On this episode of “Plateworthy,” chef Nyesha Arrington makes English muffins from scratch. While the ingredient list is pretty short, the techniques involved in order to achieve the main goal — a muffin with perfect pockets of nooks and crannies — requires some patience and finesse.
First, she blooms yeast in warm milk. Then she mixes it with AP flour, and kosher salt. “The dough should look kind of shaggy, you want this sort of shaggy style dough,” Arrington explains, “because that’s ultimately what will give us the best nooks and crannies.” She kneads the dough for eight to 10 minutes, pulling the dough away from her as she goes, which will help with, you guessed it, creating those pockets. She then lets the dough rest for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
After the dough has rested, she cuts it up into equal portions, folds the dough in on itself, and rolls it into a ball. She coats the outside with a mixture of semolina and cornmeal to add crunch and a non-stick coating, and allows the dough balls to proof once more. She then toasts them in a pan to get a crispy layer on the outside, and then finishes them in the oven. Once they’re done, she cuts them open to reveal the soft dough and the nooks and crannies she so desired, perfect for holding butter, jam, or in this case gribiche sauce for the ultimate breakfast sandwich. See the recipe below.
Yields 8 English muffins
2 ½ cups AP flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 tbsp corn meal
¼ tsp instant yeast
¼ tsp salt
⅔ cup whole milk
½ cup water
1 tbsp melted butter
2 medium shallots, diced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup loose packed fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, Italian parsley)
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp cornichons
3 tbsp butter
For the sandwich
Smoked Maldon sea salt
Thick but Canadian bacon
1 large fried egg
1 pre-formed deep-fried hash brown
2 slices American cheese
Putting it all together:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a stand mixer, add 2 cups AP flour, ¼ cup semolina flour, yeast and salt. Mix briefly.
- Add milk, melted butter, and water and mix until you form a dough.
- Once dough has come together, scrap sides and place dough in a medium glass bowl and cover.
- Let dough proof until doubled in size (approximately 1 to 2 hours)
- In a medium mixing bowl, add sauce gribiche ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface with ½ cup AP flour, ¼ cup semolina flour and 2 tablespoons of cornmeal. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Roll dough out to 1 inch thickness and cut rounds.
- Roll round into small balls and pinch on the bottom.
- Place dough balls on a baking pan, cover and let rest for 1 hour.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add dough balls one at a time. Toast 3 to 4 minutes each side or until browned.
- Add to baking sheet or oven safe skillet and finish muffins in oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until cook through
- Assemble the sandwich with grape jam, Canadian bacon, sauce gribiche, cheddar cheese, and the hashbrown.