Try making your English muffins at home instead of buying them at the store.
PHOTOS: TIM CARLSON

Foodie Favorite: English muffins

Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside

By Tim CarlsonKENOSHA.COM

Amateur baker and lover of all things food, Carlson enjoys finding new recipes and learning techniques to perfect his love and appreciation for whole foods.

English muffins have been one of my favorite foods since I was a child. Almost three decades later, I still have a muffin almost daily. After finding this recipe, I have not purchased English muffins from the store, as these are much better! They are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and have just the perfect amount of tang from the sourdough. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp (25g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (454g) warm water (110°F-115°F)
  • 1 Tbsp active dry or instant yeast 
  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard; ripe will give you a more vigorous rise
  • 7 cups (840g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (56g) nonfat dry milk
  • 4 Tbsp (57g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp (18g) salt 
  • Semolina flour or yellow cornmeal, for coating

Instructions:

  • Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the dough ingredients, except the cornmeal/semolina, in a large bowl.
  • Mix and knead — by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine — to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s noticeably puffy. For most pronounced sour flavor, cover the bowl, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (without rising first). Let the dough chill for 24 hours; this will develop its flavor.
  • Gently deflate the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes, to relax the gluten. Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll 1/2″ thick, and cut in 3″ rounds. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  • Alternatively, divide the dough into 24 pieces (total). Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 3″ round. For a somewhat more even rise as the muffins cook, flatten each ball slightly larger than 3″, and trim edges with a 3″ cutter (or trim all around the edge with a pair of scissors). Muffins with cut (rather than flattened) sides will rise more evenly.
  • Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled baking sheets (12 per sheet). Sprinkle them with additional cornmeal or semolina, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight, the rise time will be about 2 hours.
  • Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) right-side up to a large electric griddle preheated to 350 degrees, or to an ungreased frying pan that has been preheated over medium-low heat.
  • Cook the muffins for about 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190 degrees. The edges may feel a bit soft; that’s OK.
  • Remove the muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 4 or 5 days; freeze for longer storage.
  • Enjoy!

Tips:

  • I’ve found that each ball of dough should weigh about 67-68 grams. When I form my muffins, I’ll cut 67-68g of dough, then roll it into a ball. 
  • Because I like having all the muffins even in size, I use English muffin rings. I simply dust a pan with semolina flour (I favor this over cornmeal) and place an English muffin ring in the pan. Then I place the dough in the ring and press down to fit the ring evenly. Repeat the process and dust the tops semolina flour. 
  • If you don’t have a sourdough starter, here’s a recipe for one: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe
  • For best sourdough flavor, refrigerate the dough for 24 hours before shaping and cooking the muffins.
  • This recipe is easily halved, if you don’t want to make two dozen muffins. Halve all of the ingredients; for a slightly faster rise, use 2 teaspoons yeast, rather than 1 1/2 teaspoons.
  • I have an electric griddle that works great; however, before using a griddle, I used a cast iron skillet that worked fine. The only problem is that the skillet would fluctuate with temperature, which means I was constantly temping and changing the heat.

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