I have enjoyed English Muffins for Sunday breakfast for years, but I have always been too nervous to try and make them for myself. I’m not too sure why. May be because it’s a form of bread making and I still feel I have a long way to go there! Or may be it’s because I thought they were baked in the oven like most other bread based bakes .. looks like I was wrong there – I was surprised to read they bake in a pan! Mental!
But this weekend I decided to finally give them a go, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to make! Yes, like most bread based bakes there is a lot of waiting in between for dough to rise, but this made them perfect to make the night before, so that come the morning they were all ready to pop in the toaster and smother in butter!
- 300g strong white bread flour
- 6g fast-action dried yeast
- 6g salt
- 15g caster sugar
- 15g unsalted butter, softened and cut in small pieces
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten to mix about 170ml milk, at room temperature
- 15g semolina or fine polenta
I will say before we start that I was actually surprised at how much they grew from the heat of the pan. The recipe said to roll the dough out 1.5cm which I thought wasn’t very thick. But trust me, this will be plenty thick enough, as by the time mine had cooked and cooling on a wired wrack, they must have been at least 2 inches thick! Just bare this in mind when making yours, as if you like a certain thickness to your muffins, it may determine how thick you roll out your dough to begin with.
Anyway, let’s bake ..
- Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. You won’t need any fancy gadgets for this one, mixing the dough with your hands actually makes a softer dough!
- Sprinkle the yeast on one side of the flour and the salt on the other. Add the sugar, the pieces of butter, beaten egg and milk to the bowl.
- Mix everything together with your hand to make a soft dough, adding more milk if necessary.
- Sprinkle your worktop with some extra flour and then turn out the dough. You want to knead thoroughly for 10 minutes until the dough is soft and stretchy.
- Put the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl and leave either on your work surface or in a warm place to rise for about an hour. The dough needs to double in size.
- When you are happy with your dough, tip the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1.5cm in thickness.
- Leave the dough on the worktop, uncovered, to relax for 15 minutes – this actually prevents the muffins from shrinking and is a great tip to know!
- Sprinkle half the semolina or polenta on to 2 baking sheets. Using a 9cm straight-sided cutter, tamp out 8 muffins (if you need to, gather up the trimmings and knead gently, then re-roll and stamp, remembering to leave for 15 minutes after rolls to stop the muffins from shrinking!)
- Arrange 4 muffins on each baking tray and sprinkle with the remaining semolina or polenta over the top. Leave to rise for 30 minutes, uncovered. The muffins will expand but they will not double in size.
- Heat either a griddle (non-ridged), hotplate or a flat, heavy shallow pan (I went for the shallow pan!) on a low heat and place the muffins in the pan. Cook the muffins for 5-6 minutes on each side, but remember to check the bottoms as you don’t want them to burn.
When cooking muffins it’s fascinating watching them change – the colour and the texture, but most of all the way they change in size. I didn’t realise they would grow as much as they did which probably sounds really silly!
I also couldn’t believe how easy they are to make. I will definitely be making these in the future, but for now, there is a little left over batch in the freezer which I am sure will taste just as good after a little defrost and toasted with a nice thick layer of butter.
Mmm .. bring on next Sunday!
What is your favourite breakfast food?
Have you tried making your own English Muffins?