Homemade English Muffins

In last Monday’s column for the Record-Eagle, I ran a recipe for Speed of Light English Muffins.  Due to the constraints of space, I was unable to go on and on and on about what I do with those English muffins.  Mercifully for my family, the unusal ‘beneficiaries’ of conversations about my culinary obsessions, I have this blog as an outlet. 
 
 
English muffins have been one of my favorite bread forms since I can remember.  I like them pure- split with a little butter-, toasted, as a sandwich base, loaded with marmalade or jam, holding a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce, and just about anything else you can think of to do with it.  I’ve tried making English muffins many times over the years.  They were all decent, but they lacked that je ne sais quois that the perfect English muffin has;  the chewiness, the crust, the holes and ‘nooks and crannies’ to trap the melting butter and running warm jam. 
 
 
A couple weeks ago, while gnoshing on bread from yet another successful experiment with the ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes’ dough, my husband tossed out an idea. 

 

 

“Hey!  You should make English muffins with this dough.  I bet it’d be perfect,” quoth he.  I have said before that my hubby is an Evil Genius, but it bears repeating.  His mind works unlike others and he has had brilliant ideas before, but this one was BRILLIANT!  (So brilliant that it requires all-caps and italics.)

 

 
I pulled out the muffin rings and the griddle and went to town (metaphorically- town’s pretty far.  I just mean I went to work.)  The resulting muffins rivalled the best I had ever eaten (starts with a ‘W’ ends with an ‘S’ and rhymes with Pull-For-Fans.)  I was so excited about it that I wrote to Zoë François , one of the book’s co-authors, and requested her permission to print the recipe in my newspaper column as well as here on the blog.  She was incredibly gracious and generous and granted the requested permission.  Here’s the thing.  I’m giving you one of their recipes, but by no means is that the only thing of value the book has to offer.  I suggest you procure a copy.  It is invaluable.

 

 
Master Recipe
 

 

 *The recipe, as it appears here, has been condensed by cutting out the author’s commentary and paraphrasing. To read all of their instructions and comments, see “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”.

 

 

 

  • 6 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 13 cups all-purpose flour

 

Mix water, yeast and salt together in the bowl of a large stand mixer or in a 10 quart food-safe container. Add flour and stir until the mixture is uniform. You don’t have to knead, but you want everything uniformly moist, without dry patches. The dough will be wet and will conform to the shape of its container.

 

Cover with a lid that fits well, but is not airtight and allow to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until the dough collapses back in on itself. You can now refrigerate the dough for up to two weeks, using the dough whenever you need it or you may use it immediately.

 

 

This is what the dough looks like midway through the process of making muffins.  It ain’t perty, but it sure makes gorgeous bread. 

And here’s what the muffins do inside the rings while cooking on the griddle.  I tell you- don’t worry if it doesn’t fit perfectly, it’ll fill in the rings!

 

 

 

Speed of Light English Muffins

 

 *For this recipe you will need English muffin or egg rings. If you do not have either of these, you can cut the bottom and top off of tuna cans and wash them thoroughly or use round, metal cookie or biscuit cutters.  I did make a couple free-form, and they’re still good, but not as tall.  In a pinch, though, it can be done. These are best prepared a couple hours or a day in advance so they can cool and the crumb can set up. 

 

 To make these you need:

  • Master Recipe Dough
  • Semolina Flour or cornmeal for sprinkling

 

Oil as many muffin rings as you plan on using. Preheat a griddle or frying pan to approximately 325F. Place rings on hot surface and sprinkle about a teaspoon of semolina flour in the bottom of each ring. Pull of scant ½ cup pieces of the dough with wet hands. If you’re having trouble determining what ½ a cup of wet dough is, use water to rinse a ½ cup measure and put the dough in the still wet measuring cup. It will slide right out! Gently stretch the dough to approximately the size and shape of your ring and carefully put it down on the semolina. Don’t fret if it’s not the exact size or shape. As it cooks, it will expand.

 

 Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with another teaspoon of semolina flour and allow to cook until the bottom crust is a lovely brown color and is crisp. Remove rings using an oven mitt or tongs and flip the muffins over. Continue cooking until second side is also golden brown and delicious and crisp. Remove to a rack to cool.

 

 When muffins are cool, use a fork to split them.  If you’ve never split a muffin with a fork, don’t be afraid.  It’s not tough.  Just hold the muffin flat in the palm of your hand and slide the tines of a fork in parallel to the edge but halfway down on the side of the muffin.  Remove tines, turn muffin partway and repeat until you’ve poked a line of holes around the center of the muffin.  Use your fingers to gently pry apart the muffins.  Opening them this way ensures the lovely butter trapping holes that we all want in our English muffins…

 

Splitting the muffins with a fork is the only way to get those ‘nooks and crannies’.  If you use a knife it just won’t be the same!

 

This muffin is just screaming for cold butter and blueberry jam.

 

 

 If you tune back in tomorrow I’ll show you the breakfast that has changed my boys’ lives.  This makes everyone happy and propels our household into an alternate universe where kids do their chores quickly after breakfast, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the table, don’t fight with each other, and sing wonderful old-timey bluegrass songs in five part harmony with perfect pitch.  **That last part was a momentary blip away from ‘honest’ on my moral compass.  I realized that what I was saying sounded too good to be true, so I threw that in there, but the other stuff really does happen.  Such is the power of the good breakfast.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do We Rate the Recipe?

 

An enthusiastic 14 thumbs up out of 14.  Saying anything else would be superfluous.  Make these.  You can thank me with small gifts of cash.

Comments

  1. says

    Hey, thanks for the great review, I’m Jeff Hertzberg, the other co-author. I never thought of trying English muffins, and they look great!

    Come visit us anytime at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com, where you can post questions into any “Comments” field, or click on “Bread Questions” on the left side of the homepage and choose among the options.

    Jeff Hertzberg
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com

    Chicago tribune video: http://us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPage.aspx?isbn=9780312362911&m_type=2&m_contentid=119255#video

  2. says

    I LOVE this book! My daughter bought it for me for my birthday after I had renewed the library copy as many times as I could get away with! I’m going to be eating a lot of canned tuna and salmon over the next few days so I can make these!! This past weekend I made an incredible foccacia with the master recipe. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

  3. E C McD says

    Excellent! I love english muffins too, have the book, and totally did not think of that. I cannot shut up about the book. Cannot. Not a day goes by that my co-workers don’t tell me “E, shut up about the book, we all have it now.”
    “But… did you make the brioche yet?”
    “Shut it, E. We’re the converted. Quit preachin’.”

    Well, now I can preach again and they can’t do a thing about it.

  4. says

    I have the book and I was wondering if this would work! I’m so glad you tried it out. My dad loves English muffins, but hates that they come fork split. He prefers to cut them with a knife and throw them on a grill. Lately, he just can’t find them un-split, so I’ve been meaning to make him some.

  5. says

    I’m in awe with how amazing those look!! We haven’t had English muffins in our house in years because all the brands I’ve seen have dairy in them or are made on shared equipment. On top of that, I just bought the Artisan Bread in Five book last week and have dough all ready to go. I’m going to try these with my partial whole wheat dough as soon as I can get some rings. Brillant!!

  6. Rebecca says

    Jeff- Thank YOU for writing such a great book. I hope the Minnesota State Fair presentation went well and hey… if you’d like to invent a revolutionary time saving method of laundry I’ll buy a book on THAT, too!

    Judy- (My librarian’s name is Judy.) I’m glad you got your own copy to dust with flour… It’s so much more fun that way. Good luck on the tinned salmon and tuna project. (And a friend pointed out in another post’s comments that you should VERY CAREFULLY wash out the rings prior to using for muffins. She said she learned this the hard way.) Enjoy the muffins!

    Brilynn- The sandwich loaf is one I haven’t tried yet. I’ll put it on the list.

    E C McD- I’m so happy I could provide you with another platform for bread book evanglizing. I love the book, too.

    Ashley- Egg rings are super helpful (And cheap on Amazon!)

    Dawn- I love making food for Dads. I’m a Daddy’s girl. I hope yours loves these!

    Maggie- Yippee! I’m so happy to thwart the bummer that is allergies! My sister’s kids have loads of food allergies and one of my goals is to find them things they CAN eat that are fun. Have you heard of Yummy Earth candies? …I think I’ll do a post about them. Enjoy the muffins!

  7. Katie says

    These look amazing! I have been doing five-minute-a-day bread for a few weeks now and love it. Here’s my question–Do you have to let the dough rise on the counter for a bit before you tear off pieces and put it in the muffin tins or can you just take it straight from the container? I know in the original recipe you let your dough rise for about 40 minutes before you put it in the oven. I just found your blog and am really excited about it. I read smittenkitchen a lot but this is a little more family/budget friendly.

  8. Rahel Moore says

    I just tried making these English muffins the other day and making the dough was super easy. I mixed it in my Cuisine art mixer and it went very well. I have a few questions about cooking them though. First of all I find that the sides tend to be a bit doughy and wonder if it is because I am using silicone egg rings. I did try them with a tin ring and seemed to get the same results. I wonder if the 1/2 cup of dough is too much? How long would you suggest cooking them for? I know it says until they are brown and crisp.
    I love the taste of these, but find them too doughy. What am I doing wrong?

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