To be honest, I had never thought to make English Muffins before this year. I use to think that they were something that must be store-bought; here is last year’s taste test from Cooks Country.
But English Muffins are the easiest of all yeasted breads that I have made this year. They aren’t even baked, just cooked on a griddle for a few minutes. Also one of the advantages of making them at home is that you use better ingredients: cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, butter instead of soybean oil, buttermilk instead of nonfat milk. Also you can skip the Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and Monoglycerides.
The recipe deserves 4-1/2 stars. I have reduce this batch to 4-stars, because of the few minor mistakes I made (see below). Definitely worth the effort. Next time I want to try the whole wheat with raisins, which tend to be a little pricey at the supermarket.
RECIPE UPDATE: I made recipe using a starter, which made them taste even better. See update here.
2 1/4 cups flour (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2/3 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup buttermilk
cornmeal for sprinkling
- Measure flour and salt into bowl of standing mixer, fitted with dough hook.
- If substituting clabbered milk for buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Turn on oven, then turn it off immediately once it reaches 200-degrees.
- Spray large bowl with vegetable spray.
- In a Pyrex measuring cup (or bowl) heat buttermilk, butter in microwave for 55 seconds until reaches between 100 and 110 degrees. Whisk in sugar, and dry yeast. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Start standing mixer on lowest setting, and slowly add milk/yeast mixture.
- Turn up to medium-low until well incorporated and a sticky ball of dough is formed, about 3 minutes.
- Put dough into a prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm (but turned off) oven for one hour.
- Gently scrape out onto a floured surface, without punching down. Shape or roll into rectangle about 1/2-to-3/4 -inch thick.
- Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter to form rounds. (I used large overturned plastic cup)
- Spread cornmeal over wax or parchment paper. Place the circles of dough onto the cornmeal.
- Dust the tops liberally with cornmeal. Top with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour.
- Preheat a dry griddle or large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Carefully use a spatula to place a few rounds onto the skillet. Brown each side for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Let cool for 20 minutes on wire rack. Split using a fork (never a knife).
- I used a bowl without a lip to activate the yeast, and accidentally spilled some when pouring into the standing mixer. I hadn’t realized that I had lost so much, so it left the dough to slightly dry. The lower hydration level meant fewer nooks and crannies.
- I started cooking them on medium-high, so the first side of the first batch was too toasted. They need to be cooked on medium.
- Because I don’t have buttermilk, I added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Here is Cook’s Illustrated discussion on buttermilk substitutes.
Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: 55-cents, for 6 muffins.
How much work? Small.
How big of a mess? Small/Medium.
Start at: 6:00 AM. Ready at: 9:00 AM.