How to Make It
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the milk and water and heat at high power in 30-second bursts until just warm to the touch. Stir in the yeast and 1 1/4 cups of the flour. Cover and let stand until billowy, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the the wheat germ, wheat bran, barley syrup, salt and the 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead until smooth, kneading in up to 1/3 cup of flour as necessary to make a silky, supple dough. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise until it's doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and let rise until it is doubled again, 1 hour longer.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat a large cast-iron griddle over low heat. On a work surface dusted with cornmeal, pat out the dough 3/4 inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out 7 rounds as close together as possible. Gently pat the scraps together and stamp out 1 more round. Brush the griddle with butter. Griddle the muffins on moderately low heat, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 6 minutes total.
Transfer the muffins to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until risen and cooked through; an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the muffins should register 195°. Let cool completely. Using a fork, split the muffins horizontally and toast until golden. Serve with butter and jam or ham and cheese.
Earthy barley malt syrup is a natural sweetener that's available at health food stores and some specialty food stores.