English Muffins

English muffins are one those foods that never really occurred to me to make from scratch. I had a similar revelation with pita bread, actually. Sure, I bake loaves of bread quite often and have even made things like brioche, challah and bagels. Yet, for some reason it seems that there are foods that somehow magically appear in their packaging and surely must not have been made by human hands. For me, English muffins always fell into this category. They are perfectly split, have those nooks and crannies that so expertly collect pools of butter and jam, and are covered with a dusting of cornmeal that may have been sprinkled by the bread fairy. Imagine my shock when I finally hunkered down to make English muffins and discovered that they are actually EASY! No harder, in fact, than a simple loaf of white bread. They are delicious, their aroma will make your mouth water, and they have nooks and crannies that provide little swimming pools just waiting to be filled with sweet, creamy butter. Move over store-bought English muffins, you’re no longer needed!

The process for making English muffins is very simple – you mix up the dough, which is strikingly similar to that of a basic bread dough, and you let it rise. Then you divide the dough into six pieces, shape into balls, and let them rise. Once they have doubled in size, the fun begins. English muffins actually start baking on the stoveop – a skillet or griddle (I used a cast iron skillet) is used to brown the muffins on both sides, and then they are moved to the oven to finish baking. Total baking time is less than 25 minutes – not too shabby! Since they are fairly small, the muffins cool pretty quickly – you’ll be gobbling up butter-and-jam slathered English muffins before you know it!

Is there a food that you never thought about making from scratch?

More favorites from Peter Reinhart:
Soft Cheese and Pepperoni Bread
Egg Bagels, Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels and Original Bagels
Potato Rosemary Bread
Greek Celebration Bread
Anadama Bread

English Muffins

Yield: 6 English muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active) 3 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 10 to 16 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

2¼ cups (10 ounces) unbleached bread flour
½ tablespoon (.25 ounce) granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon (.19 ounce) salt
1¼ teaspoons (.14 ounce) instant yeast
1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ to 1 cup (6 to 8 ounces) milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
Cornmeal for dusting

Directions:

1. 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 shortening and ¾ cup milk until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still loose flour in the bowl, dribble in some of the remaining ¼ cup milk. The dough should be soft and pliable, not stiff.

2. 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 about 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° to 81° degrees F. 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.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.

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

5. Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces nearly double in size and swell both up and out.

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

7. Brush the pan or griddle with vegetable oil or mist with spray oil. Uncover the muffin rounds and gently transfer them to the pan, sliding a metal spatula under them and lifting them to the pan. Fill the pan so that the pieces are at least 1 inch apart, not touching. Cover the pieces still on the sheet pan with the plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from developing a skin. The dough that is being cooked will flatten in the pan and spread slightly, then the pieces will puff somewhat. Cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough cannot cook any longer without burning. The bottoms should be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly but will not burn for awhile, so resist the temptation to turn them prematurely or they will fall when you flip them over. Carefully flip the pieces over with the metal spatula 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 on the middle shelf in the oven to ensure that the center is baked. Meanwhile, return to the uncooked pieces and cook them, then bake them, as you did the first round.

8. Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

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90 Responses to “English Muffins”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Lisa on February 2, 2010 at 1:19 am

    These look wonderful!I have crumpets on my list of things to make at the moment. I’ve made them once before, but normally I would buy them and not make them. It only occurred to me because I saw a picture of some in a recipe book I was browsing in a store.

    Reply

  2. Junglewife on February 2, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Homemade English muffins are delicious! I make them from scratch, but out of necessity because we can’t buy them where I’m living. My recipe is a bit different – they only cook on the stovetop, not in the oven at all. Even easier! (They cook on very low heat on the stovetop, so that there is enough time for them to cook without them over-browning.)

    Reply

  3. MaryMoh on February 2, 2010 at 3:53 am

    These muffins look perfect. I have to try making them. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  4. Sarah, Maison Cupcake on February 2, 2010 at 5:39 am

    They look wonderful! I want one now!

    Reply

  5. Twyla on February 2, 2010 at 7:59 am

    English muffins have been on my recipe wish list for ages. One day I’m actually going to do something about it.

    Reply

  6. Renee on February 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Your english muffins look perfect. Absolutely perfect! Well done.
    Renee of kudoskookies

    Reply

  7. Meghan on February 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

    This is how I felt about bagels until I saw them on your blog and others. It’s always so funny that I don’t think things are possible to make at home – of course they are but one must decide if it’s worth the effort. I’m glad to hear these are easy to make! :)

    Reply

  8. Emily Ziegler on February 2, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Love it! I’m emailing the recipe to myself as I am writing this!!! Love making these kinds of things from scratch!!! Thanks so much for sharing :o)

    Reply

  9. sheena on February 2, 2010 at 9:16 am

    i used to really hate english muffins. i would only eat them were if they were joined by sausage egg and cheese. i still don’t eat them often, but i think if i baked them myself, i would feel differently about them. i will have to try it out, for sure. although, i know i will always be a bagel girl.

    Reply

  10. Adelaide on February 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I love this post. Never dawned on me to make these from scratch either but I bet they are superb. And who would have thought they start their cooking life on top of the stove. Well I suppose English crumpets do as well. Thanks!

    Reply

  11. Taryn on February 2, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Ever since I started my love affair with Peter Reinhart (thanks to you for introducing us :-) ) I have wanted to try these! I eat a store-bought english muffin covered in almond butter every morning and it does NOT look like this. Maybe a flattened version of this. Can’t wait to try these!

    Reply

  12. Farrah on February 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I have english muffins on my 100 items to make in 2010. I will have to try out this recipe. I’ve never made fresh english muffins before and my daughter loves them! Any good tips on how to store these or how long they will last? I know that store bought ones are bagged, but me and bread whenever I put them in a bag its never the same.

    Reply

  13. Bibiana Bailey on February 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    They look perfect. I must try to make them. I always thought they were pain to make. It doesn’t sound so bad.

    Reply

  14. diva on February 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    i just read your recipe – fairly straightforward! U make it sound so simple :) Love the pictures. Now I know homemade English muffins are possible. x

    Reply

  15. megan on February 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I’ll definitely be trying these! I love english muffins, and I love homemade bread! Like you I’ve tried lots of types – naan, ciabatta, pita, etc). Have you tried english muffin bread? It’s like an english muffin in bread borm – it is so so easy and absolutely delicious! Check it out if you’re interested :)

    http://whatmegansmaking.blogspot.com/2009/02/english-muffin-toasting-bread.html

    Reply

  16. Michele on February 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I love that this can all be done in a kitchen aid. THey look so delicious and not that difficult. Great post!

    Reply

  17. Alta on February 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    These look great! I never thought to make a lot of sauces from scratch – particularly hoisin – until I went gluten-free, and started to really read labels. I have to make so many things now, or else hunt for an expensive gluten-free version!

    Reply

  18. Choclette on February 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Crikey, these look so good and more substantial somehow than bought ones. I’ve never made muffins either -hummm!

    Reply

  19. Allison on February 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Wow, these seem surprisingly easy to make! I’ll definitely need to add these to my list.

    Reply

  20. BakingWithoutABox on February 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    You know I’d never even thought about making English muffins. I remember this horrible little hard ones we’d pick up at the store as a child and how much jam I spread on them to make them edible. I’d sworn them off entirely. But after reading your post, I just might have to try again.

    Reply

  21. nicole on February 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I never thought to make english muffins, but I love buying them. Yours look perfectly toasted. yum!

    Reply

  22. Memoria on February 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    These muffins look so soft and scrumptious. I want some!!! You did an excellent job.

    Reply

  23. Harold on February 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    They look delicious, but they’re not English Muffins if you make them with cornmeal – real English muffins are dusted with tapioca!

    Reply

  24. Ed Schenk on February 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Love the muffin thing. The only thing missing is some home made preserves

    Reply

  25. Joanne on February 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    English muffins for me are one of those never-make-at-home things. Although, I used to feel the same way about bread and now I’ve made a resolution to make all my own bread in 2010! Pasta is also that way for me. Probably because I don’t have a pasta roller. And ice cream.

    Reply

  26. Arlene on February 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Every time I see a recipe for these, I want to try. For whatever reason, I haven’t, but your wonderful results have given me the desire. Maybe this will be the time I finally dive in.

    Reply

  27. Gourmet Mama on February 2, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve wanted to make English muffins for a while now, but never got around to it because I figured they’d be tough. Who knew?

    Bagels were a food that I didn’t think about making from scratch until I stumbled across a recipe, because my mom always told me “There are some things you just buy.” Well, not I live in Guatemala and English muffins and bagels aren’t available at the local shops, so I need to make them if I want them. :)

    Reply

  28. Brandi on February 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Ooh, I’m going to have to try making English muffins now. I love them, especially for the reasons you state — the holes for pools of butter — yum!

    I never thought of making marshmallows until this past summer. I don’t like store bought marshmallows and when I made some at home, I was suprised how tasty they are. Contrasting that, a friend of mine told me that she likes the staleness of store-bought marshmallows and when she made some at home, she had to leave them out for awhile before she liked them. :)

    Reply

  29. Jennifer on February 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    This is one thing that Ive yet to make at home yet, Ive made everything “bread” but!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration, as I LOVE english muffins!!!

    Reply

  30. shoshana Ohriner on February 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them. Until recently graham crackers were something I thought it wasn’t worth making at, but the homemade ones were one of the best things I have ever eaten so that clearly is no longer true. Why put a homemade marshmallow on a store bought graham cracker?

    Reply

  31. Angela@spinachtiger on February 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    English muffins are the sick in bed comfort food for me. Buttered with a cup of tea. To make my own would be great, for like you, I think of them in the package made by Thomas.

    Reply

  32. Kelsey on February 3, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for the great recipe, Chelle. I’m starting my own “must make” list and English muffins are on it. It’s my “30 Things to Make While I’m 30″. Let the fun begin!

    Reply

  33. Jason Sandeman on February 3, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Very cool. I knew that English muffins were not hard to make. Like all others, I have sat on my hands on making them. I shall have to get the keister in gear! The sad part is I actually own the book as well!

    Reply

  34. Nastassia(LetMeEatCake) on February 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Homemade english muffins, it would have never crossed my mind! But there are those morning where I just crave them but don’t feel like running out to the store to get them, now i can make them with your recipe!

    Reply

  35. Tracey on February 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I tried this recipe not too long ago as well and I completely agree with you – these are SO much better than store-bought and really not too difficult. Yours look wonderful!

    Reply

  36. Katrina on February 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    These look amazing! Thanks so much for posting this, I’ve always wanted to make english muffins :)

    Reply

  37. Mary Poppins in Heels on February 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    You know, English Muffins are a food I never thought about making from scratch until now. You make it seem so easy!

    Reply

  38. Dani H on February 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I’ve been seeing lots of tweets lately by food bloggers (including you) making English muffins, bagels, graham crackers and marshmallows, all of which I used to think had to be purchased. I want to try them all! Last summer I learned to make some chocolate-covered candies that I thought had to be bought ~ faux Peppermint Patties, Almond Joys and Peanut Butter Cups. What I really loved was that the filling was from one basic recipe. Super easy. Messy, but easy. :-) Thanks for the recipe. “See” you on Twitter. Dani ddh77

    Reply

  39. Spice Sherpa on February 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Those look amazing and I loved the write-up. I cracked up imagining the bread fairy dusting the cornmeal, I think that fairy comes to our house occasionally! :-) I’m trying these muffins and filling those crannies with butter and cinnamon. As for a food I never thought of making from scratch but do now is mayonnaise. And I’ve discovered you can infuse with all sorts of yummy flavor innuendos.

    Reply

  40. watch heroes episode on February 6, 2010 at 3:41 am

    I love muffins, with this version it will surely strengthen my cravings for muffins everyday

    Reply

  41. Miranda on February 9, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I have all of Peter Reinharts books. I can’t wait to try this recipe! It looks fantastic. My girls love English Muffins!

    Reply

  42. Brattypants on February 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I can’t believe that I have not thought about making these either! I buy a pkg every week as I have one for breakfast almost every morning. Goodbye store made, hello home made. The recipe seems so easy – I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  43. Christie Bishop on February 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    My absolute favorite English muffins in the world are from the Model Bakery in Napa Valley, CA. I have been searching for a recipe that reminded of these amazing treats and looks like you’ve cracked the code! Can’t wait to try them…

    Christie Bishop
    http://www.PardonMyCrumbs.com

    Reply

  44. Kelsey on February 23, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I made this same recipe, Chelle. I loved it! Your muffins look fantastic, too :-)

    Reply

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  46. Glen Reed on August 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Being an englishman, I believe that muffins were made for one thing, and one thing only. Eggs Benedict. Toast these muffins, top with bacon and poached eggs, and finish with Hollandaise sauce. The King of breakfasts!

    Ciao for now.

    Reply

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  48. Terry S on October 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Love, love, love this recipe! I will never buy another english muffin from the store. Thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 11th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      You are most welcome, so glad you loved it! I agree – these blow store bought English muffins out of the water!

      Reply

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