The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Perfect English Muffins - light, lofty and full of HOLES

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Perfect English Muffins - light, lofty and full of HOLES

 


The dough is really just a few steps up from batter. The high hydration ensures the muffins will be light and lofty rather than dense, creating medium to fine “nooks and crannies”.


 


INGREDIENTS


2c            Warm Water
1T           Yeast
1/2c         Honey
1/2c         Sour Cream
4c            Bread Flour
2t            Salt
1c            Yellow Corn Meal


 


MIX DOUGH


Pour warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Add honey and whisk until dissolved. Add sour cream and continue to whisk until uniform, there may be some small pea sized bits of sour cream, which is fine. Combine flour and salt and start adding to the liquid. The amount of flour used will vary, the key is to get a dough that is very wet (cannot quite form a ball, but pulls away from the side of the bowl when worked). To mix and knead the dough I continually dip my hand in warm water and smoosh it about, the dough is about right when it is sticky but my hand will stay clean for two or three “smooshes” while I am kneading (to knead this dough I keep it in the bowl ). Knead for 5 minutes.


 


Cover and let rise, some cooking spray will help keep the dough from sticking to the cover and make it easier to push down while proofing. Let dough rise until double in size (about an hour), scrape sides and mix dough down. Repeat three or four times then cook.


 


COOKING


I use a large electric griddle to cook the muffins (Presto Tilt n Drain Big Griddle, awesome tool), any flat griddle should work. The dough is sticky, I dip my fingers in water between each muffin to help.


 


Sprinkle the griddle generously with corn meal. Cut apple size balls of dough and gently place them on the griddle, DO NOT over work the dough. You can pinch the edges to make a rounder shape, I never use rings. Spray tops with oil and sprinkle generously with corn meal.  Turn the griddle on high (appx. 450), cook the first side until it is golden brown on the bottom and the muffins have a nice loft. Gently flip the muffin taking care not to deflate it. Let cook on high for 5 min then reduce heat to medium (appx. 350) and continue cooking until the muffin is cooked through, will sound hollow to tap, about 15 minutes.


 



PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I'm going to give this recipe a try for sure!  WW English Muffins are very popular in our family.

BakerBen's picture
BakerBen

Very nice miffins and great description on dough consistency.  I have a couple of questions:


1. what kind of yeast - instant or dry active.  Sounds like you are blooming it in the warm water.


2. On the final rising do you punch down prior to making the apple size muffins ?


I am planning on trying this recipe too - thanks for sharing it. 


Ben


 

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

I use active dry yeast and bloom it for a few minutes. There is a lot of honey too which makes the bubbling fairly fool proof. I do not punch down prior to cooking, the dough is very wet so I like to leave those final bubbles in tact (it is not really "punchable" mostly I just stir down the edges toward the middle).


To get my little muffin I just scoop out some dough on my fingers, use scissors to snip it from the mother blob and plop it on the griddle. I used to start on a cool griddle and let it heat up with the muffins on there, but I think it does not matter a bit, just getting so the muffin has a nice long cook without getting overly brown. 


Let me know how it works out, I have never tried to write it down before (well, not for people who actually make bread lol). This has been a year long obsession, my Quest for Nooks and Crannies.

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Also of note, I am a sourdough failure so far. While I love the flavor I just have mad trouble getting it right. In this recipe I use the sour cream as a sort or "mock" sourdough effect. It works out pretty well, the final muffin has a high yeasty nose with just a bit of tang as well as some sweetness. 


A lovely spot of fresh butter and YUMMERS. When they get a little old I use a nice sharp cheddar on top =) They freeze well but also have a respectable shelf life.


Next I want to try semolina flour over the corn meal, I do use fairly "raw" corn meal (what is the word, non degerminatored or something), not the super processed stuff. Lovely nutty corn goodness.

BakerBen's picture
BakerBen

Again, thanks for sharing your recipe and providing the follow-up information.  I will definitely let you know how I do and the muffins too. 


I love sourdough and bake with it a lot.  The two things I will share with you are:


1. make sure your SD starter is happy and fed well - I started mine from scratch and feed it once a week if I am not baking with it.


2. You have to go at your SD starters pace - not your own schedule ... be patient and get to know the rising characteristics of your starter.  This will vary based on temparature (i.e. season of the year).


Good luck and don't be afraid to use your SD.


Ben

dcochran's picture
dcochran

they DO look perfect!  congrats!!

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Thanks for posting this!


 


I've tried three recipes for muffins (including one for sourdough muffins), and was disappointed by the lack of holes.  Tasted ok, but you know... the Quest for Nooks and Crannies is what matters!


I am going to have to find time to try your recipe....

maiasimon's picture
maiasimon

Hi, I have this recipe rising right now!  When you say, 'Let dough rise until double in size (about an hour), scrape sides and mix dough down. Repeat three or four times then cook', do you mean rise 3 or 4 times or scrape and mix 3 or 4 times?  


Thanks in advance...


Maia

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Maia, 


I am so excited you gave them a try. I was not home yesterday and did not see your post =/


I just give them a stir down every hour for 2 or 3 hours, it is very forgiving in this. Last time I made them I was interrupted after I cooked the first batch and let the dough sit another few hours while I went out, the remaining still came out fine.


How id it work out for you, I have never tried to write down a recipe that is "mine" before and fear I did not communicate sufficiently.


Cheers,
Jeannette


PS - I recently tried a batch replacing 1/2 the bread flour with whole wheat, and adding cinnamon and raisins. Delish =P

maiasimon's picture
maiasimon

They are wonderful!  My griddle is much too hot at 450, so I cooked them at 350 and they are still quite dark, but yummy.  I made them with half white whole wheat.  My husband wants cinnamon and raisins for the next batch.  


Thanks for sharing this recipe. It's a keeper.


Maia

applepearplum's picture
applepearplum

Hi!


I have been searching for a english muffin recipie that i can make with whole wheat, and am so happy to come across yours!


2 questions-


1- I would rather not make mine so sweet, and do not love honey.  Can I cut this down?  And do like 2 table spoons sugar persay?


2- I don't know how to tell how hot my griddle is.  I have a gas stove top.  Any suggestions.  Start at high heat?  And lower to mid?  Does that sound right?


Thank you so very much!


 

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

thank you!- Mine our on the griddle as i type- they are huge & look great- thank so very much!  = )


Margie

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

We ate them this morning & they were great.  My husband says they are the best I've made yet.  He is very picky ( in the restaurant industry - so it's a big compliment. )


I do have one question. Mine were just a big doughy inside. I think it's because they were so big & thick. I cooked them longer on the flat top on a lower heat but has anyone ever baked them in the oven after browning the outsides?


Thanks for any advice you could give!- Margie

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

We ate them this morning & they were great.  My husband says they are the best I've made yet.  He is very picky ( in the restaurant industry - so it's a big compliment. )


I do have one question. Mine were just a big doughy inside. I think it's because they were so big & thick. I cooked them longer on the flat top on a lower heat but has anyone ever baked them in the oven after browning the outsides?


Thanks for any advice you could give!- Margie

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I made these today.  My electric skillet set at 400 got them too dark, so I finished them in the oven, and undercooked them.  Nice nooks and crannies, but gummy crumb.  I'll try next time at 350 and cook them more fully on the skillet.


Also, I used medium ground corn meal and should have used fine ground.


Thanks for the recipe.  I hope to get it right next time.


Glenn

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

If your skillet has a well fitting lid, use it to help fully "bake" the muffins.


I use a large skillet w/lid on my electric stove top. 3.1 - 3.2 oz muffins(4"), burner set to lo -med, skillet w/lid preheated 6 - 8 min. 4 muffins at a time. I usually lightly mist the inside of the lid w/water.


6 minutes tops per side(12 min total). After cooling, muffins are always fully baked. Doughs are anywhere from 65 - 80% hydrated. Cooked at least 10 batches this summer. No doughy centers yet.

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I look forward to trying these. I make English Muffins now using a recipe found here on TFL by floydm. In that thread he recommend baking for 5 to 10 minutes if you are concerned about your muffin being "doughy" inside.  I always set my oven to 350 degrees and bake my muffins for 10 minutes.  They come out good and perfectly cooked all the way through. 


I use a cast iron griddle on a gas stove top for the initial cooking. I find that if I brown the outside very much, I get a rather tough "crust" on my muffin, so I only do a light browning on the outside, then bake. 


I get pretty good texture as long as I don't beat the dough up too much when rolling out and cutting.  But not the nice texture the photos here show.  So I will give this recipe a try.  And the sour cream is an interesting. I have not done a sourdough starter yet, but hope to in the future. Until then, the sour cream sounds like the way to go.


Tatoosh

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

Thanks for the tips- I will try them this week.  I love this recipe because it's very forgiving.  I missed one of the push down sessions & the dough was really high but I just did one less & they stil came out great!


Margie 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

For the covered skillet approach that I mentioned above, this formula will probably need about 7 -8 minutes per side, being it is so wet.

T Bake's picture
T Bake

I am wondering if we can make this in loaf pan? at what temperature and how long please?

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

I don't know about the recipe you were asking about, as I've only made them muffin style but this recipe works well for me- I bake it every 2 weeks.


http://www.kitchenparade.com/2008/10/no-knead-english-muffin-bread.php


It is really good!


Margie

T Bake's picture
T Bake

Thank you very much Margie. However, I would still like to know if anyone has tried this recipe posted here into a loaf pan. I see the holes and texture then I just fell in love with it. Meantime, will try your recipe (I came across this but never tried as the website doesn't show the texture inside). I like English muffin to be spongy and with holes. I have a 6 month old baby and really have no time. The dough seems not easy for a novice baker like me to handle and shape into small muffins.

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

hi- that recipe has great holes- as long as you don't add extra flour to the recipe.  To me the diference between the two recipes is the first one is more rich because of the sourcream and sweeter because of the amount of honey.  I actually think the loaf has better holes than the muffin recipe.   I've made both.  The loaf is easier for me but I love the muffin recipe's flavor.  Good luck hopefully someone here has tried it!


Margie

T Bake's picture
T Bake

I will try the loaf thank you

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Greetings,

Been gone a long time, life got crazy and all. I am happy some people tried the English Muffin formula, I still make them regularly as we eat them every day. I like them on the sweet side hence the generous amount of honey, I think you could cut that way down to minimize the sweet flavor, don't eliminate as that is part of the nooks and crannies (yeast and sugar having a party). Even with the amount of honey I use, it is not like they come out desert sweet, just a gentle sweetness for my eggs to ride on.

Griddle temp is very subjective. I got a new griddle recently and incinerated my first batch of muffins *lol*. I like it hot enough to get a good golden brown going on, but not so brown that they start to harden before the middle cooks. Gummy middles are a challenge, generally as long as I do not make the muffins too large and the hydration is right I get them cooked just on the griddle. You can finish them off in the oven if necessary.

Now that it is a year and change down the road, I stand by this formula as the easiest most fool proof path to yummy english muffins. As long as I keep the dough from crawling out of the bowl, and cook them within a couple of days, it seems to work out fine. They are a bit dull if cooked too soon (given how active the proof is, it can be tempting). I am a busy mom so an easy process is important to me, though I will not sacrafice yum factor.

My favorite additives are:
 * Blueberry puree and fresh blueberries, yum (if a bit purple)
 * Raisins and cinnamon (replacing half the white flour with WW)
 * Crumbles of sharp white cheddar cheese, OMG naughty but so nice…
 * Cheese and roasted garlic

Cheers,

J