English muffins aren’t actually “English”. They were invented in the 19th century in America. They are likely called “English” muffins as they were based on the crumpet. Like crumpets they are yeast based, and thicker than crumpets. English muffins are a quick and easy breakfast because they were designed to be quick and easy. Cut them in half and you get two surfaces to spread your favorite preserves. This version comes from my favorite book of yeast breads, Great Bread Every Time.
Make Your Own English Muffins
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. traditional yeast*
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup skim milk powder
- 1 large egg
- 1½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp melted margarine
- 3 cups white flour unbleached
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- Proof: In a bread bowl, pour 1 cup warm water. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, but do not stir. Slowly sprinkle 1 tablespoon yeast into the water, making sure each particle gets wet. Again, do not stir. Wait 10 minutes until the yeast is thick and foamy.
- Mix: Then add the following ingredients, stirring well between each addition: 3 tablespoons sugar, ½ cup skim milk powder, 1 egg, 1½ teaspoons salt, 1 cup flour, 3 tablespoons melted margarine.
- Add Flour (slowly): add flour ½ cup at a time to retain a soft dough. Coat the dough lightly with flour before turning it out.
- Knead: turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. About 8 minutes.
- 1st Rising: Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to grease the tip, set in a warm draft free place, allow to rise until double: 1½hours.
- Shape: turn the dough out onto a clean surface and with a rolling pin roll into a rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick. Let the dough rest for a minute, and then cut it out with a 2″ biscuit cutter. Place the muffins on a ungreased cookie sheet that has been sprinkle with some of the cornmeal. Continue gathering the dough up and rolling it out until all of the dough has been used up.
- 2nd Rising: Place the cookie sheet in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise until double, about 30 minutes.
- Cook: sprinkle an electric frying pan or griddle with cornmeal after preheating to 350 degrees F.
- Place the muffins on the cornmeal and cook for 10 minutes on each side.
- Enjoy: Cut in two and slather with butter and your favorite jam while still warm, or toast.