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A Portuguese muffin looks like a very large English muffin, without the cornmeal on the bottom or the craggy holes within. About 4 inches in diameter, and a good 1 inch thick, this soft, almost doughy bun is delicious toasted and slathered with butter and jam, à la English muffin; and it’s equally good as the basis for a sandwich. Many Cape Cod restaurants serve their signature sandwiches on Portuguese muffins. The potato and soy flour, though optional, both contribute to the muffin’s soft, tender texture.
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons soft butter
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour OR 3 3/4 cups Mellow Pastry Blend*
1/4 cup potato flour (optional)*
1/4 cup soy flour (optional)*
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon lemon oil OR 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel OR 1 teaspoon Sweet Dough Flavor
*If you choose not to use the potato flour and/or soy flour, reduce the milk by 1 tablespoon.
MANUAL METHOD: Scald the milk (heat it just till small bubbles form), then pour it over the butter. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients, whisking thoroughly. (This prevents the potato flour from lumping). Add the remaining ingredients, mixing to form a workable dough. Knead the dough till it's smooth; this should be a soft (though not sticky) dough. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes; it'll become quite puffy.
BREAD MACHINE METHOD: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough, and adjust its texture as necessary with additional flour or water. The dough should have formed a smooth, cohesive ball. Allow the machine to finish its cycle.
SHAPING AND BAKING: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it into 10 pieces, each about 3 1/4 ounces in weight. Form the dough into tight balls, and let them rest, covered, for about 30 minutes. Flatten the balls into circles 4 to 5 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick.
Place the muffins on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Now, you’re going to place a second baking sheet atop the muffins, in order to keep their texture fairly dense as they rise. Place a piece of parchment paper atop the muffins, or lightly grease the bottom of the second baking sheet. Place it atop the muffins, and let them rise for 45 minutes, or until they’re about 3/4-inch thick.
Bake the muffins in a preheated 400°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, leaving the second baking sheet in place; this will help keep the muffins flat. Remove the top baking sheet, and test to make sure the muffins are done; they’ll be golden brown on the top and bottom, with paler sides. Remove them from the oven, and cool on wire racks. Yield: 10 large muffins.