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Homemade English Muffins

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:

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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.

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!

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).

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: