Making English muffins from scratch is much easier than you think. You don’t even need an oven. There are plenty of recipes out there that look promising (each with different dough consistency, method, fermentation time, etc…), including one I’ve bookmarked in my favourite bread making book (Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley), but today I present a relatively fast and simple recipe adapted from beautiful French blogger extraordinaire, Mimi Thorisson.
These muffins can be made within an hour and half. (That’s a good thing to know, especially on days when you wake up craving a certain breakfast sandwich from a certain fast food chain.)
Because the rise time is so short, the muffins won’t have time to develop much flavour. (Longer rise time = more flavour.) Buttermilk, which adds a bit of a tang, will help give it some depth. But don’t worry if you don’t have any, water works just fine.
Another great thing about this recipe is that you won’t need those English muffins molds. The dough is firm and can be rolled and cut (or shaped by hand), then pan fried. The muffins will puff up once they hit the pan. If you prefer thinner muffins, lightly press them down. (Also, if your muffins look misshapen and weird, like mine on the first try, that’s totally fine!)
Once baked, cut the muffins open and toast. (In our hungry rush to eat, we didn’t even think of toasting the muffins! Shame. Just imagine the photo of the muffin above all brown and toasted.)
Homemade English Muffins
Recipe adapted from Mimi Thorisson’s Eggs Benedict post.
300 g (1 1/4 cup) of lukewarm water or buttermilk
560 g (3 1/2 to 4 cups) of all-purpose flour
10 g of fresh yeast / 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
2 eggs whites, beaten to soft peaks
1/2 cup of coarse cornmeal
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, pour the lukewarm water and/or buttermilk and mix in the yeast. Add in the dry ingredients followed by the egg whites. Mix well until smooth. (If it doesn’t seem like the dough will combine, use your hands to pinch them together.) Once the dough starts to stick together, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until elastic and silky. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a clean cloth. (To prevent the dough from drying, I sometimes rub a bit of oil over the dough.) Let rise 1 hour in a warm place.
Once risen, roll out the dough and cut out into rounds using a cookie cutter or a glass. Dip the dough in cornmeal and let rest for another 30 minutes.
While the dough is proofing, heat a slightly oiled frying pan or skillet until hot. Reduce to medium high and fry each muffins on the pan for 4 minutes on each side. If it seems like the English Muffins are burning, reduce the temperature.