I don't know why it never occurred to me to make my own butter and English muffins, but then again – really? English muffins always struck me as one of those food items that you don't actually ever make.
So, I decided to do it. And? It was super easy, and not surprisingly, better than store-bought.
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, at 110 degrees
⅓ cup shortening, melted
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles (about 185 degrees); remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.
In your mixer bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 c. flour. Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Add the salt and the rest of the flour and beat just till incorporated. Switch to the bread hook attachment and knead just until smooth (alternatively, remove dough from mixer bowl and knead by hand). Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured board. Roll out to about ½" thick. Using a drinking glass, round cutter or empty tuna can, cut out rounds (I used a 3 ½" round cutter). Place rounds on prepared baking sheets, and dust the tops with more cornmeal. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
Heat griddle – grease with butter or cooking spray. Gently place rounds on the griddle and cook on medium heat till browned on each side (anywhere from 5-10 minutes per side). Transfer to a rack to cool completely, and repeat with remaining rounds. Once cooled, serve immediately or split and freeze for longer storage.
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