Homemade English Muffins

Toasted English Muffin

Have you ever thought about making English Muffins from scratch?  If not, maybe you should!  They are surprisingly easy and lots of fun to make.  You might not know this, but English Muffins are baked on a griddle rather than in the oven.  Since I am somewhat obsessed with watching things bake and have a tendency to plant myself on the kitchen floor in front of the oven glass, I love that these get baked on a griddle where I can get up close and personal!

I’ve made english muffins several times over the years, but this is my first time using Peter Reinhart’s recipe.  Yes, this is another installment from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge and it’s another great one!  Although sourdough english muffins are my favorite, these plain white muffins were outstanding!  Like many of the bread formulas in the book, this one calls for buttermilk, and I think that’s what made them so great.

The dough is very basic: flour, salt, yeast, a bit of sugar and shortening, and buttermilk.  Just mix it up in a bowl and then knead it until soft and smooth, tacky but not sticky.  It’s very important that the dough is not too stiff.  This is my dough after kneading:

English Muffin Dough

And a little more than an hour later, it has risen nicely.

English Muffin Dough Risen

Next, I divided the dough into six equal pieces and shaped them like dinner rolls.  I was careful with dough, taking care not to completely deflate it as I was shaping the muffins.  I placed the balls of dough on sheet of parchment that had been sprinkled with cornmeal.  Then I sprinkled cornmeal over the top of the dough, too.

Balls of Dough for English Muffins

I covered them with plastic and let them double in size, which took about an hour.

English Muffins Risen

I’ve found that the easiest way to bake the muffins is on a big electric griddle.  The temperature is easily controlled and you can bake the whole batch at once.  If you don’t have an electric griddle, you can use a stove top griddle, or whatever frying pan you have handy.  Cast iron works really well.  I heated my electric griddle to 350 degrees and I also preheated the oven to 350 degrees in case the muffins needed to be finished in there for the last few minutes.

When I placed the muffins on the griddle, they spread out just a little bit.  This is what should happen if your dough is soft enough.

English Muffins on the Griddle

Next they started puffing up!  It really is a lot of fun to watch the transformation up close!

English Muffins Puffed Up

After about 7 minutes, the bottoms were nice and brown and it was time to flip them over.  This is when they really start to look like english muffins!

English Muffins Flipped

Close-Up on Griddle

After they had cooked for another 7 or 8 minutes, I quickly transferred them to a baking sheet and into the oven for about 5 minutes, just to ensure that the middle was completely baked through.

Don’t they look perfect?  The hardest part is allowing them to cool for 30 minutes!  But like all bread, this is a crucial stage in the process.  The bread just isn’t finished until it has cooled a bit.

English Muffins Cooling on Rack

But I didnt wait too long!  The muffin was still slightly warm when I split it with a fork, buttered it, and topped it with blackberry jam.  Delicious!

Untoasted English Muffin with Butter and Blackberry Jam

But my favorite way to eat an english muffin is toasted with nothing but a little bit of butter (ok, maybe a lot of butter).

English Muffin Bite

Important:  Put those knives down!  English muffins should always be split with a fork if you want the signature nooks and crannies.  Push the fork into the side of the muffin, working your way around until it has been punctured all the way around.  Then gently pull it apart.

The recipe for these english muffins can be found on page 157 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  If you don’t yet own the book, there are several wonderful English Muffin recipes floating around the internet.  I’ll link to some of  them at the bottom of this page.

But first, here are some English Muffins from other BBA Challenge Members:

Thank you Mr. Reinhart for yet another wonderful bread!  And thank you everyone who is participating in The BBA Challenge with me, it’s been so much fun so far and we have many wonderful breads still to come!

The next bread in the book is Focaccia and I’ll let you in on a little secret:  I made the Focaccia last week and it is my new favorite bread from the book!  Simply amazing.  I’ll be sharing it with you soon!

Want to Join The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread, which is the first recipe in the book.  But first, please visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group!

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

English Muffin Recipes from Around the Web:

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  1. Denise

    Glad to know I’m not the only one making homemade english muffins. I had never throught of it or heard of it until I saw the recipe in a cookbook I bought with my grain mill. I would have never thought of them being finished on the stovetop until I read it!! Like you, I use my new electric skillet (received as a Christmas gift last year).

    Yours look beautiful, and seeing them makes me want to make some tomorrow morning!! Would be tasty to take on our road trip this week.

    7:09 pm  Sep 27th, 2009
  2. Katie

    Wow. Yours look so much better than mine. Mine never really flattened out, but your photos are inspiration to try again. My post is here:

    5:17 pm  Sep 28th, 2009
  3. Zozi

    Thank you so much Nicole, you really are teaching a masterclass on these pages! I read your post, then made them, and then read your post again to see where I went wrong. My kids loved the ones I made, and they tasted good, but it wasn’t untill I read your instructions again that I realised my dough was too stiff and that was why they didn’t look right or puff up when heated.
    I think you should set up classes in teaching your way through the BBA book when you’ve finished the challenge – if I lived in the States I’d come to them!
    Many thanks for your inspiring work.

    3:54 am  Oct 4th, 2009
  4. Denay

    Sport Chef just sent this Facebook message:
    “Go to “Pinch my Salt” for a scone recipe. A wonderful site that has a pumpkin scone. Happened upon the site, by accident, but a wonderful chance encounter. Now a favorite site. Enjoy…..

    Here I am and I am so glad I am visiting. This is a wonderful site…loving the photography. I just purchased the Bread Baker’s Apprentice and have not even taken it out of the Barnes and Noble sack yet, planned on reviewing next month, but now I’m going to jump right in and get started. I am a home-based baking instructor and I must tell everyone about the book and the “Pinch my Salt.”

    5:46 am  Oct 19th, 2009
  5. Abby

    Will definitely make these again! Mine didn’t spread like yours did (yours are beautiful, as always) and I’m wondering if it’s because the dough got too stiff…I used the KA to knead, so I didn’t really get a sense of the dough…think I’ll try it by hand next time. Here’s my post: http://mixitbakeit.blogspot.com/2009/10/bba-challenge-11-english-muffins.html

    7:49 pm  Oct 19th, 2009
  6. How’s Your Day Going? (English Muffin Adventure) «

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  7. Jojo

    Why, oh why, would you include so many USELESS PICTURES with your recipe? Do you think we are stupid? Do you think they enlighten us in how to make this oh-so-complicated recipe?

    STOP. THINK. Just because digital photography is easy does NOT mean that you have to shoot pointless pictures… it really is still a matter of common sense when to include a picture.

    1:25 pm  Nov 11th, 2009
  8. Denay

    These English muffins look amazing and I will definitely try the recipe. I have not made these in years and will pass this recipe and link on to my daughter who is a bread love, the perfect recipe for a novice. Thanks for sharing!

    2:48 pm  Nov 11th, 2009
  9. AP269

    your English muffins look amazing! I made mine about 3 months ago but are really late in posting my results. Here’s the link: http://ap269.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/bba-challenge-12-english-muffins/

    12:43 pm  Dec 12th, 2009
  10. A-Man

    The one and only for a great breakfast. Thank you for publishing the recipe.

    3:49 pm  Jan 22nd, 2010
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    […] These delicate piles of white are typically placed on a slice of sweet ham layered on half of an English muffin, and then they are topped with a thin custard-like sauce with a hint of lemon. Janet used a […]

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  12. pita bread

    How awesome. Never even thought of making english muffins from scratch, and I love them, especially with some peanut butter and blueberry jam. Heaven.

    2:48 pm  Mar 30th, 2010
  13. Kelly @ A Full Table

    These look divine! I could eat them all up right now. Thanks so much for sharing; I’ll be trying them soon.

    11:51 am  Sep 3rd, 2010
  14. Elise

    I used this dough tonight but I baked them in the oven. They turned out more like dinner rolls. I am definitely going to try them again soon and use a griddle as the recipe indicates.

    Also I’m finding now that it’s cooling down, my dough is rising so much more slowly. I think it’s time to fashion some kind of proofing box.

    8:28 pm  Oct 21st, 2010
  15. English Muffins « Pencil and Fork

    […] hard could they be to make? Actually, not hard at all. I was inspired by the beautiful photos on this post over at Pinch My Salt. Looking at the recipe though, I was slightly put off by the inclusion of buttermilk. It’s […]

    5:32 am  Nov 11th, 2010
  16. gluten-free English muffins

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    […] I suppose the best way to deal with English muffins is to make your own.   If you click on pinchmysalt.com you will find an illustrated recipe for making them which sounds easy enough.  I’ve never […]

    9:28 am  Mar 9th, 2013
  21. Leah

    This may sound silly, but how do you move your unbaked muffins from the parchment paper to the heated griddle without deflating them, or distorting their shape?

    7:00 pm  May 15th, 2013
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