Homemade English muffins have been on my list of breads to attempt. While I had made the recipe in Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I wasn’t that happy with the results (sorry Peter). The dough seemed too firm and dense for English muffins.
(I still do want to try the recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day. The dough in that recipe is so batter-like that you must use crumpet rings… shopping!)
This dough is very wet, but you can still manage to shape it by keeping a bowl of water nearby in which to dip your hands and your bench knife as you work. You need to be fairly comfortable working with dough, able to tolerate imperfections, and be willing to trust that it will all work out. That kind of sounds like a job announcement, doesn’t it? (I’m a recruiter)
Check out the photo of the dough when I first placed it on the griddle that I posted on my Instagram page. Kind of blobby, right?
I am thrilled with the results. These English muffins are crispy on the outside and super moist and soft on the inside. If you fork split them, you will get those elusive nooks and crannies for which English muffins are known.
Tools you will need:
- You will definitely need a stand mixer or a bread maker to mix the dough. There is no way to hand knead this bread.
- A bench scraper is also really helpful for scraping the dough off of the counter and dividing the dough into individual pieces.
- An electric or stove top griddle, preferably two, to accomodate 16 English muffins. Otherwise, you will have to fry the muffins in shifts.
- Baking sheets and parchment paper to lay on top of the frying muffins so they don’t turn into weird dinner rolls (see below).
397 g/1 3/4 C lukewarm milk (I used 2 percent milk)
43 g/3 T softened butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
539 g unbleached bread flour (I used King Arthur Flour)
2 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF Red)
semolina flour for sprinkling on the griddle
- Add all of the ingredients except the semolina to the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a bread machine’s knead function)
- Stir the dough to combine the ingredients.
- Place the bowl in the stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat the dough at medium-high speed for about five minutes. The dough should begin to release from the sides of the bowl and creep up the paddle attachment. The dough should be smooth and shiny.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl with a bowl scraper and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s quite puffy. Mine took 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the cold griddles. If they are non-stick, generously sprinkle (do not be shy) with the semolina flour. If they are not non-stick, spray them first with spray oil, and then sprinkle the semolina.
- Scrape the dough onto your countertop. Have a bowl of water nearby.
- Divide the dough with your wet bench scraper into 16 pieces.
- With wet hands, shape the dough pieces into balls, and then flatten them into 3 inch circles. They will not look perfect so don’t get too crazy about this. Place the pieces on the cold griddles. They can be one inch apart.
- Sprinkle the tops of the dough pieces generously with the semolina.
- Cover the dough with parchment or wax paper and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
- Turn on the electric griddle to 325 degrees F, or, for the stove top griddle, turn the burners on to low.
- Cook the muffins for 7 to 15 minutes per side (the electric griddle took longer), until each side is browned. If they puff up too much, place a piece of parchment and a baking sheet on top of the muffins while baking the first side (see photo above).
- Once the muffins are browned on both sides, place them on cookie sheets and bake them for about 10 minutes in the oven, until the center reaches 200 degrees F.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- To freeze, wrap each muffin with plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag.