The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crooks and Nannies

proth5's picture

Crooks and Nannies

No wait, strike that – reverse it.


Summer is here and it’s too hot to fire up the oven which makes it a perfect time to take the electric griddle outside and make English muffins.


The problem, of course, is getting those great nooks and crannies.  My old formula and technique got me plenty of little holes in the muffins, but not those great nooks and crannies (well, the little holes caught the melting butter, but still, the drive for “just a little better” is strong.)


So I thought about both my formula and my technique.


I was using an adaptation of the King Arthur “English Tea Cakes” recipe which calls for beating the dough for 5 minutes in a mixer.  I thought about “Batter Whipped” bread and how beating the dough caused its fine texture.  Then I thought about baguettes.


Well, English – French, different, but in the end – all European.  So I thought I would adapt my baguette technique for my English Muffins.


I use King Arthur All Purpose flour.

Makes about 6 

The formula:


Levain Build

Starter    .65 oz (100% hydration)

Flour      .95 oz

Water     .95 oz


Let ripen overnight.


Final Mix

All of the levain build

Flour                9.25 oz

Salt                   .16 oz

Dry Milk         1.25 oz

Sugar                .55 oz

Vegetable oil    .55 oz

Water              9.25 oz


Mix to a loose batter.  Four times at 30 minute intervals, stir 30 strokes with a spoon or spatula.


Let rise until domed and bubbly.  Do not let it collapse.  This particular batch took about 3 hours at this phase.


Baked in greased muffing rings on a lightly greased griddle at 325F.  8-9 mins per side.


The results. 

(I'm no photographer - that's for sure...) 

Finally the nooks…


tbednarick's picture

Wow, those look fantastic.  It's interesting to read the thoughts behind processes especially when the results are so good.

And how  did they taste?

proth5's picture

I've used this formula for some time and comments from tasters (with whom I had no contact) say that they like them and would pay money for them if they could.

So I guess they are OK...

rohvan's picture

 G'day.Yes,they do look yummy.But what you guys call English Muffins,we in Australia(and also our former colonial masters,England)call them "Crumpets".Muffins are muffins,higher and with a crust on top.Baked in "Texas"muffin tins.  



weavershouse's picture

You have great nooks and crannies in those muffins and I can't wait to try your recipe to see if I can do the same. Great job.                                             weavershouse

Janedo's picture

I've never made English muffins. I don't have the rings. But I'll keep your formula on hand because they looks lovely. Thanks for sharing.


proth5's picture

This particular formula is thick enough that you might be able to do "free form" muffins on the griddle.

Read with interest your account of the trip to Paris.  A class with Mr. Bouabsa?  That's worth the flight to Paris...


Happy Baking!

Janedo's picture

About the baguette recipe. It works! I'm more than thrilled.


proth5's picture

You mean Mr Bouabsa's of course, no?  One would hope so...

We look forward to the post of your results.

Janedo's picture


As you are a baguette expert, maybe you could try it and post your results. I'd love to know your opinion.


MaryinHammondsport's picture

If Proth5 says this batter is thick enough to make without rings, I'd go for it. I almost wrote you to that effect, but not knowing this particular recipe, I held back.

I have made the E. Muffins in BBA without rings and it works just fine. They don't look store-bought, but your gang will devour them with butter and honey. Probably you will too. 


Janedo's picture

OK, then, I'll give it a shot! I used to love english muffins but haven't had one in years.


holds99's picture

Very nice.  Beautiful crust and open crumb with lots of nice holes for butter (and marmalade).  Thanks for posting the recipe, I will give them a try. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

proth5's picture

Thanks for you kind words.  I don't usually post the weekly output, but I thought it interesting how a switch from "common wisdom" made such a big change.

Yes, marmalade... The canning season is in full swing and my thoughts are more on jam than bread.  One must can while the weather is hot or risk regret when the winter winds blow and we have bread with no jam...

Stay cool.