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English Muffins


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.

English Muffins
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.

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  • Emily
    April 23, 2007

    Just a guess, but I’d assume that the bubbles/holes were smaller because there was less protein. By using the powdered milk and water in a higher ratio than the powder specifies you get a protein concentration higher than that in regular milk. The bubbles are strengthened more by the added protein, thus making them bigger

  • Jen
    April 23, 2007

    Great tip-to get the tradtiional circle shape cut out the bottom of a tuna fish can, spray the ring, place on the griddle and then add your batter.

  • Claire
    April 23, 2007

    I want to try these sometime. I made a recipe from Cooking Light a while back b/c it didn’t require the griddle, but they reminded me of Parker House rolls (just a little) more than English muffins.

  • Anne
    April 24, 2007

    This looks way easier than a very elaborate recipe I tried, that involved rolling and cutting. Will try 🙂

  • Nicole
    April 24, 2007

    Jen – Actually, I had no problem getting my muffins in circles without rings. I found that the rings just took more time and, even when greased, could stick to the batter. I really don’t think it is necessary at all to use a ring with this recipe, but feel free to try it if you’d like.

  • Tracey
    April 24, 2007

    I made these this morning – very good! Yes, the holes are smaller but does not bother me, because the flavor is right, and this is so quick and easy to make. They’ll be a staple for me.

    The only problem I had was with the first batch, they browned fine but did not puff up quite enough, so do not split easily – griddle not hot enough yet? Any ideas?

  • andrea
    April 24, 2007

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I tried it this morning and was so impressed with the results. I screwed up and put in 1 cup of water instead of 1/3, so the first few turned out more like pancakes. Then I added some more flour to the dough and the rest turned out great. I can’t wait to try it again and actually make them correctly. I’m assuming they’ll turn out even better.

    Just a note on temperature: I found I had to cook them on my electric griddle at closer to 350 degrees in order to get them to brown and puff up properly.

  • Zoe
    April 24, 2007

    I will definitely try these soon, but with whole wheat flour, since grocery stores around me keep dropping the Pepperidge Farm 100% whole wheat English muffins — they’re the best tasting and healthiest ones you can get at a grocery store, IMO, but yucky, high fructose corn syrup laden Thomas’ rule the market. I had no idea English muffins were this easy to make, so thanks!

  • Cheryl
    April 25, 2007

    I would have never in a million years have thought to try to make english muffins. But they sure look good.

  • melissa
    April 30, 2007

    I made these on Saturday and WOW! They were so easy and so good, I can’t believe I’ve never made them before…

    I made mine with a cup of whole milk that had gone bad (the boy keeps buying it for hot chocolate then forgets about it, tsk tsk), and they puffed up with lots of holes and apart from not being perfect circles, they looked exactly like storebought ones. But tasted infinitely better. Oh, and I made mine in a huge teflon pan, so I didn’t need any nonstick spray, either. And added in a tablespoon of wheat germ in the batter because I felt guilty about the white flour, hahah!

    Extra good for you, and the hardest thing was waiting 40 minutes, I swear. 🙂

  • Rose
    April 30, 2007

    These were very good, and very easy to make. The first batch didn’t cook in my griddle so I switch to a pan on the stove and they were fine.

  • englishchef
    May 12, 2007

    These look absolutely delicious and kind of different to the English muffins I’m used to BUT why are they called English muffins? We don’t have anything like them in England and I am only used to them because I am an ex-pat! Anyway I’m looking forward to trying them – just because we don’t have them in the UK doesn’t mean they aren’t yummy!

  • Nicole
    May 15, 2007

    Good question, englishchef. Wkikpedia says that they might be called “breakfast muffins” in the uk, but that the name is quite old. Some incarnation of these was simply known as “muffin” for many years and the “english” was tacked on by a baker ( Samuel Bath Thomas) who relocated to NY in 1880.

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=English_muffin&action=edit&section=2

  • Jessicuh
    July 27, 2007

    I feel like baking them right now

  • Jeanie Ralston
    October 23, 2007

    I am off to the store right now for my active dry yeast and will bake tonight, can’t wait, so tired of store bought muffins and rising prices,I wll of course add a lttle whole wheat flour. Thank you

  • Christina
    January 17, 2008

    I love your blog! Thank you for keeping it up w/the delicious pictures and recipes. Has anyone tried this using whole wheat flour? I am running low on APflour, but have a brand new bag of ww.

  • Valerie
    January 29, 2008

    I made these a few weeks ago. Yum! I couldn’t stop eating them. The holes weren’t very large but the flavor more than made up for it. Plus, very easy and quick (relatively) to make.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • Brian
    June 2, 2008

    Just a comment on a comment above: Thomas’ now sells English Muffins with real sugar, rather than the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. Of course, I’d rather bake my own anyway, so I know exactly what’s in them. I go as far as grinding wheat to make my own flour. Will have to try your recipe soon. Thanks for sharing, Nicole!

  • Ginny
    August 23, 2008

    These are fantastic! I’ve never been a huge English muffin fan but then I’ve never tried homemade ones before. The picture looked so appetizing I just had to give it a go. What a delicious surprise. Thank you!

  • Jennifer Stack
    May 3, 2009

    OMG! Delicious! And soooooo easy! I made a triple batch, and I’m not sorry I advanced this recipe alot of trust! I put my griddle at 300, and they came out perfectly.

  • Christine
    October 3, 2009

    I just finished polishing off two English Muffins. Fabulous. The first was with homemade berry jam and the second was with colby jack cheese. These were so easy and turned out great. I can’t believe I waited so many years to attempt them. Slightly reminiscent of freshly made crumpets. The flavor is wonderful, a homemade bread taste, only chewy with a good crust. These would be good (plain) eaten out of hand on the go.

  • Bruce
    December 6, 2011

    Fabulous recipe. Simple, quick, chewy, good taste. Ditto small holes, but no worries about that.

    I had a hard time spooning out the “scant 1/4 cup” of batter. What I had was more properly called “dough,” and it fought back like a wild thing. As a result my muffins were of inconsistent size and shape. More liquid? Less flour? I take it from the comments that others did not have that battle to fight.

    Also, while cooking muffins in a pan on the stove top, my eye fell on the George Foreman grill. I heated it up and dropped a dough-ball into it. Five minutes later I had a >perfect< 1/2"-thick muffin. You would not want to split and toast it, but two of them would make an impressive breakfast sandwich. The finished muffin was magazine-pretty, which my pan-fried muffins were not. Trivially easy to cook.

    The other English Muffin recipes I have seen seemed to be in a competition for most-hours-invested-with-least-result. This is a much better way to go.

  • Dorothy Henderson
    March 21, 2014

    Just made these this am. Truned out great. I did do one more step and baked them in 350 oven for 8 min. But they are so easy and delish! No more hokey puck store brought for me.

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