Start your day early and wake up loved ones with wonderful English muffins, toasted to get the rough crust we all love, with a bit of chewiness through the middle. With their characteristic mildness in flavour, these traditional bakes are made for some of the best breakfast sandwich combinations. Or fancy some brunch? An Eggs Benedict might be a good idea, too.
- 1 cup (170 g) instant polenta (cornmeal)
- 1⅔ cups (410 ml) boiling water
- ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
- 1½ tbsps white wine vinegar
- 4 tsps (14 g) dried yeast
- 3 tsps fine sea salt flakes
- 3⅓ cups (500 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 40 g butter, softened, chopped
- ¼ cup (40 g) fine polenta (cornmeal), extra
Place ½ cup of the polenta and the boiling water in the large bowl of an electric mixer; stir to combine. Stand for 5 mins or until cooled slightly. Stir in buttermilk, vinegar, yeast and salt; add sifted flour. Return bowl to mixer fitted with a dough hook; mix on medium speed until a coarse dough forms. Add butter, in three batches, allowing each batch to be incorporated before adding the next. Mix for 8 mins or until dough is smooth and sticky.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 30 secs with lightly floured hands. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight for flavours to develop.
Remove dough from the fridge; stand for 2 hrs or until warmed to room temperature. Punch down dough with your fist; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 16 portions (60 g each); gently pat into 6.5 cm muffin-shaped rounds.
Place remaining polenta in a small bowl; add muffins, one at a time, turning and pressing to coat lightly all over. Transfer muffins to trays; cover with a clean tea towel. Stand for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and line two oven trays with baking paper.
Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan, skillet or flat grill over low heat. Sprinkle muffins with extra polenta to coat evenly. In batches of four, carefully cook muffins, for 6 mins each side or until very light golden and puffed. Increase heat to medium; cook, turning, for a further 3 mins or until both sides are golden; transfer to oven trays. Wipe pan clean, reduce heat to low; repeat with remaining muffins and polenta.
Bake muffins in oven for 10 mins or until cooked through and sound hollow when tapped. Serve immediately.
TIP Best made on day of serving. Can be frozen for up to 2 months.