YIELDS 70 MUFFES
Follow the directions carefully to form the large holes characteristic of English muffins. These freeze beautifully; split with a fork before freezing, then just toast to eat.
2 (0.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, divided
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cornmeal Melted butter
1. In large bowl, combine yeast and ¾ cup warm water; set aside. In large saucepan, combine milk, melted butter, salt, and sugar and heat over low heat until warm. Add to bowl containing yeast mixture and stir.
2. Gradually add flour, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. When half of the flour has been added, dissolve baking soda in ¼ cup warm water and add to dough. Add remaining flour until a soft dough forms. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
3. Punch down dough and divide into 18 balls. Sprinkle cornmeal over a cookie sheet and place each ball in cornmeal, turning to coat. Flatten balls to ½” thickness. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
4. Heat a large griddle over medium heat. Carefully place muffins on ungreased griddle, six at a time, and cook until first side is golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Turn when the sides start to look dry, and cook on the second side until the muffins are firm, about 4 minutes.
5. Repeat with remaining muffins. Cool on wire rack. To serve, split in half with fork, then toast and butter.
Baking soda is a component of baking powder; it is also used as a gentle cleaner and deodorizes appliances. The box doesn't stay fresh forever, though. Replace the box that you use for baking at least once a year. And don't use the same box for freshening the fridge and baking and cooking.