Hi All! So here I am, back from my almost 2 week long road trip through the Southwest. A post with pictures and stories from the trip will follow, as soon as I get a chance to go through some of the thousands of pictures we took. But we all know how long it can take to get things in order after a trip, especially since the day after we got back I came down with an icky stomach flu. Not fun.
Today I want to talk about breakfast. More specifically, Homemade Whole Wheat English Muffins. English muffins are one thing I find myself buying at the grocery store ALL THE TIME. I use them a lot. Toasted with peanut butter and apple or banana slices, to make breakfast sandwiches or to make cheesy boiled egg melts (hopefully I’ll remember to share the recipe for that one with you some day). So after continually buying these versatile little guys, naturally I wanted to try making them myself.
Now, like making any bread product from scratch, making English muffins isn’t going to save you any time. But you will be rewarded with superior flavor and a lack of preservatives and other ingredients that you may not want in your food all the time. And trust me, if you can make bread, you can make English muffins.
The dough for English muffins is just regular old bread dough. I used my favorite whole wheat recipe. If you have a favorite bread recipe that you’d rather use, go right ahead. Just allow your dough to rise and follow the directions in my recipe from step 6.
To form the muffins, you first make them into balls as if you were making buns, then set them in cornmeal for a nice, crunchy crust. After they’ve risen, flatten slightly with a flipper to give them their familiar patty-like shape. English muffins are cooked twice. Once in a skillet (to give them a nice, golden brown crust) and then again shortly in the oven to fully cook the interior. Since you can only fit a few at a time into the skillet, the process can be lengthy – requiring 3-4 batches depending on your recipe. And be careful to keep an eye on them so you don’t get any blackened muffins.
Once you take them out of the oven, cool them on a rack, then split and toast them to serve. Or you can cool them completely and store them in an airtight bag and freeze. They will need to be cut, since they aren’t pre-split like the ones at the grocery store. Toast and serve with your favorite toppings, use in breakfast sandwiches or make Eggs Benedict.
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk warmed to 110°F
- 1/3 cup water warmed to 110°F
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 3 Tbsp honey
Toast wheat germ in a dry skillet over medium heat until just fragrant. Mix with flours, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Stir together milk, water, butter and honey in a small bowl or large measuring cup.
Turn mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the milk mixture. Continue mixing at low until dough comes together, 2-4 minutes.
Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 minutes. Dough should form a ball and not stick to the sides of the bowl. If dough is still sticking to the sides after 4 minutes, add 1/2 cup more flour 2 Tbsp at a time until the dough no longer sticks.
Remove dough from bowl and form into a smooth ball. Place dough into a large, oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot to rise for 1-1.5 hours. Dough should double in size.
Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over a large baking sheet. Turn dough onto a clean surface and form into a 12" log. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and cover with a clean, damp dish towel or plastic wrap.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, form into a smooth, round ball. Place balls on the cornmeal covered baking sheet 1.5-2" apart and cover. Allow to rise until doubled, 45-75 minutes.
Move oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Gently flatten the tops of the muffins to 3/4-1" thick with a flat spatula. Sprinkle the tops evenly with cornmeal and re-cover.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place 4 muffins in the skillet and cook until the bottoms are browned, 4-6 minutes. Flip and reduce heat to medium low. Continue cooking until bottoms are browned, 2-4 minutes. While muffins are cooking, occasionally flatten with the spatula to prevent rounding.
Transfer muffins to a clean baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until the inside measures 200°F on an instant read thermometer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Repeat with additional muffins.
Serve or cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight bag or container or freeze.
*Recipe barely adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book