I always wanted to learn how to make English Muffins.

Of course the gold standard for most people is Thomas' English Muffins.  So that was my goal in finding a formula that was just as good.

While you'll notice minor differences, you won't be at all disappointed.  This formula is as close as I've ever been able to come and they are delicious.  I even prefer them over Thomas'.
English Muffins

Ingredients:


  • 20 ounces bread flour
         (plus 5 oz for counter)
  • 1 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp SAF instant yeast (7 grams)
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tbs butter (softened)
  • 2 tsp salt

Yellow corn meal for sprinkling

Preparation:

Have ready a seasoned cast iron griddle (no sides)

Put the milk, water and vinegar in a measuring cup and warm in the microwave for about 40 seconds.

In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm liquids to the flour.  Add the butter and the egg.  Set the mixer to the first speed to combine the ingredients.  Once combined, turn the mixer off and cover the bowl for 20 minutes.

Put the hook back into the bowl and add the salt and knead the dough for 5 minutes.  It will be very wet.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 40 minutes.

Put the hook back into the bowl and knead the dough for about 10 seconds.  Cover again and let rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the above step and cover the bowl for 20 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter (I use half of the sprinkling flour and the remainder of the sprinkling flour to dust my hands).  Dust the top with flour and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Poke the dough down with the tips of your fingers. Do this sparingly.  The goal is to flatten the dough, but not toughen the dough by too much handling.  Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball by pressing down the dough somewhat flat and bringing the sides together and squeezing them to make them stick.  Turn the ball over so the tight skin is upright.  Set each ball onto an oiled cookie sheet or pan.  Let the balls rest for 10 minutes.

With your fingers, press each ball into a flat circle about 4 inches across.  Dip and press each circle into a plate of corn meal and turn to repeat.  Cut each circle with a 3 inch sharp round cookie cutter.  Discard scraps.  Set the circle onto a piece of parchment that has been sprayed with PAM and sprinkled with corn meal.

Place as many circles as will fit without touching onto a cold cast iron sideless skillet.  Turn the heat to medium low.  Let the muffins cook on each side until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Remove the pan from the heat to cook remaining batches, returning it to the heat when you bake the second side of the circles.  By cooking the first side off the heat, using only the heated metal of the pan, it prevents them from browning too much before cooking the inside.  Then place it back on the heat for the second side as the metal will have cooled sufficiently by then and will need to be reheated to finish up the second side.

Fork split each muffin when cool.  Eat immediately or freeze in freezer proof plastic bags.

Cook's Notes:  I use cast iron skillets for these muffins.  I start with it cold and set the heat to medium low.  If you have two skillets it makes it much easier as one can be cooling down, while the other is heating up.

Press the rounds rather flat as they puff up quite a bit when frying.

The original formula called for 29 oz of flour total, including the 5oz for the counter, but I found I liked it better with 4 oz less.  You can adjust to your preference.

Although I have not tried it as yet, some bakers add baking soda mixed with a little water in the last turn of the dough hook before removing the dough from the bowl and setting it to rest on the counter.