For years I've purchased English muffins at the grocery store, 6 of them snuggled up together in their plastic sleeve. I always assumed that it took some sort of special commercial machinery to produce them, with that divot around the middle that says, "cut here." A few weeks ago my daughter asked for help with English muffins. I started searching cookbooks and the internet for recipes and was amazed at the number of variations there were. Some said you had to have 8 individual rings to cook the muffins in. Some called for lots of baking powder. Some called for none.
On a couple of blogs I found tasty looking muffins that were made using the King Arthur flour recipe, so I tried that. Oh, my! The grocery store muffins are but a pale imitation of the beautiful, light, fluffy English muffins I got with this recipe. I've become so enamored with it that I've made 3 batches of them. They are heavenly fresh off the griddle and very possibly even better when cooled and toasted.
And that little "cut me" divot? It happens all on it's own when you flip the muffins on the griddle. I felt so proud when I saw them. I'd made real English muffins! (Pats self on the back and reaches for the butter.)
Note: I have a nonstick griddle and it was only after the second batch that I figured out the cornmeal was scratching up the griddle surface. If your pan or griddle is non-stick, I don't recommend sprinkling it with cornmeal.
Heavenly English Muffins
- adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) milk, warm
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 to 4 1/4 cups (17 to 18 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Place the ingredients in the pan of your bread machine following the manufacturer's instructions. Use the "dough" or "manual" setting. After the cycle is complete, transfer the dough to a cornmeal-sprinkled surface and roll it out until it's about 1/2-inch thick. The dough will be very soft and a bit sticky. Sprinkle the surface with a bit of flour, if needed, to roll out the dough. Cut out circles with a floured 3-inch cutter. Re-roll and cut out the leftover dough. Cover the muffins with a damp cloth and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Heat a frying pan or griddle to low heat. Do not grease, but sprinkle with cornmeal. Cook four muffins at a time, cornmeal side down first, for about 7 minutes a side.
Check after about 3 to 4 minutes to see that the muffins are browning gently and are neither too dark nor too light; if they seem to be cooking either too fast or too slowly, adjust the temperature of your pan or griddle.
When the muffins are brown on both sides, transfer them to a wire rack to cool, and proceed with the rest. If you have two frying pans (or a large griddle), you'll be better able to keep up with your rising muffins. Yield: 16 muffins.