English Muffins

The perfect start to a breakfast English Muffins are the best.

 When I first started baking about 6 years ago one of the first yeast-based items I baked was English Muffins.  But that was before the advent of my Youtube channel.  Looking back at that recipe I see that it used a lot of yeast for the amount of flour.  

So today I thought I would make English Muffins again, but with not so much yeast.  Now although I am referring to these as English Muffins I really would like to simple call them muffins as that is how they were known in my childhood.  We used to sing a nursery rhyme which was called The Muffin Man, which was about a man who would sell these in the streets.  But with the passing of time and the widespread availability of the quick bread cakes, which we now know as muffins these have undergone a name change.

They are actually quite easy to make, but take some time as the dough proofs to rise once before the muffins are shaped and then again for a while before being cooked.  I say cooked, as opposed to baked, as these are made on a griddle or in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet. 

As they cook, firstly on one side and then on the other, the dough should cook through.  I was able to test that they were fully cooked by testing the internal temperature.  Mine tested at 93C/200f and were perfectly cooked.  However I have seen some recipes where a lid is placed over the pan during cooking on the first side.  I have also seen some recipes that cook on the griddle and then place them in the oven for a few minutes to finish them off.  For mine I had my griddle set at 170C/325F and they cooked through at that temperature.  On a stove top with a frying pan a low to medium heat will be required.

Mine turned out very well indeed, and they tasted so good, toasted and then buttered.  

They can also be frozen for later use too.

Another very British recipe, Crumpets, are closely related to English Muffins.

English Muffins

                                           English Muffins – Video

Ingredients:

  • 300g(2 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour, plain flour would be fine too
  • 6g (2 tsp) instant yeast (one packet will be fine as that is 7g)
  • 15g(4 tsp) sugar
  • 14g(1 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 170ml(3/4 cup minus 2 tsp) milk, lukewarm
  • 2-3 tbsp semolina, cornmeal or polenta to sprinkle on a tray to stand the muffins, and to sprinkle over
  • oil to lightly grease the cooking surface
Method:
  1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together and place into the bowl of a stand mixer( you can do everything by hand if you wish).
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the flour.
  3. Mix the milk, egg and butter together and pour into the bowl.
  4. Knead on a low speed until everything comes together into a shaggy dough.
  5. Increase the speed to medium and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is stretchy, quite smooth and soft.
  6. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then allow it to proof in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
  7. Flour the work surface and tip the dough onto it and press to flatten and knock out the air.
  8. Roll the dough out to a thickness of between 1.5cm and 2 cm(less than an inch).
  9. Using a 9cm(3 1/2 inch) cookie cutter cut out about 5 discs of dough.
  10. Re-roll the remaing dough and cut out again, repeating until you have 8 discs.
  11. Sprinkle semolina onto a baking tray and place each disc on the semolina.
  12. Cover the tray with a clean towel and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  13. Lightly grease and then heat the griddle or frying pan/skillet  ready to take the muffins for cooking.
  14. Place the muffins onto the baking surface(you may need to do this in batches).
  15. Allow them to cook for 7 minutes, without touching them.  They should brown on the underside during that time, but they should not burn.  If you think they are burning you need to adjust the heat.
  16. The muffins will rise somewhat during cooking on the first side.
  17. Turn them over and cook for another 7 minutes, until they have turned a darkish brown colour on that side too.  At this point they should be fully cooked through.  
  18. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
 

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