Homemade English muffins topped with peanut butter and jelly are perfect for breakfast or a midday snack. Photo by Getty Images/Lauri Patterson
English muffins and crumpets were originally made using a barm, but today are usually made with commercial yeast. Crumpet rings are helpful, but I’ve had very good results with English muffins without rings; I just carefully pat the dough into flattish circles. They may not be perfectly round, but they’re delicious all the same.
You’ll need to allow 5 to 10 minutes to measure the ingredients and to mix and knead the dough, 4 to 5 hours to ferment the dough, 15 to 20 minutes to shape the dough, 30 minutes to proof the dough, and 20 to 25 minutes to bake the muffins.
There’s also some equipment you’ll need, as well as a few things that aren’t absolutely necessary, but that are certainly recommended.
The needed items include a large mixing bowl (stainless steel, glass, Pyrex, or ceramic), a wooden spoon, a smaller bowl of cool water for dipping into, a large cutting board, a dough scraper or bread knife for dividing the dough, and a griddle or large cast-iron skillet for cooking.
Though not a requirement, a kitchen scale, a 2-quart dough-rising bucket, and crumpet rings come in handy. If you don’t have crumpet rings, you can substitute tuna cans, with both the lids and bottoms removed.
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup warm unchlorinated water
- 1/2 cup cool unchlorinated water
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the cool water, flour, and salt. Mix with a spoon just until blended.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Dip your hand in a small bowl of cool water, and knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Dip your hand in the water whenever the dough starts to stick.
Put the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a clean towel, or put it in a dough-rising bucket and put on the lid. Let the dough ferment at room temperature for 2 hours, then move it to a warm spot — ideally 78 degrees Fahrenheit — for another 2 to 3 hours. If you don’t have somewhere that warm to ferment the dough, just allow more fermentation time. The dough will double in volume; in the dough-rising bucket, it will nearly fill the bucket when fully fermented.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured board. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then flatten into rounds about 3⁄4 inch thick and about 3-1/4 inches in diameter. If using crumpet rings, butter and dust them lightly with flour, then place the flattened rounds inside the rings. Cover the rounds with a floured dish towel, and let rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Heat the griddle to 400 F — at the correct temperature, a drop of water will sizzle on the griddle surface but not explode. Oil the griddle lightly. Place the muffins on the griddle or, if using crumpet rings, put as many rings on the griddle as will fit without crowding them. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes on the first side, then turn and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes. The muffins are done when they’re lightly browned on both sides.
Cool the muffins on a wire rack before serving.
Excerpted with permission from Victoria Redhed Miller’s book From No-Knead to Sourdough, published by New Society Publishers.
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