Let me just get something out there… I LOVE English muffins!
They’re infinitely adaptable, and you can put essentially anything on them. Plus, what is it about toast that is so universally satisfying? I like them with (surprise surprise) almond butter! And jam, butter, egg, whatever.
That being said, I sort of assumed they were incarnated in perfect circular form. They’re sort of like a magical being: perfectly roundy and crusty with butter-grabbing pockets on the inside… it’s like they come perfectly formed out of the English muffin machine, straight onto my plate. weird. but delicious, so who’s going to argue?
Since I had some yeast sitting around though… and happened to stumble upon an English muffin recipe in the Breakfast Book (that wonderful publication), I thought I’d see what happened when I attempted some yeastified bread and became my own magical english muffin machine.
Look what happened!
Magical muffins. Not quite as perfectly formed as the ones you buy in the store, but BETTER. duh. These muffins have some personality and sass going on… like a party in the toaster when they get all up in your (toaster) grill. (ha. sorry). ANNNDDD… they’re way easy!
Adapted from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book. The recipe says it yields 16, but I think I had a few less than that.
1/2 c warm water (warm, not hot. we wouldn’t want to scald the yeasties, would we?)
1 package dry yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 c milk (I used one percent, I’m sure most other milk-type things would be fine too)
3.5 c whole wheat pastry flour!
3 tbsp olive oil or veggie oil
1/2 c cornmeal
Warm your water. Pour it into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes. Time to feed the yeast! Stir in salt, sugar, warm milk, TWO cups of flour, and the oil. Stir briskly to mix well. Add remaining flour and blend until smooth. This creates softy dough. Cover (I used plastic wrap, I think a towel would be fine too), and lets sit in a warm place (ie, the oven…just make sure it’s off!) and let double in bulk for about an hour.
Flour a board and your hands (because playing with your food is ALWAYS fun), turn the dough out onto the floured surface and knead several times (like 3 or 4). Push and pat it out until it’s about a 1/4 inch thick (or if you’re like me and have difficulty estimating thicknesses it can be thicker… you’ll just have fat english muffins. which is fine by me…). Using a roundy type cutting thing (really it doesn’t matter: cookie cutter, glass, jar top, whatever you have handy), cut out the circles and place them on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. When they’re all hanging out on the cookie sheet, cover them with a towel so they can nap, and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Heat a griddle until medium hot and lightly grease (we use coconut oil). Cook the muffins for 10 minutes on one side, and 5 on the other, at which point they should be done, providing you did everything properly. YAY!
These are even fork-split, which creates even more crevices that tasty things like butter and jam can hide in. Make sure you toast them—obvi english muffins should be eaten toasted but Marion makes a point about this, saying that “It is important to know that crumpets and english muffins are not ready to eat until they are toasted”. Good to know, just in case I was seized by some strange craving and decided to eat one raw…
Cheers! I’d go eat one myself, but sadly I’ve eaten them all, whoops. Time to make more :)