♫ Cooking to Dreamers by Savoir Adoire
English muffins are my weakness. Perhaps it started out when as a child I became obsessed with Eggs Benedict, ordering it every single time my family went to the neighborhood diner for breakfast. Or maybe it was when I discovered that I could eat them anytime with anything — a poached egg, a slice of cheese, a dollop of peanut butter, or just a shmear of salted butter.
So when I came across this NY Times recipe for whole wheat English muffins, I was beyond excited to give it a try. I made them a few times, and found them to be a rustic variation of traditional English muffins (post coming soon!) And actually, that recipe inspired me to make plain English muffins for the first time. After about 5 test batches, adapted from King Arthur Flour’s recipe, I ended up with muffins that tasted even better than store-bought. They’re a perfect balance of dense and fluffy, with plenty of nooks and crannies when split open.
Since there aren’t any preservatives in these all-natural muffins, you’ll need to keep them chilled. Kind of makes you wonder what’s in the store-bought muffins, right? These will last about a week in the refrigerator, or you can freeze them. I individually wrapped them in plastic wrap, placed them in airtight bags, and stored them in the freezer. Whenever I want one or two, I’ll pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds and they’re ready to be toasted or eaten right then. Or, you can let the muffins thaw in the refrigerator.
Tip: To get the best nooks and crannies, use a fork instead of a knife, to split the muffin. Separate the muffins by wiggling the fork from the middle and gently working your way through.
This recipe calls for few unique kitchen gadgets, which I find pretty useful for many other recipes:
- Digital food thermometer: I prefer using a model that has a probe wire. It’s super useful if you want to check the temperature of something in the oven (roast chicken, turkey, etc.) and don’t want to keep opening the oven door. The probe is oven-safe, so you can leave it in the oven with the main unit outside the oven.
- English muffin rings: While you could go for a more rustic look with these muffins, I highly suggest spending the $15 and buying two sets of these rings to ensure identical, round muffins. You can use them for many other baking projects too!
- Stand mixer: Yep, a KitchenAid. Save up and buy it if you don’t have already have one. It’s not just for baking — you can get attachments to make your own pasta and freshly ground meat.
- Electric griddle: Nothing fancy here. You just need the same griddle you’d use to cook pancakes and fry bacon. Non-stick is definitely preferred, or else you’ll have to use cooking spray to ensure these muffins don’t stick.
- 1¾ cups 2% milk
- 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 4½ cups (540 grams) bread flour (I use King Arthur brand)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (I use Fleischmann's Rapid Rise)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Farina (also known as Cream of Wheat)
- To warm the milk to lukewarm temps, measure it out then microwave for 75-80 seconds. Use a food thermometer to make sure it's between 98°-105°F degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add milk, butter and egg to the dry ingredients. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix ingredients on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be ready once the texture is smooth and shiny, and it starts to remove from the sides of the bowl and into a ball shape.
- Once done, form a rough ball with the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Also wrap a kitchen towel around the bowl and let rest in a dark warm area (I put mine on the stovetop). Let dough rise for 1½ to 2 hours; it should roughly double in size.
- Place 8 muffin rings on the griddle, and generously sprinkle farina inside the rings.
- After dough has risen, gently deflate it by punching down on it lightly. The dough will be sticky so the easiest way to manage it is with your hands. Start pulling sections of the dough, roughly ⅓ cup of dough, and dropping them in the rings. While in the rings, the dough will need to be stretched with your fingers, by pressing it against the inside rim of the muffin rings. It will stick to the rings and cook in the round shape. Repeat for remaining 7 muffins.
- Cover muffin rings with parchment paper, and let dough rest and rise for 20 minutes. The dough will be about ½ way up the side of the ring (it will continue to puff up as it cooks). Sprinkle more farina on the tops of the muffins.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat the griddle to 250°F, and let muffins cook for 10-15 minutes on each side. The muffins are ready when the crusts are golden brown.
- Finish muffins in oven for 10 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy them best by splitting them with a fork, to ensure maximum nooks and crannies!