Homemade English Muffins

“[English] Muffins may well originate as far back as the 10th century, yet the muffin became a fashionable bread (love it) during the 18th century. By the beginning of the 19th century, there were dozens of muffin factories in existence, and the “muffin man” was a common sight.” ¹

Celebrate 2012 by making your own! Easily frozen and de-thawed so you can enjoy those homemade nooks and crannies whenever you want. No fancy electric mixer needed.

Inspired by a delicious post from a fellow food blogger’s site, pete bakes!, I amended the recipe (originally from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice) according to the ingredients I had available. Here’s what worked for me:

From-Scratch English Muffins

  • 3 cups of flour plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp dry active yeast  (if you have instant yeast, follow the original recipe at the bottom of the page)
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup of milk (room temperature)
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 cup of cornmeal

Preparation:

1. Sift (or mix) 3 cups of flour and salt in large bowl.

2. Melt 1 Tbs of butter in microwave and add 3/4 cups of room temperature milk. If you microwave the milk to hasten the process, make sure that it does not scorch or become too hot.

3. Measure 1/4 cup of water from the faucet. Turn on the hot knob and wait until it is lukewarm. Dissolve 1/2 Tbs of sugar into the water and add yeast, stirring briefly to avoid lumps. Let the yeast, water and sugar stand until bubbles form and doubles in size (8 – 10 minutes).

If the yeast does not become bubbly or double the dough will not rise. In this case, consider the temperature of the water: if it is too hot the yeast will collapse and if it is too cold the reaction will not take place. If it still doesn’t work after a few trials, it’s not you, it’s the yeast – consider the expiration date or the storing method (yeast is best stored in a cool, dark place).

After a few minutes, the yeast should begin foaming on the top.

4. Pour activated yeast into milk and butter, stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour liquids in the middle. Stir with a spoon until combined, adding more flour if dough is too sticky.

5. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

6. Pour oil into large bowl and turn dough over to coat on all sides. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

7. Cut dough into eight equal parts, roll them into balls, and flatten them with the palm of your hand. If the dough is sticky, cover your work surface with a tiny bit of cornmeal.

8. Sprinkle cornmeal on foil lined baking sheet. Toss dough with cornmeal on each side. Cover with saran wrap and let rise for another hour at room temperature.

9. After an hour, the dough should be slighly puffier, but not much larger than before. Preheat the oven to 350 then heat about 1 Tbs (or more, depending on size of pan) in skillet over medium heat. Carefully scoop dough off of baking sheet and into skillet. Cook until each side browns and avoid “smushing” the dough down while cooking. Add more oil if necessary.

10. To ensure that the dough cooks all the way through, bake the muffins on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Split with serrated knife, butter and serve. Store extra muffins in an airtight container for 1 week in the fridge or for longer in the freezer. (To reheat frozen muffins quickly, wrap with wet paper towel and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute).

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