thickness.  Mr. Lepard says to be careful not to lose too much of the air in the dough, but I don't see how that is possible if you're going to get the the mass of dough pressed and rolled to the thickness needed.

They take a couple of hours, on the floured cloth, covered, for final proof. Also lightly dust the tops with flour for final proofing.  Rub some flour on the palms of your hands when you're ready to remove them from the cloth after final proofing.  That way they're less likely to stick to your hand when you flip them off the cloth into your hand to be placed into the pan or onto the griddle cooking surface.

What time is breakfast? :>) 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I'll put them to use this coming weekend. Rolling the dough out right from the refrigerator will really make life easier. I don't have an electric skillet, so I'll have to lower the temp and perhaps finish them off by baking in the oven. Can you make it for brunch ?

holds99's picture
holds99

Hope everything works out ok with the recipe.

Howard

holds99's picture
holds99

I should have posted the English Muffin Wrap-Up on this thread but instead I posted it seperately.  Here's a link to the "Wrap-Up" thread.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/8460/english-muffin-wrapup#comment-43210

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

moto748's picture
moto748

Am I missing something here? The mixture is described as a "thick batter". Then a ten-minute wait magically turns it into a "dough". To me, a batter can't be kneaded. Is the flour added in two stages?