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Photo by Leah Harb
Recipe by Jonathan Merritt, Chef, Toast restaurant
5222 SE 52nd Ave, Portland
Makes 15-20 muffins
2 lbs (7-8 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 oz (2 packages) instant yeast
1/2 oz evaporated cane juice sugar
1/2 oz fine sea salt
3 cups cold water
Cooking oil (vegetable, canola or grape seed)
1. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl.
2. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in cold water. With a wooden spatula, mix the water and flour until it becomes a rough mass. With your hands, bring the dough together with a push-fold-turn kneading method, just until it comes together. It will still be a little tacky. The goal is to end up with lean dough that becomes extremely dry as it rises. If too much gluten develops, it will be like bread rather than a porous muffin.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour. Let the dough rise to double the original volume.
4. Dust a flat work surface with a 50% flour and 50% cornmeal mixture. Turn the dough out onto the dusted surface, dust the top of the dough with the same mixture, and roll out to a half-inch thickness.
5. Let the dough sit for about 2 minutes. Place parchment paper in a sheet pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cut out muffins with a floured ring mold (3 inch diameter). Don’t spin the mold; simply push it down and lift it up. Move the muffins to the sheet pan and let them rest for about 30 minutes.
6. Once the muffins are ready, heat a griddle on low. Oil the griddle and cook each muffin at a low heat until the interior is baked—about 10 minutes on each side. Add oil to the griddle when you turn the muffins as each surface will absorb a little.
7. When done, place on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
8. To open the muffins, either use a fork to pry them apart or use both hands to pull them apart. (Do not twist.) Toast and serve with jam.