1tablespoonshorteningor butter at room temperature
1 1/4teaspoonsactive dry yeast
Combine the yeast with the warm water. I like to add just a pinch of sugar to the water before pouring in the yeast, just really get things going.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the shortening, this will be a little clumpy and that's ok. Now pour in the yeast water and milk. Stir until a dough ball forms. If you are using a stand mixer and dough hook to knead the dough, this will take about 6 minutes until the dough becomes elastic like. If you knead by hand it will probably take 8-10 minutes (and a lot more muscles). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes).
Plop the dough out on a floured work surface. Yes, you must plop. Divide the dough into six equal parts. *The orginal recipes encourages this, although I think this could easily make eight muffins as it yeilds pretty big english muffins if you stick with six.
Anyway, roll each muffin into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a little bit of cornmeal (or flour). Cover, and allow to rise for an additional hour.
Heat a cast iron skillet (or other oven safe pan) over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil. You don't want too much as our goal isn't to fry the dough, but we don't want it to stick to the pan either. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. You want each side to get very brown, but not burnt.
Once you've cooked each side pop the skillet in the oven at 400°F for 10-12 minutes until the english muffins are cooked through.
If you do not have an oven safe pan, or you don't have one large enough for all the muffins, you can remove the muffins after cooking on each side to the baking sheet (still lined with parchment paper and cornmeal) and bake on there. Either way.
If you have leftovers, just place the cooled muffins in a Ziplock bag and seal it up. These will easily last a few days on the counter, or up to a week in the refrigerator.