Well, I think I've finally nailed the English Muffin. It took a few tries and a whole lot of re-writing of recipes but, it's now where I want it to be.
I'm not gonna give away the recipe because half of the fun is figuring it out on your own. However, I was given a tip by Mark Filatow the last time I was in Kelowna. Potato water. That's it. Just use water that has been used to cook potatoes as the liquid in the dough. I think it gives the yeast a little something else to feed on. Not to mention it seems to have added the flavor dimension that was missing in previous attempts.
The only other thing that I did differently is to stretch the dough to the desired thickness as opposed to the rolling pin method. This seems to have retained a lot more air in the dough which results in a better rise and a more irregular crumb.
English Muffins are really very easy to do at home or at work and the product totally trumps anything that you can buy at the supermarket.
Here is a lunch feature I ran a couple of weeks back. Granted that it was on an previous attempt at English muffins, the result was still far from disappointing. Seen here with Jon's homemade ricotta, savory local strawberry compote and fresh basil. Some of Jon's divine porchetta and a mollet egg.
Find a recipe and play around with it. Pan frying bread is great fun. Oh, and a tip, use really low heat to pan fry them. You want to be able to cook them evenly on both sides so that the muffin is fully cooked and doesn't need to go into the oven to finish. If the heat is to high the bread will burn before you get a chance to cook them throughout. I found that an internal temperature somewhere between 180-190 is perfect.
Have fun. Sean Peltier