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Homemade English Muffins
This chewy and crispy yeasted bread is a recipe you need for your kitchen. English muffins are a great addition to your breakfast, brunch or tea snack. They don’t need an oven and take little Effort to make.
Muffins on its own can be very misleading in this conversation. As good old fashioned muffins are mostly considered a quick bread with raising agents such as baking soda and baking powder. English muffins have no connection to muffins in general, they come under the bread category and their raising agent is good old yeast. The dough does need to be proofed but you aren’t doing anything during that time.
Not that I want to confuse you any further about English muffins but there is a similar bread called crumpets that look like English muffins but they are more pancake like in texture and the preparation method varies from this one.
The recipe is inspired by King Arthur Baking Company and I must say it would be easier to make if you had a stand mixer. All the ingredients are added into the planetary mixer and beaten together to form a soft dough. This process takes a good 5 mins on medium heat. Hence if you were to do it by hand (which is possible) if would take you 15 mins to bring the dough together.
When it comes to resting the dough I like to let the dough rise for 1 hour at room temperature (27℃) until it has doubled in volume, I knock the dough back with my hands and form into a ball before leaving the dough to rest overnight in the fridge. I think this overnight proof does all the work for you. The dough becomes more elastic and less sticky making it easier to handle and the flavor is unbelievably better. The next morning, while the dough is still cold, shape into pieces and roll into balls. Flatten, and leave to rest on some semolina for 30 mins until risen. They are cooked over low heat, in heavy bottom pan without any fat.
Alternatively if you would like, allow the first proof to be done at room temperature for 2 hours, after which knock back, divide the dough and shape into balls before flattening. Leave to rest for 30 mins and cook as discussed. This way you can have them in the same day but the flavor isn’t as developed and the dough could be a little tricky to handle as it might be a little sticky.
Speaking of the dough being sticky, the initial mixing of 5 mins on medium speed is what helps this dough to be easily manageable. However I have made this dough by hand, it is possible to do so, you need to be patient and make sure to use your elbow grease to get the dough smooth. It will take longer than expected, also I like doing it in a large bowl so that everything stays in the bowl and doesn’t go all over the kitchen counter. Using a dough scraper does help but you don’t need it.
There are a few options for substitutes, however try to use a weighing scale as measurements are very important to ensure the ratios are accurate. A few substitutes are:
Flour – I have used all purpose flour and bread flour here, in a ratio of 50/50 but you could use all purpose flour 100% as well. If you use only bread flour you will get a chewier texture.
Semolina – You cannot substitute this with anything else, the semolina is not added into the dough but it helps the English muffins from not sticking to the tray while on its 2nd proof and also doesn’t stick to the pan while cooking.
Egg – If you are vegetarian and don’t want to use egg, use 40gm full fat yogurt instead, you won’t taste the yogurt but it will increase the fermentation process so keep an eye on your dough while proofing.
Butter – Any butter works in this recipe, I use unsalted so I can add the salt separately to my requirements but you can use any vegan butter spread as well. Nut butters won’t work here.
Milk – Ideally a full fat milk is the best option but you can use skimmed or any Vegan milk option as well.
Yeast – I have used Instant dry yeast but you can use active dry yeast as well, just make sure to let it bloom in a portion of the warm milk before mixing the dough together.
Once these English muffins are cooked, ideally you want to serve them warm with some butter, clotted cream or fresh fruit jam/preserve. If you want something savory make sure to check out the Eggs Benedict post. They are soft and chewy with a tiny bit of crunch when they are fresh. As they cool down they loose the crunch hence you can slice and toast them as required.
My mom loves slathering butter on them once toasted, adding granulated sugar and dipping them in coffee, it reminds her of “brun pav” (an Indian crusty bread) in her words. They keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days, ensure they are stored in air tight containers once completely cooled. They also last in your freezer for up to a month, hence you could have a home made English muffin any time you like.
Now that we have covered the basics, let us make some English muffins, Happy Kneading Ninjas!
Homemade English Muffins
- Planetary mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Scraper (optional)
- Baking tray
- Cling film
- Sauté pan
- 400 gm Warm milk
- 45 gm Butter melted
- 1 tsp Salt
- 20 gm Honey
- 1 Egg
- 270 gm All purpose flour
- 270 gm Bread flour
- 10 gm Instant yeast
- 50 gm Semolina
- In a planetary mixer add all the ingredients except for the semolina and using a paddle attachment mix everything initially on low speed until it comes together.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat the mixture until it forms a sticky dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating until the dough comes away from the sides and is not sticky. About 5 mins.
- Remove the attachment, cover and leave the dough to rise for an hours at room temperature.
- Once doubled in volume knock back with your hand and form into a ball, cover and leave to rest in the fridge over night.
- Next morning turn out the dough onto the kitchen counter, while still cold divide the dough into 16 piece.
- Shape into balls and flatten between your palms. Transfer to a baking tray sprinkled with semolina and leave to rest for 30 mins until risen.
- In a large sauté pan on low heat add the muffins (I could fit 5 in my pan, make sure not to over crowd the pan while cooking), cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins, they will rise at this point so check on them after 5 mins.
- Remove the lid and flip each one, cook for 8-10 mins until they are puffed up.
- Slice and serve with butter, honey or jam.
- Make sure the milk is warm and not hot or cold as if its too hot the yeast will die and if its too cold the yeast will be dormant and not activate.
- Be patient while beating the mixture together, it needs to form a dough. If the dough is very stick add unto 2 tablespoons of flour but it needs to be beaten well and once it proofs the flour with hydrate making it less sticky.
- Keep checking the heat while cooking the muffins as they can get browned ion the outside and stay raw in the center if you don’t keep the flame low.
- Recipe inspired by: King Arthur Baking Company