english muffins

English Muffins

English muffins have been on my kitchen “to-make” list for a really long time.  They’re one of our breakfast staples around here, and I thought it would be really cool to be able to make them from scratch.  I kept putting off even looking thoroughly at a recipe, because I assumed they’d be challenging to make and my first time would probably be a flop.  Recently though, I’ve been really itching to try them.  This past weekend, we had a ton of wedding planning stuff going on and I figured there wouldn’t be much time for kitchen adventures.  Then, we ended up really pushing through on Saturday, and getting a lot of stuff done – which left me with a mostly free Sunday morning! I decided it was finally time to try making English muffins, and I am REALLY glad that I did.

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I was amazed out how easily these came together.  The dough wasn’t very wet or sticky, which helped – that tends to be when I run into trouble.  The rise times are fairly short, and a stand mixer helps you breeze through the kneading process.  Next time I think I will try doubling the recipe – as written, it only makes 6 English muffins, and I think it’s definitely worth making more and freezing them.  I didn’t double it this time because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out – then it ended up being so easy that I turned around and made a second batch right away!  I’d also like to try replicating some of our favorite flavors of English muffins – like honey whole wheat, or adding some craisins for cranberry muffins.  I wonder if you could mix in some dried herbs for a savory version, and use them for English muffin pizzas… hmm…

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast*
  • 1 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4-1 cup milk, warmed to 100-110°F
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast and stir briefly.  Add in the butter and 3/4 cup of milk and mix until a dough forms.  If needed, continue adding the remaining milk a small amount at a time, until the dry ingredients are full incorporated and there is a clear ball of dough.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 7-8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (I used my handy-dandy kitchen scale for this) and shape into balls.  Lay parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet and spray or coat lightly with oil.  Sprinkle the paper with cornmeal.  Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with room to rise.  Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.

Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F.  On the stove, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Brush or spray the skillet lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the skillet a few at a time.  Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.  Flip and cook the other side for 5-8 minutes more.

Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them back to a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes.  Do not wait until all the muffins have been browned in the skillet before moving them to the oven;  as the first batch is baking, move the second batch to the skillet.

Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.  For best results, split with a fork instead of a knife.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze for later use.

*You can also use active-dry yeast; in this case, mix 3/4 cup of the warmed milk, sugar, and yeast and allow to proof for 10 minutes before adding to the flour, salt and butter.

** The muffins tend to puff up higher than store-bought; if you would like them flatter, just flatten them slightly either before or immediately after transferring them to the skillet.

Yield: 6 English muffins

Source: Annie’s Eats; originally from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice

 

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