I love breakfast foods and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Coffee cake? Oatmeal? Waffles? So, instead of picking one to elevate over the rest, I’ll just add another classic to the long list of fabulous ways to start the day: homemade english muffins.
Doubtless, you have had one of the griddle-cooked muffins at some time or another. An english muffin is relatively flat and almost more like a crumpet or pancake than any other kind of muffin. It is made with a thick, yeasted dough and cooked over a medium-hot griddle until it has set. The dough, combined with the cooking method, leave a chewy muffin that is full of holes – ideal for toasting and loading up with butter and/or jam.
The recipe that I started with was Alton Brown’s, although I made one big substitution in that I used nonfat milk, rather than powdered nonfat milk, as it seems like a much more convenient ingredient. The muffins did indeed turn out chewy and full of holes, although I would say that they were a bit smaller than the holes on a commercial muffin. No matter, however. They tasted fantastic and were simply perfect when toasted. Getting the cooking temperature took a bit of practice (AB recommends 300F, but since I use a stove-top griddle, I found that heating the pan to high, then turning it down to medium-high seemed to produce good results. I lowered the temperature slightly for the last batch I made) because you have to ensure that it is neither too high nor too low. Too high and you’ll burn the bottom before the center is set. Too low and you’ll end up with a muffin that cooks much too slowly and doesn’t brown well. Any trial and error with your griddle is well worth it, since store-bought muffins don’t really hold a candle to homemade.
1/3 cup water, warm (110F)
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup nonfat milk, slightly warm (100-110F)
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar and yeast and let mixture stand for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 40 minutes.
Heat a griddle/nonstick frying pan over medium/medium-high heat (water dropped on the griddle evaporates very quickly). Lightly grease with cooking spray.
Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls onto greased surface and cook until medium brown on the bottom. The top with look set and the sides will appear somewhat dry. The exact time depends on the temperature of your griddle and the size of your muffins, but expect this to take several minutes. Flip over and cook 2nd side until brown.
Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes or until completely cool.
When ready to serve, split muffins with a fork and toast.
Serve with butter, jam, peanut butter, etc.
Makes 10-12 muffins.