500g white bakers flour
5 tsp soft butter
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tsp raw caster sugar
Polenta for dusting
Butter and Olive Oil for frying
A note on flour.. sorry health nuts, I tried with an organic stone ground wheat and they were way too dense. Fluffy white bakers flour works best!)
1/ Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl, rub in the butter until breadcrumb texture.
2/ Stir the yeast, sugar, milk and water together in a jug and set aside until a little bubbly. If the weather is freezing, like it is at the moment, your yeast might need a little help; so I have taken to warming the milk and water gently to about blood temperature, just dip your finger in to check.
3/ Make a well in the flour and mix the milk mixture in using a knife or wooden spatula to just bring the dough together. Leave on the bench covered with a tea towel for about 20 minutes to relax and fully hydrate.
4/ Turn the mixture out of the bowl and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft, super smooth and stretchy. Yes this seems a lot but the muffins will be so much better if you knead this mixture well.
5/ Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove until doubled in size. This could take an hour or five depending on how warm your house is, you’ll know it’s ready when the dough ball is very soft and when you poke it with your finger he indent slowly fills back in.
6/ Dust a large tray generously with polenta. Gently punch down the dough and pat/roll the dough into an even log and slice into 10 equal pieces. Flatten out each piece of dough a little and pull the edges of the dough into the middle, use wet fingers to pinch the bottom dough together neatly. Using a cupped hand and circling motion, roll each piece on the bench to form a flatish ball. Space the balls out on the dusted tray and sprinkle with more polenta, cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm place to prove until the balls have doubled in size, they should be quite puffed up and soft.
7/ Preheat oven to 180°C with a tray inside. Place a heavy-based frying pan over very low heat. Add a small knob of butter and a slug of olive oil; when the butter has melted gently pop a few of the balls of dough into the pan. Fry until just starting to colour, about 2 minutes, then flip over and press down on the ball a little and fry till just golden. (This is when the muffins will start to take on their characteristic shape.) Immediately transfer the fried muffins into the oven to bake for about 5-8 minutes to cook through. Repeat for remaining dough. Cool on a wire rack.