I’m an English Muffin fanatic. They’re complete breakfast heaven to me, especially when turned into a breakfast egg sandwich. I vaguely remember baking a batch eight or nine years ago and as far as I remember, they turned out pretty good. So, now that I have time and space to do some baking again, English Muffins were on the top of my list.
After looking at a good 20+ recipes, I decided to work off of this one on allrecipes.com. After reading a bunch of reviews, I made a few changes.
It seems that there are two keys to getting an English Muffin with the classic “nooks and crannies” they are famous for. First, make sure the dough stays soft and loose. This means not adding too much flour during the kneading process and kneading for a shorter length of time (about 5 minutes). Second, letting the dough rise only once (as opposed to the usual two for most breads) allows giant gas bubbles, rather than small uniform bubbles, to form. The English muffins turned out nice and light with a decent amount of nooks and crannies. There weren’t enormous pockets like the store bought muffins but I’m willing to trade some of that for a muffin that only costs seven cents (and is pretty fun to make).
- 1 tsp active dry yeast ($0.10)
- 1 Tbsp sugar, divided ($0.05)
- 1/2 cup warm water ($0.00)
- 1/2 cup milk ($0.15)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.27)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided ($0.36)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/4 cup cornmeal ($0.06)
- Dissolve the yeast and half of the sugar into 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it has developed a thick foam on top.
- While waiting for the yeast, combine the milk, butter, and the rest of the sugar in a measuring cup or microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir until the butter is dissolved. Add an additional 10 seconds if needed. You want the milk warm enough to melt the butter, but not scalding.
- Once the yeast is foamy, pour the milk and butter mixture into the bowl, along with 1 cup of the flour, and the salt. Stir until the mixture is mostly smooth. Add the second cup of flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring to combine each time. Finally, begin to add the third cup of flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon. At that point, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, dusting with small amounts of flour as you go. Once finished kneading, you should have used 2.5-3 cups flour total.
- Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or sharp edged drinking glass to cut several discs out of the rolled dough. Cut them as close to each other as possible to leave few scraps. When you can cut no more circles, ball the scrap dough up, flatten it once again, and cut a few more. Place the cut muffins on a baking sheet coated with a liberal layer of cornmeal.
- Let the muffins rise in a warm moist area for about 1.5 hours, or until they are slightly more than double the size. (I placed a casserole dish full of steaming water on the bottom rack of my oven and placed the baking sheet on the top rack to keep the muffins moist as they rose.)
- When the muffins are large and fluffy, it's time to cook them in a skillet. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Once the skillet is preheated, carefully use a spatula to lift 3-4 muffins from the baking sheet and slide them into the skillet, along with some cornmeal. Let the muffins cook 3-4 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the bottom. Carefully flip the muffins and cook for 3-4 minutes on the second side. The muffins will puff further as they cook in the skillet. Once the muffins are golden on both sides and sound hollow when tapped, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
- Once completely cool, split the muffins with a fork and toast in a toaster or the oven. Or, transfer the cooled muffins to an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week, or the freezer for up to three months.
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Step By Step Photos
Begin by combining 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp yeast and 1/2 Tbsp sugar. Stir to dissolve, then let them sit until a thick layer of foam develops on top.
While waiting for the yeast to foam, combine 1/2 cup milk, 2 Tbsp butter, and the second 1/2 Tbsp sugar in a measuring cup or microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until the butter melts. You can do an additional 10 seconds in the microwave, if needed, but try to get the milk just warm enough to melt the butter, not scalding.
Once the yeast is foamy, pour in the milk mixture, 1 cup flour, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir until the mixture is mostly smooth.
Stir in a second cup of flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until incorporated before adding more.
Finally, begin to add a third cup of flour, again a small amount at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon. At that point, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as you go. Only add enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, as adding too much can cause the dough to get stiff.
After kneading, you should have used somewhere between 2.5 to 3 cups flour. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness, then use a cookie cutter or sharp-edged glass to cut as many circles into the dough as possible. Cut the circles close to each other to leave as little scrap dough as possible. Gather up the scraps, form them into a ball, press the dough out once more, then cut a few more circles.
Cover a baking sheet liberally with cornmeal (this is 1/4 cup of cornmeal spread out on a large baking sheet). Arrange the muffins on the cornmeal, pressing one side into the corn meal, then flipping them over and pressing again, making sure there is plenty of cornmeal under each one to prevent it from sticking as they rise.
For reference, here is a side view so you can see how thin they are. Let the muffins rise in a warm, moist area for about 1.5 hours or until they’re slightly larger than double their size. I put a casserole dish with steaming water on the bottom shelf of my oven and placed the baking sheet with the muffins on the top rack (oven turned off) to create a nice warm environment for them to rise.
The Muffins should be very large, fluffy, and delicate after rising. Make sure they’re not touching each other because pulling them apart could cause them to deflate.
Once risen, it’s time to cook them in a skillet. Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-low. Once preheated, use a spatula to carefully lift a few of the English muffins off the baking sheet and onto the skillet, along with some of the cornmeal. Cook on each side until golden brown (3-4 minutes per side). The cornmeal will keep the muffins from sticking (the cornmeal in the skillet in the photo above is after 3-4 batches, each batch adding more to the skillet). The muffins will puff even further in the hot skillet.
Transfer the cooked English Muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, either split with a fork and toast, or transfer to an air-tight container (like a gallon-sized freezer bag) to store in the refrigerator or freezer.
These English muffins are absolutely to-die-for with butter and jam! Light and fluffy, with very crispy edges and crunchy cornmeal bottoms!