English Muffins: Nooks and Crannies Worth the Wait
After more than a month long hiatus, I am finally getting back to blogging. Several weeks ago I saw a recipe for English muffins I wanted to try, and figured it would be fitting to make them during the Olympics. Like the rest of the world I became fascinated with everything Olympics for two weeks, and the realization that they are for some nothing more than a two week international orgy did nothing to quell my interest. I of course got swept up in watching sports that would otherwise never grace American television (handball and water polo are awesome) and in that forgot completely about making these.
Pretty much immediately after the closing ceremonies I was in full on crazy-apartment-move-mode, frantically packing things and cooking minimally. Once I moved into the new place I was excited to test out the oven, and then promptly got sick and did nothing but eat soup from a can for 7 days. Finally I baked up a storm (brioche, calzones, baguettes, and English muffins) Labor Day weekend.
These muffins were the perfect way to start of the carb-baking extravaganza because they were quick (less than 4 hours total, maybe 30-45 minutes of actual work) and didn’t require me to turn on the oven (cooked in a stovetop pan which I did not know) when it was pushing 90 degrees outside.
In a bowl mix together your yeast, sugar, salt, and 1.5 cups of flour. Add in the butter and milk and mix until the ingredients have combined well.
Gradually add the rest of the flour (I ended up needing 2 3/4 cups total) until you have a soft dough ball that clears the sides of your mixing bowl. Knead by hand for 5 minutes (or in a mixer for 2) and then place in a lightly oiled bowl to rise for an hour.
I generally have a tendency to add more flour than necessary, but it’s important to add as little as possible once you’ve reached the dough consistency you want. Any more will lead to overly dry and tough muffins.
After your dough has risen, punch it down and let it rise another hour. Place your risen dough onto a floured surface and roll it out. You should roll it to about 3/4 inch thickness. I got a little too rolling pin happy and probably caused mine to be a bit flat.
Using a cup, cookie cutter, or anything round, cut out circles of dough and place onto a pan covered in corn meal (sprinkle more over the top of them). When you can’t cut more circles ball up the dough, roll it back out, and repeat. You should make around 10, so when I had 15 I figured I had rolled the dough a bit too much.
Let your muffins rise for another 45 minutes, toward the end of that rise lightly oil a pan and heat it over low-medium heat (a bit more towards medium).
Cook muffins in the heated pan, flipping halfway through to make sure each side gets nice and brown. They should take about 7 minutes per side.
Let cool 15 minutes before slicing. These also freeze very well.
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Cornmeal for dusting (about 1/4 cup)
In a mixing bowl combine yeast, sugar, 1.5 cups flour, salt, milk, butter, and water.
Mix until all combined, then gradually add remaining flour until a solid dough ball forms. Do not continue to add flour once this has happened (you may not need all 3 cups).
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes. Punch down and let rise for another 45 minutes after.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 3/4 inch thick, and using a cup or cookie cutter cut out circular muffins. Place on a pan dusted with corn meal. Ball up remaining dough, roll out again, and continue to cut out muffins until all dough is used up.
Let muffins rise for 45 minutes. Preheat lightly oiled pan over low-medium heat, and cook muffins in pan, allowing 7 minutes per side. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.