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Make Your Own English Muffins (Otherwise Known As: My Greatest Bread-Making Success!)

Holyyy.

COW.

I’ve never had a bread-making success equal to this one before!  In fact, I’ll be honest and fully admit that I consider my bread-making skills pretty amateur.  It is an ancient art form that I have barely scratched the surface of.  Oh sure, I have ample appreciation for eating perfect bread… really, nothing can beat it!  But few have truly mastered the art of making it.

But let me tell you something.  This book has taken me beyond amateur-lever.  I’ve mentioned it about a million times already, but I’m newly obsessed with Cookwise.  (And I’ve barely finished Chapter 1!)  But already it has increased my know-how on all things flour, dough, and bread.  And these English Muffins are Exhibit A!  I found the original recipe on the Williams Sonoma blog, and have adapted it here to incorporate the new bread-making techniques I’ve picked up from Cookwise.

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Homemade Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins (Made in your stand mixer!)

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One thing this book has taught me is that flour matters.  Apparently, I can’t just go to the grocery store and throw any old bag of all-purpose into my cart and expect to end up with a flavorful, well-textured yeast bread.  (You know what I mean by well-textured?  That perfectly crackly crust and and inside that’s so silky it’s almost gelatinous??)  Well, you get that from gluten.  (Yes, gluten.  The evil G-word… which actually isn’t evil at all.  It’s quite miraculous, in fact!)  Gluten develops when flour is moistened and kneaded.  It forms strong elastic sheets that are able to trap air pockets in the dough, allowing yeast to work its magic and create beautifully risen bread.  Don’t you just love bread with big ol’ nooks and crannies inside?  Anyway, some flours (like cake flour for instance) are very low in gluten.  You want to look for a high-protein “bread flour”, such as this one.  I found it at my regular grocery store!

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Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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Another thing this book has taught me is that the flavor of my bread is directly proportionate to how much time I’m willing to allow the yeast to ferment.  A quick bread (while delicious in its own way) will not have the amazing “sourdough” quality of one that is kneaded and allowed to rise and ferment slowly.  I’ve been experimenting with this technique quite a bit lately, and I’ve loved the results!  (Recently I changed up my favorite pizza dough by giving it a nice “sourdough” edge!)

So here’s what I’m proposing you do.  Wait for a nice, lazy Saturday, when time is on your side and you have nowhere to be but relaxing at home.  Pull out your stand mixer and a bag of bread flour, and make your family (or yourself, ahem!) a batch of these mouth-wateringly perfect English muffins.  Smother them with butter and jam.  Fry up an egg and make a little sandwich.  Toast one and mash a ripe avocado into it.  Or knead some plump little raisins and a swirl of cinnamon sugar into the dough (like I did!)  You will seriously go to bed feeling like a domestic goddess that night.  You will blow yourself away with your baking prowess!

Shall I show you how to make them?  (Side Note: This tutorial is pretty detailed.  NOT because these are hard to make, but because I wanted to make sure to show every step since most of us probably haven’t made English muffins before.  So feel free to pin now and read through the details later when your next lazy Saturday rolls around and you’re feeling in the mood to bake bread!  Did you know every image on this site has a “Pin It” button on it?  Just roll your mouse over the image and it will appear!)

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Alright, these English muffins call for a very humble smattering of ingredients… bread flour, buttermilk, yeast, sugar, salt, honey, butter, a bit of cornmeal, and some raisins and cinnamon (if using.)  Warm the buttermilk, pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer along with the sugar, mix lightly to combine, and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Allow the yeast to sit in the warm milk for a few minutes until it becomes slightly foamy.

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Next, add in the honey, butter, and half of the bread flour the recipe calls for.  (This is important.  Adding half the flour now and half later will help us create delicious sourdough flavor in our dough.)  Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, beat the flour, honey, and softened butter into the liquid mixture on medium/low speed (level 4 or so), for about 2 minutes.  This will incorporate air pockets into the dough (which at this point is actually called the “sponge”) and the air pockets are important for achieving those signature “nooks & crannies” we all love in English muffins.

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Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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Ideally, the sponge would be left to sit for 2 1/2 hours, but even 30 minutes of sitting will improve the flavor of the finished bread, so do whatever you have time for.  When the sponge has had time to ferment, it should be about double in size…

Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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At this point, you can add in the rest of the bread flour and the salt.  Also, go ahead and switch out the paddle attachment of your stand mixer for the dough hook.  Then use the dough hook to knead the dough gently (level 4 or so) for 5 minutes.  The dough will start off quite sticky and slowly transform into a very elastic ball.  Don’t worry if it continues to look a bit “shaggy” even after kneading though… this dough is actually meant to stay a bit wet.

Once the dough is fully kneaded, drizzle or spray it lightly with oil and allow it to rise undisturbed in the mixing bowl for another 2 hours or so.

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After the rise, you can gently knead in any special ingredients you might be adding.  I can’t resist a good cinnamon raisin English muffin, so I added 1/2 C. of raisins and a few Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar to the mixer and gently incorporated it using the dough hook (level 1, not fast at all.)  As soon as the “extras” were evenly distributed, I stopped.  I didn’t want to fully blend the spices in… I wanted them to be more of a “swirl.”

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Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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Now for another fun tip I picked up from Cookwise!  You don’t need to flour your countertop… did you know that?  You can actually keep your dough from sticking by lightly coating the dough, the countertop, and the rolling pin with oil or water.  This prevents over-drying of the dough (which is common when you add a bunch of flour to keep it from sticking.)  So brilliant!  This worked amazingly well for me.  I just lightly spritzed my countertop and hands with canola oil and the dough was very easy to manipulate, and it stayed incredibly moist!

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Allow your dough to rest for about 5 minutes (so that it won’t fight you as you’re trying to stretch it)… then gently roll/stretch it into about a 3/4 in. disc.  It does NOT have to be perfect!  Rustic is beautiful.

Then use a round cutter to cut out perfect little patties of dough.  I really like this set of cutters because it gives you a lot of size options and it’s a great deal!  I used a 4-in. cutter for these English muffins, and that size was perfect!  Transfer each little disc to a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  Then dust the tops with a bit of cornmeal as well.

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Yeast dough for homemade English muffins! (Make it in your stand mixer.)

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Next they will rise once more (just a short 45-minute rise this time!)

And once they’ve puffed up a bit… there’s one more fun little step before they go into the oven…

Preheat a dry iron skillet to medium heat, and allow each dough round to sit in the skillet for a few moments on each side.  This gives the muffins that certain “something” that just makes you say “English muffin” when you take a bite.  I can’t quite explain it, but oh, does it do amazing things to that dough!  (And it really doesn’t take long, I promise.)

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Anyway, once the dough rounds are lightly browned on each side, move them immediately back to the cookie sheet and place them in a preheated oven.  Bake them about 15 minutes, then remove and just TRY to allow them to cool before your rip into one!  (I confess I ate not one but TWO… almost the second they came out of the oven.  As I said before, I was blown away by how they turned out!)

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Homemade Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins (Made in your stand mixer!)

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 I really hope you’ll give these a try someday!  The only minorly complicated step in the process is browning the dough before it goes into the oven.  The rest of the process is more of an exercise in patience than skill!   Just letting that dough rise and letting that flavor develop.  It is worth the wait!!  OH is it worth it.  I just wish I had made twenty of these instead of six, because they were gone by the next afternoon!

Here is the printable recipe.  Please let me know if you try these… I’ll be so excited!

Love,

Carissa

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Make Your Own English Muffins (Otherwise Known As: My Favorite Homemade Bread Item!)
 
Nothing beats homemade bread, and these English muffins are no exception! They have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and incredible sourdough flavor. Perfect for a lazy Saturday at home.
Author:
Serves:: 10
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3¾ cups bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 packages (4½ tsp.) dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Cornmeal (for dusting)
  • ½ C. raisins (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon/sugar (optional)
Directions:
  1. Warm the buttermilk over low heat to 120 degrees F, and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment.)
  2. Stir the 2 Tbsp. sugar into the buttermilk, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Allow it to sit for 2 minutes, until the yeast becomes slightly foamy.
  3. Next, add half the bread flour (that is, about 2 Cups), the honey, and the soft butter to the milk/yeast mixture, and mix on medium/low speed (level 4) for 2 minutes to incorporate air pockets into the sponge. After the 2 minutes are up, remove the mixing paddle and allow the sponge to rest and rise (up to 2½ hours.)
  4. When the sponge has doubled in size, fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment, then add in the remaining bread flour and the salt. Knead on medium/low speed (level 4) for 5 minutes. The dough will become much smoother and more elastic as it kneads, but it's ok if it remains a little "shaggy." However, if it is very sticky, go ahead and sprinkle in more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, during the last minute of kneading.
  5. Allow the kneaded dough to rise in the mixing bowl for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.)
  6. After the rise, you may gently knead in any "extra" ingredients such as dried fruit. Use the dough hook on a low speed to incorporate any added ingredients, and stop as soon as they are well integrated.
  7. Place the risen dough onto a work surface that has been lightly dampened with water or oil. (Lightly dampen your hands and rolling pin as well.) Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes, then roll the dough out to about ¾ inches thick. Using a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter (or a glass or empty can), cut the dough into rounds (you’ll have to knead the scraps together and re-roll the dough to cut the last few). Transfer the dough rounds to a rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Dust the tops of the muffins with cornmeal as well.
  8. Allow dough rounds to rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  9. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  10. In a large dry skillet or griddle (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat, brown the dough rounds for a few moments on each side, then quickly return them to the baking sheet. Do this in a few separate batches if needed.
  11. Bake the English muffins until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then split and serve with plenty of butter and jam.

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*Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure here.

 

 

 

2 Responses so far.

  1. Sarah says:

    homemade english muffins are such a treat! yours look delicious.

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