English Muffins

Feb. 21, 2023, noon

Yes! You can make delicious English muffins in your own kitchen. They are easy and taste wonderful!

This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and makes 16 large muffins.

1 3/4 cups (397g) milk, lukewarm
3 tablespoons (43g) butter, softened
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups (540g) bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
semolina or farina, for sprinkling the griddle or pan

Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the ingredients (except the semolina or farina) in a mixing bowl, or the bucket of your bread machine.
This is a very soft dough, so you'll need to treat it a bit differently than most yeast doughs. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny; this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift up the beater, the dough will be very stretchy. If you have a bread machine, simply use the dough cycle.
Scrape the dough into a rough ball, and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise until it's nice and puffy; this will take 1 to 2 hours or so.
Prepare your griddle(s). Using two griddles allows you to cook all the muffins at once; but since you probably don't have two griddles, you'll need to cook the muffins in shifts. Whatever you use — an electric griddle, stovetop griddle, frying pan, electric frying pan — sprinkle it heavily with semolina or farina. If you're using a griddle or frying pan that's not well-seasoned (or non-stick), spray it with non-stick vegetable oil spray first, before adding the semolina or farina.
Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they're about 3" to 3 1/2" in diameter.
The easiest way to handle and cook these muffins is to lay them right onto the cold surface you'll be frying them on. That way, you don't have to move them once they're risen; and they won't mind cooking very slowly as you fire the griddle up to its desired heat. If you don't have enough griddle space to do this, sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with semolina or farina, and place the muffins on the sheet; they can be fairly close together. Either way, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional semolina or farina.
Cover the muffins (a piece of parchment works well), and let them rest for 20 minutes. They won't rise like crazy, but will puff a bit.
Cook the muffins over low heat for 7 to 15 minutes per side, until their crust is golden brown, and their interior is cooked through. When done, the center of a muffin should register about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. If you find the muffins have browned before they're cooked all the way through, no worries; simply pop them into a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes or so, or until they're thoroughly cooked.
Remove the muffins from the griddle (or oven), and let them cool thoroughly before enjoying. Remember: use a fork to split, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies; knife-cut ones won't.

If you have a sourdough starter, I commend the following recipe to you. It is from Farmhouse on Boone and makes 12 muffins. It is much simpler than the yeast recipe, as long as you keep a sourdough starter.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup fed sourdough starter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (optional, see notes)
coconut oil

The night before you want sourdough English muffins, stir in a glass bowl: 
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup fed sourdough starter.
Cover it with a towel and let it sit at room temperature for 12- 24 hours. You can get away with a longer in the cooler months and the fermentation process can take less time in the summer if your house is hot.
After it has fermented, add to the mixture:
1 tablespoon honey 
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda.
Preheat your cast iron skillet on high and add a little coconut oil.
Mix the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated. You will probably have to use your hands for this. The dough will be pretty thick. NOTE: If the dough feels runny, add a bit more flour. It should be workable, yet not stiff. If the English muffins turn out flat like pancakes, it is a good indication they need more flour. 
Divide the dough in 12 equal parts and drop each portion of dough into a hot cast iron skillet.
Reduce the heat to low for about 10 minutes so the dough has a chance to rise.
Let them cook until doubled in size. Turn the skillet up to medium/low and continue to cook until they are browned slightly on the bottom. Don’t try to flip them until they come up easily from the pan. The goal is to only flip them one time.
Cook them on the other side until browned. These English muffins have a tendency to cook on the outside before the inside is fully done. So, be sure to not turn the skillet up too high. If they are browned on the outside, but still not done on the inside, throw them in a 250 to 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Alternatively, you can put a lid on and allow them to cook on low.
After they are cooked all the way through, slice them open and enjoy!
Substitute milk for water if you would like.
You can skip the second rise as long as you add in the baking soda. Alternatively, you can do no baking soda and allow them to rise for an hour after dividing/shaping, before cooking.
As with any recipe, the type of flour you use, as well as humidity and quality of the starter, will cause each situation to need slightly different amounts of flour. As you get familiar with this recipe you will know exactly how much flour is needed by feel. If your English muffins are turning out like pancakes, you definitely need more flour. They should not be flat.
Also, cooking technique does have a lot to do with it. The dough needs to hit a hot cast iron skillet, so that it doesn't stick, but the heat needs to be quickly reduced so they have a chance to rise and cook through.