As delectable as they may be, American muffins have totally overshadowed the classic English muffin of late. The only way to find them is in a large packet from the supermarket, so I much prefer to make them. Let’s bring back the English breakfast staple: English muffins slathered in butter and jam! I am using a mixture of wholemeal and white spelt flour, but you could use regular plain flour if you can’t find spelt flour.
If you’re making your own buttermilk, put the milk and lemon juice in a jug and allow it to sit for 10–15 minutes. Put both the flours in a bowl with the yeast, sugar and salt.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water and buttermilk and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. Place the dough on a floured work surface, and knead it for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. To check that the dough has been kneaded enough, pick the dough up and then fold the outer edges of it underneath to make a ball with a nice taut top. Then cover your finger with flour and prod the side of the dough, making an indent about 5mm deep – the dough should spring back all the way if it has been kneaded enough.
Place the dough into a clean bowl and spray it with a little oil, then cover with cling film, so that it is airtight but not taut, giving the dough space to rise. Leave in a warm, but not hot, place to rise for about an hour. After an hour, remove the cling film, make another 5mm indent in the dough. The dough should spring back but only halfway this time. If it does not spring back and just stays there, then it needs a little more time.
Put half of the muffins in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat (or how many can fit into your frying pan with a bit of space around them so they cook quickly) and
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.