Homemade English Muffins


I cannot get enough of these English muffins. I often wake with scrambled eggs and toasted, buttered English muffins on my mind. And by English muffins, I’m not talking about Thomas’. I’m talking about Roberta’s homemade English muffins, which I tested back in 2012 for the Roberta’s Cookbook. At the time, I didn’t know it was possible or easy to make English muffins at home. The recipe reads long, but it’s quite simple and straight forward, if a bit messy.

I now make these English muffins with young kids in my Food Arts and Sciences class. The children cut out their muffins, placed them on a cornmeal coated baking sheet (for that signature EM texture and taste) and seared them (with my help) on a flat top. This is the bread dough to make on hot summer days, when the idea of heating up an oven feels oppressive. The yeast’s aroma, which store-bought English muffins lack entirely, permeates the house. And that is the scent I dream of on those lazy weekend mornings.

English Muffins

Makes 14 muffins.
Using a scale is easiest and cleanest, and always more accurate, when making this dough. But if you don’t have a scale, volume measurements work fine, too.

For the starter dough:
1.5 grams (1/3 teaspoon) active dry yeast
300 grams (2 cups, plus 2 heaping tablespoons) all-purpose flour
300 grams (1 1/3 cups) room temperature water

For the rest of the dough:
380 grams (1½ cups plus 1 tablespoons) whole milk, warmed to 80 degrees
10 grams (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
20 grams (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons) sugar
25 grams (2 tablespoons) distilled white vinegar
12 grams (2½ teaspoons) canola or other neutral oil
600 grams (4 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
15 grams (1 generous tablespoon) baking powder
12 grams (1½ tablespoons) kosher salt
Cornmeal, for dusting
Butter, for greasing pan

1. Make the starter dough: In a medium bowl, mix the first three ingredients together until there are no dry bits. Place in a container that will allow the mixture to expand three times in volume and let rest, covered with a kitchen towel, at least 8 and up to 12 hours at room temperature.

2. Complete the rest of the dough: After this time, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warmed 80°F milk, yeast, sugar, oil, and vinegar. Add the starter to this mixture and whisk to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk 600 grams of flour (4 1/3 cups) with the baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise until doubled in volume, about 3 hours.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and pat it down with floured hands until it’s about 1 inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut muffins out of the dough. Use excess dough to roll out more muffins. Place the muffins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal. Let the muffins sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Ideally, cook the muffins on an electric griddle set to 350°F. If you don’t have one, use two large nonstick sauté pans or two cast-iron skillets set over medium heat. Whatever you use, grease the cooking surface lightly with butter and dust it with cornmeal. Cook the muffins for 5 to 8 minutes per side, turning them when the first side is done—each side should be a deep golden brown. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the muffins will keep for a week. They freeze well, too. Just cut them first, wrap them in plastic and freeze for up to a month. Adapted from “Roberta’s Cookbook.”