English muffins are the crown jewels of breakfast baked goods. Don't agree? Hear us out. These fluffy-on-the-inside, chewy-on-the-outside pillows are easy to make at home, and fancy enough to present to guests.
The dough takes only a few minutes to come together, and while it proofs you can prep other breakfast goodies or simply drink your coffee and read the newspaper. These muffins are just as versatile as bagels and can be paired with spreads, jams and jellies. Of course, they also happen to be the fundamental base of that quintessential breakfast favorite, eggs Benedict.
When making English muffins, the dough can be sticky at first. If you are having trouble handling it, dust your hands with a little bit of flour, making sure not to add too much. The dough is super absorbent, and although the extra flour will make it easier to handle, too much flour could cause your dough to become tougher and lose those precious small air pockets that create the desirable nooks and crannies. Also, as you portion the dough, make sure to cover the balls with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. One final tip: When splitting open the muffins, never, ever use a knife. Puncture holes along the outer edge with a fork and gently rip open the muffin to reveal the delicious craters within.
Homemade English Muffins
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 16 muffins
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours proofing time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus 2 hours proofing time
2 cups whole milk, warmed to 115º
2 tablespoons sugar
2½ teaspoons (one ¼-ounce packet) instant dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for frying
½ cup semolina flour, divided, for dusting
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar and yeast, then let rest until foamy, 10 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the milk mixture, flour mixture, butter and egg. Knead the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. Move the dough to a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof in a warm place until it has doubled in size, 1½ hours.
4. Punch down the dough and portion into 16 even round balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough balls to circles 3½ inches in diameter. Sprinkle some of the semolina flour evenly on a parchment-lined sheet pan, then place the rolled-out muffins on top ½ inch apart. Sprinkle again with more semolina flour and cover with parchment paper. Allow the muffins to proof for 30 minutes more.
5. Heat a large cast-iron griddle over low heat, melt a small dab of butter and cook the muffins until the tops are golden brown and the insides are light and fluffy, 7 minutes per side. If serving immediately, eat as they are. If making ahead, allow them to completely cool, place in an airtight container or plastic bag, and lightly toast before serving.