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Homemade English Muffins


I'm catching up on my Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge with Peter Reinhart's recipe for English Muffins. I have to confess that I made this late last night/early morning... as in 1am this morning. I know, kind of odd, but I really wanted to enjoy these muffins when I woke up.

Bread Baker's Apprentice

As I've done in previous recipes for the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, I made mini versions of this recipe and I really liked how the mini english muffins came out. They're great for a light bite and I certainly enjoyed them for breakfast this morning.

The dough is made by combining flour, salt, sugar, yeast, butter and milk. Once a silky, supple and slightly tacky dough is achieved, it's left to rise.


After the first rise, I cut the dough into sixteen pieces and formed each piece into a tiny little boule to prepare for the second rise. The original recipe called for cutting the dough into 6 pieces for large muffins or 9 pieces for smaller ones. I went even smaller since I knew they would continue to expand and proof.


These little guys had their second rise and they all puffed up quite a bit. They were starting to look more like the english muffins I've seen at the stores.


After their second rise, they were now ready for the skillet to get some color. Each muffin is cooked on a hot skillet to puff up ever so slightly and heat up to a nice golden brown. Once the muffins have browned, they're baked in the oven for a few minutes to ensure the middles are cooked.


Before you know it, you'll have a nice pile of homemade mini english muffins to enjoy!

Homemade English Muffins
recipe from Bread Bakers Apprentice

2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature (vegetable oil also works)
3/4 cup - 1 cup milk or buttermilk, room temperature
cornmeal for dusting

Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Stir in (or mix in on low speed with the paddle attachment) the butter (or oil) and 3/4 cup (6 ounces, 170 grams) milk until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still loose flour in the bowl, dribble in some of the remaining 1/4 cup milk. The dough should be soft, tacky, and pliable, not stiff.

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed with the dough hook). Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes (or mix for about 8 minutes), sprinkling in more flour if needed to make a tacky, but not sticky, dough. It should pass the windowpane test and register 77˚F to 81˚F (25˚C to 27˚C). Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Ferment at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and transfer the dough to the counter. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces of 3 ounces (85 grams) each. Shape the pieces into small balls. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment, mist the parchment lightly with spray oil, and dust with cornmeal. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Mist them lightly with spray oil, sprinkle them loosely with cornmeal, and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a towel.

Proof at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the pieces nearly double in size and swell both up and out.

*Alternatively, you can use your INSTANT POT to help proof the dough! Place a piece of parchment paper large enough to hold the dough inside your Instant Pot.... OR spray the inside of your Instant Pot with non-stick spray. If using parchment paper, press the parchment paper into the liner pot and spray with non-stick spray. Place your dough and gently shape into a ball size shape to fit inside your Instant Pot. Press the YOGURT button on the Instant Pot, then select the LOW temperature setiing. Once the Instant Pot beeps, cover with a clear Instant Pot lid or a (clear glass) plate that is big enough to cover the liner. If you don't have a clear Instant Pot lid or glass plate, you can also cover tightly with plastic wrap.

*Alternatively, you can use your SLOW COOKER/CROCKPOT to help proof the dough! Fill your slow cooker halfway with water and set to the low setting (which will heat the water to about 200ºF). Put the lid on upside down, lay a dishtowel on top, then set your covered bowl of dough on top. The radiant heat from the hot water will help the bread to rise.

Heat a skillet or flat griddle to medium (350˚F/177˚C if you have a thermometer setting). Also, preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C) with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Brush the pan or griddle with vegetable oil or mist with spray oil. Uncover the muffin rounds, then slide a metal spatula under a round and gently transfer it to the pan. Add more rounds the same way, spacing the rounds at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Cover the rounds still on the sheet pan with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from developing a skin. The dough rounds will flatten in the hot pan and spread slightly and then they will puff somewhat. Cook the round for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottoms cannot cook any longer without burning. The bottoms should be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly but will not burn for a while, so resist the temptation to turn them prematurely or they will fall when you flip them over. Using a metal spatula, carefully flip each one over and cook on the other side for 5 to 8 minutes in the same manner. Both sides will now be flat.

When the dough seems as if it cannot endure any further cooking without burning, transfer the pieces to a sheet pan and place the pan in the oven (don't wait for the still uncooked pieces, or the ones just out of the pan will cool down and will not respond to the oven stage). Bake for 5 to 8 minutes to ensure that the center is baked. Meanwhile, return to the uncooked pieces and cook them, then bake them, as you did the first batch.

Transfer the baked English Muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

7 comments

  1. Wow! Those look great! I'll have to try to make them sometime, I eat an English muffin for breakfast almost every work day

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  2. I love english muffins, and almost always have them on hand to eat for breakfast. I have made english muffin bread before, but never regular english muffins. I'm getting closer each week to breaking down and buying this cookbook!

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  3. oh man, i LOVE english muffins!!! they look goooood btw :0)

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  4. Wow, I had no idea they were made in a skillet but it makes sense given the browning on the top. Its kind of like a cross between bread and a pancake! I will have to try this out. My mother-in-law will think I am REALLY fancy making my own English muffins at home.

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  5. Impressive enough that you baked at 1:00 am, but what is even more impressive is that you could take photos of the process in the middle of the night.

    Just curious, did you get lots of nooks and crannies inside the muffins? When I made them, there were not too many holes inside. Kind of disappointing.

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  6. Wow! Those came out totally flat. Awesome. I think the big question amongst all the bakers is the nooks and crannies. I didn't have any, so I'm also curious if you had some too.

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