English Muffins

I vowed that if I had a snow day I would spend it baking. The day started out that way – I actually made a brownies when I woke up (from a box – I was tired!) since I thought I’d be going in to work. When I got the all-clear to stay home, I pulled out short ribs to braise in the oven (adapting the Braised Short Ribs with Chocolate and Rosemary recipe that I also made here – I highly recommend it) since they would take a while. Both of those used the oven, but that wasn’t really what I had in mind when I vowed to bake.

I really wanted to make bread, but I didn’t need any. I would have enjoyed baking cookies or a dessert, but I already had a pan of brownies around, so anything else would be overkill. I decided to finally tackle something on my cooking wish list – English Muffins.

English muffins
English Muffins

I’ve come across a few recipes for English Muffins, but the one that seemed the easiest to attempt first was the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

I used my stand mixer to mix and knead this. I used bread flour, butter, and regular milk in this. I only needed the minimum amount (3/4 cup) of milk in this, and added a tiny bit of flour toward the end of kneading to make the dough less sticky. I let the dough rest for about 2 hours; it was actually a little past doubled by the time I was ready to shape the dough. I divided the dough into 6 equal pieces (I weighed them to even them out), put them on a sprayed and cornmealed parchment, and sprinkled them with a little more cornmeal. I covered them and let them rise again until nearly doubled, about an hour and a half. [Actually, they might have been fully doubled. It’s hard for me to tell.]

English muffins are actually cooked in a skillet or on a griddle, and then finished in the oven. I heated my electric griddle to 350F. I sprayed it with cooking spray, and carefully moved the muffins over with a spatula. I wasn’t really sure when to flip them. I flipped a few at 5 minutes, and the rest around 8. After flipping the rest, I reset the timer for another 8 minutes. I checked them periodically to make sure they weren’t scorching on bottom. After the second side was cooked, I put them on a baking sheet and finished them off in the oven (5 minutes at 350F).

English muffins

After letting them cool for 30 minutes, I tried one. I ate half untoasted, and toasted the other half. They tasted good. Nice and English muffiny. They were denser than the ones you buy at the store, though. I’m not sure if that’s just how they’re supposed to be, or if I did something wrong to make them not as fluffy as they should be. These English muffins were much heartier than the ones I usually buy, but were very satisfying. I like that they’re homemade, and they were pretty easy to make. The most difficult thing was gauging when they had risen enough to cook, and when to flip them on the griddle. I have a feeling I’m going to be perfecting this recipe throughout the year. For now, though, I’m just looking forward to eating them for breakfast the rest of the week.

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