Whenever I eat/make English muffins, I think about how they’re probably the only food on Earth to which I would refer as having “nooks and crannies” and how I don’t even really know what a cranny is but I know they’re in English muffins along with the nooks and that both are absolutely required as butter receptacles in the perfect English muffin and hooray for run-on sentences about English muffins.
But seriously, have you ever had an English muffin without the nooks and crannies? It’s just not the same. It’s like eating a hockey puck of bread. But add the nooks and crannies and, suddenly, that hockey puck is actually a soft, chewy, delicious circle of bread just begging to be toasted and topped with butter, jam and/or cheese with a runny egg on top, oooooh yes. Dream a little dream with me about that for a sec.
OK, back to the muffins. One of my goals this year for the bloggity blog is to post more classic bread-related recipes — things like these English muffins, for example — so you lovely people can be more like, “Hey, I really want a good recipe for [that very common thing but in homemade form],” and you can search for it on my blog and it’ll be there, waiting for you, shining bright like a diamond. Or a buttery English muffin.
So if there are any classic bread recipes you don’t find here but would like to see (loaves, rolls, buns, biscuits, anything and everything!), please let me know in the comments. I can’t promise I will be able to deliver on all of them, but I will do my best. Kthanks.
OK BUT REALLY, back to the muffins. I admit that the process of making English muffins from scratch is a wee lengthy and involved, but it’s nothing that can’t be done in a couple hours with the right tools. And it always — always — helps to read through the recipe from start to finish before you even pull out a pan; that way you know just what you’re getting into and can be prepared as you go. No sweat!
What makes English muffins a little more involved is the process of cooking them so they actually turn out looking and tasting like English muffins. You have to divide the dough into round, flattened circles, place them on a griddle sprinkled with semolina or farina, then cook them low and slow on both sides until they’re golden brown and baked through. As you can see, mine were not perfect circles at the beginning and they also didn’t fully bake through when they were done on the griddle (so I had to bake them a few extra minutes in the oven), but they turned out just fine in the end. Again — no sweat! You just have to pay attention.
Plus, if you read through the recipe first, prepare ahead of time and pay attention as you go, guess what you get? NOOKS AND CRANNIES, that’s what.
Soft, chewy, delicious circle of bread, come to me.
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Semolina or farina, for sprinkling on the griddle
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg (do not stir).
- Combine milk and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stir and heat until an instant read thermometer reads between 110 and 115 degrees F. Remove from heat.
- Pour milk mixture into bowl; stir just until a dough forms. Use dough hook attachment to knead dough in stand mixer 5 minutes until dough is smooth, soft, elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl; OR, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand 10 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled large bowl; turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
- Meanwhile, lightly spray a griddle or large pan (or two) with cooking spray, then sprinkle generously with semolina or farina. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Punch down risen dough; divide into 16 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball; press down to a 3 to 3 1/2-inch diameter. Place dough pieces on prepared griddle or pan about 1 inch apart (depending on the size of your griddle/pan, they will not all fit. Place the extras on a baking sheet sprinkled with semolina or farina, and cover with a sheet of parchment paper).
- Turn on griddle to low heat (about 275 degrees F) or place pan over low heat on stovetop. Cook muffins 7 to 15 minutes each side until deep golden brown. If muffins puff up too much during cooking (and they probably will), cover them with a sheet of parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top to act as a weight. The muffins are cooked through when an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads about 200 degrees F.
- If the muffins are sufficiently browned on both sides but are still not fully cooked in the center, place them on a clean baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat the whole cooking/baking process (steps 7 and 8) with remaining dough.
- Cool muffins completely. Use a fork to gently pry muffins open, so you get all the nooks and crannies.