I fell in love with the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook shortly after relocating to Greeley, Colorado. It was on display as part of a fall baking showcase and I could not pass up the glorious pictures. I loved it so much that someone made sure it found its way under the Christmas Tree that same year and I have been making Tom Douglas’ English muffins religiously ever since. Except, I couldn’t eat that many English muffins and not feel obligated to amp up the whole grains. This is not a 100% whole wheat muffin, but I did get them all the way up to 50% without sacrificing too much in the toothsome department. These are an endeavor not to be taken lightly, they will take you all of 5 hours if made from start to finish, though you can take a rest after the first rise by placing the dough in the refrigerator and returning to finish the job later the same day or the following day. Just be advised that the second rise will take twice as long (but it’s all inactive time). Before you begin you will need to boil 2 smallish yukon gold potatoes with their skins on, until soft, mash them with a fork and then pack a 1 cup measure full of them and refrigerate until completely cool.
Love from more southerly Oregon sister,
Half Whole Wheat English Muffins (24 muffins)
1 cup Yukon gold potatoes (cooked, mashed, and cooled)
15.75 oz whole wheat flour (3.5 cups freshly milled flour scooped into a measuring cup and then leveled)
15.75 oz bread flour (3.25 cups scooped into a measuring cup and then leveled)
2.5 cups cold water (1st portion)
2 tablespoons honey
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 cup water (2nd portion)
Combine potatoes, both flours, water (1st portion), honey, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with dough hook for 10 minutes. Turn off mixer and let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn on mixer and continue to kneed for 1 or 2 more minutes (dough will be tightly wound round the paddle), add the 2nd portion of water in 5 parts (about 3 tablespoons each) allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue to kneed after last addition until dough is glossy and stretchy. . .this dough will be very soft, almost batter like, do not be alarmed, all will be well.
Add a small amount of oil to a large bowl, swirl it around to coat the sides and then turn dough into oil coated bowl to rise. After 30 minutes turn the dough by lifting the side of dough furthest from you, pulling it up and toward you (basically folding the dough in half), give the bowl a 90 degree turn and repeat the fold. Do this for a total of 4 times until you have turned all four sides of the dough. Let rest 30 more minutes, repeat the turns and leave to rise for 1 hr. or until doubled (in a very warm kitchen you will not likely need the full hour, in a cool kitchen you may want to preheat your oven to 150 degrees F. turn it off and then let the dough finish rising there.
Turn out the dough onto a large, well floured cutting board and divide the dough in half. Return one half to the bowl and cover while you shape the other half into muffins. Divide the remaining half of dough into twelve equal parts (if you wish to have precisely sized muffins weigh out your dough balls they should each be roughly 2.67 oz). Generously flour half of your cutting board, take one of the twelve portions, set it in the flour, fold the dough in half, then scoot the ball of dough to an unfloured portion of your cutting board. With the palm of your hand on top of the dough, roll in a circular motion until the dough has formed a tight ball, don’t worry if the first one doesn’t seem quite right, you will get the hand of it after a couple of tries. Continue to shape all 12 portions of dough into balls.
Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and dust with flour. Equally space your twelve muffins on one tray and repeat the shaping process with remaining half of dough. Cover both baking sheets with cloth kitchen towels and let muffins raise until nearly doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. When muffins have risen, bake in preheated oven for 8-9 minutes, flip muffins over, pat them briskly to flatten them slightly and release steam (you may wish to use a spatula or place an oven mit over the muffin as the steam will be hot), and bake for an additional 8-9 minutes. Be sure to rotate pans between oven racks so that they bake evenly as well as rotate pans front to back.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing and toasting!