~yields 12 muffins
The Bits and Bobs:
for the starter:
3/4 cup bread flour (ok to use ap flour if that's what you have)
1/2 cup luke warm water
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
for the dough:
1 cup whole milk, brought up to room temp
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour (again, ok to use ap flour if that's what you have)
butter for cooking
for the bagel seasoning:
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (heat in dry pan for a few mins until golden)
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp dried minced garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt (I used Maldron)
Make the dough starter first by stirring together the warm water, yeast and flour. You will want to beat the mix together until it is smooth and glossy. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside somewhere warm. The starter needs to sit for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Each hour is extra flavor, so leave for as long as you can.
Once the starter is bubbly and roughly doubled in size, start on the dough. In a big bowl, stir together the room temp milk and the yeast. Dump all of the starter into the milk mix and whisk until it has dissolved in the milk. Add the sugar, the butter, and the salt and whisk again. Mix in the 3 cups of flour stirring until you have formed a shaggy dough.
If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, use that to then knead the dough until you form a smooth ball (takes about 5 mins with the mixer on low). You can also knead on a floured surface until you achieve that smooth ball (this way will take about 10-15 mins). If the dough still feels too tacky, add more flour a bit at a time.
Grease a big bowl with oil or a bit of butter and transfer the dough ball to this bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for 2 hours until doubled in size. While that is rising, make the seasoning by stirring together all the spices in a small, resealable container. When stored airtight the seasoning can last months!
Once it has risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange on a baking sheet with space between each ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again. Cold dough will take about 2 hours and room temp dough will only take an hour.
When they have risen some more, warm a skillet with a small amount of butter in the pan to prevent sticking. Place two or three balls into the warmed pan and cook on for 5 minutes each side, flipping only when you have reached a nice golden brown color. They will puff as the cook. Lightly brush some more melted butter on either side of the cooked muffin and smoosh some seasoning into the top and bottom (or just the tops!). Allow to cool on a wire rack.
When you are ready to eat, split with a fork by stabbing the tines all the way around the muffin. It should easily split open. Toasting will heat up the seasoning and make it more fragrant and flavorful, and of course a healthy pat of butter doesn't hurt.