Daisy: Please don’t tell me you gave away the English Muffins.
Me: Why? Are they good?
Me: Better than store-bought?
Daisy: A million times better!
Recently, in an effort to get athletic, I’ve been walking to a nearby bakery in the mornings for fresh bread. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a horse. I’m motivated to get to the bakery to get the goods and even more motivated to get back home to eat the goods!
While avoiding chemical-ridden store-bought bread and getting some fresh air every day, I have hardly lost any weight, thanks to my penchant for raisin-custard rolls. Therefore, I have made a new rule for myself: If I want it, I have to bake it myself.
Making bread at home has always been an intimidating feat, something I’ve left in the hands of professionals most of my life, except that one time when I was convinced I could (and I did) bake a lovely loaf in a cast iron pot.
Somehow, through all this, I gained the courage to attempt some of my favorites. Perched at the very top of my wish list are English Muffins, delightfully soft, crispy only in the crannies and welcoming of whatever is slathered upon them, sweet or savory.
To preserve all those gorgeous nooks & crannies, use a fork to pierce around the English Muffin. You can also use a knife to run a slice around. Then gently pry it open, toast and enjoy with aged cheese or butter with jam.
Homemade English Muffins
Prep: 10 mins
Rise: 1-2 hrs
Cook: 20 mins
5 Tb butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk, lukewarm
3 3/4 cups flour + more for dusting
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
Melt butter and brush some of it into a clean bowl. Set aside.
Heat milk just until barely warm to the touch (100-110 *F or 37-40*C).
Line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment paper or dust with semolina/flour. Set near the stove.
Into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or old-school style, just a big mixing bowl and wooden spoon), add flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
Beat the egg and combine with the tepid milk and melted butter.
Add to the dry ingredients and set the mixer onto the lowest setting just until the dough comes together in a ball, ~5 mins.
Once the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a bowl, transfer it into the buttered bowl, cover with plastic and place in a warm place.
Let it rest there 1-2 hrs, til it plumps up, double in size.
Dust a clean work surface with flour.
Gently turn the dough out and divide into half, each half into half.
Cut each quarter into 3 parts.
Now you should have 12 equal portions.
Roll each into a smooth ball, then flatten to a disc about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
Place onto the semolina-dusted baking sheet and shape another one, until all 12 have been prepared.
Place another baking sheet over the top and let the muffins rest another 30 mins.
Place a cast-iron skillet over a low flame.
Gently transfer muffins, 2 or 3 at a time to the skillet and cook 8-12 mins on each side.
Transfer to a cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remember these don’t have any preservatives and will mold sooner than expected.
To serve, use a fork to pry a muffin open and toast to your liking.
Serve warm slathered with butter & honey or marmalade or Nutella. Alternatively, you can go savory and make your own breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese, bacon or sausage and STUFF YOUR FACE.
After your first bite, you will never want store-bought English muffins again!