I'm new to the baking of English muffins. I follow the recipe for sourdough English muffins published on YouTube by Culinary Exploration. After accounting for the 100% hydration of the starter, the recipe calls for about 62% hydration. The procedure involves pre-baking in an open skillet to form a light crust followed by oven baking to finish the center. I use Sir Galahad flour from King Arthur, which contains 11.7% protein.
My EMs taste great and the crumb is exactly what I want, but I get a paper-thin outer crust which is very tough to bite through and chew. The crust seems to be the same on both sides of the muffins; i.e., there's no distinction between the side that was exposed vs the side that was against the parchment paper during proofing. Lowering the heat of the skillet and the oven has no discernible effect, other than reducing browning. The crust does soften a bit with storage, but it's still too rugged.
I fear that changing hydration will alter the thickness to diameter proportions of the muffins. Any other suggestions?