Thursday, April 28, 2011

English Muffin-ish

If you saw my posts on Facebook and Twitter this weekend, you know that I set out to make English Muffins on Saturday. And no, it was not the royal wedding that compelled me to do it. English muffins are on my recipe wishlist, and I've been wanting to try them for quite some time.

As usual, I didn't do my homework before I embarked on this project. So I had no idea what to expect and I had no other recipes to which I could compare the one I chose. I simply spotted it in my Cooking Light cookbook and said "Let's do it!"

Had I done my homework, however, I would have achieved more successful results. It's not that my English muffins weren't good. They were fine. But they were missing an integral element ... they were missing what makes an English muffin an English muffin ... they were missing the nooks and crannies!

Since my foray into English muffin-making, I've done a lot of research. I've learned that Thomas' nooks and crannies are extremely proprietary. I've learned that Alton Brown has a recipe that a lot of bloggers think is perfect. I've learned that the wetter the dough, the airier your muffins. And most importantly, I think, I've learned that griddling is an important step in the process.

Now I vaguely recall seeing a bit about English muffins on an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." And I remember those muffins being griddled. Why that didn't occur to me when my recipe called for just baking, I don't know. But I wish it had, because I would have looked further than just one book before I set foot in the kitchen.

So my quest for perfect English muffins will continue, but in the meantime, here's my passable recipe:

English Muffins
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cook milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180 degrees or until tiny bubbles form around edges (do not boil). Remove from heat. Pour milk into a large bowl. Stir in oil, sugar, and salt. Cool mixture to about 90 degrees.

Dissolve yeast in warm water (100 to 110 degrees); let stand 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture, 3 cups flour, and egg to milk mixture, stirring well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Punch dough down, and divide in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll each portion to 1/4-inch thickness. Let dough rest about 5 minutes. Cut with a 4-inch biscuit cutter into 8 muffins. Place muffins on a large baking sheet. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough. Cover and let ride 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn muffins over, and bake an additional 7 minutes or until light and fluffy.


  1. Caaaaaaaaarbs, perfect carbs!! Nooks and crannies or not, I bet these were delicious with butter, or jam, or peanut butter, or cream cheese... or all of the above! :D

  2. I actually did a fair amount of research the other night and I think I know what I need to do to get the nooks and crannies. I have too many other things on my list, so it might be a while before I tackle English muffins again...but I will eventually!