My favorite style of English muffins is the sourdough kind, but that method is a bit involved. This is the recipe that you can use when you wake up in the morning, decide you want a fresh-baked English muffin and have it that day for brunch. Don’t get me wrong - this is still a yeast bread and takes some time, but it’s much faster than a sourdough recipe. If you're one of the lucky bakers who already has a sourdough starter in your fridge, skip this recipe and go find one for sourdough English muffins. This recipe is for those of us stuck at home who don’t want to, can’t get to, or can’t be bothered to go to the grocery store but need an English Muffin, like soon. They will be warm, soft and airy on the inside, but they will be a little yeasty. That's because anytime you make any kind of yeast bread quickly, it will taste yeastier. But you can have your homemade bread and eat it too!
The recipe I am using is one we use in our classes at The Chopping Block, so I know it is a good one. I have to admit that mine didn’t come out perfectly, part of the reason why is that my yeast wasn’t extremely fresh and active. I know this because when I activated the yeast it wasn’t very lively so these muffins didn’t rise as well as I would have liked. I’m in quarantine as I write this so I chose not to go to the store but rather work with what I had. It was also a pretty cold dry day, which slows down rising. When you have a long time for the dough to rise, that can fine but when you want your muffin now, it is a bummer.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 10 to 12 muffins
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 2 1/2 hours
1 1/4 cups warm water (110° to 120°)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups bread flour
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 to 4 tablespoons cornmeal
Grapeseed oil as needed
Step 1: Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and baking soda and leave to activate for a few minutes. This is called proofing the yeast, which means you are making sure your yeast is alive and activated.
You can see the yeast in this measuring cup is bubbly, but a really fresh active yeast will look like a big thick creamy head on a beer.
Step 2: Stir in half of the bread flour to make a sticky dough.
Step 3: In a separate, clean bowl, whip the egg whites to medium peaks. Gently fold them into the dough.
Step 4: Add the salt and the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, as needed to make a soft dough that is not sticky. Knead until smooth.
Step 5: Put dough in a bowl and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Step 6: Punch down dough, knead a little and let rest for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Sprinkle cornmeal on your work surface and roll the dough to about ½ inch of thickness. Flip the dough over, and gently roll so that the other side gets lightly coated in cornmeal. Cut the dough into desired size, about 3 or 4-inch circles. Scraps can be gathered and recut one time. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 8: When muffins are almost all the way risen (the dough springs back just a little when you push down on it with your finger) preheat a griddle over medium high heat. See my blog on how to properly heat your pan. Lightly oil the griddle and cook your muffins for 16 minutes, turning every 4 minutes (you will flip them 3 times). Set on a rack to cool… or rip into it now because you can’t help it and slather butter and fresh jam on them as you enjoy the nooks and crannies!
Clearly I didn’t use a griddle, since I have a pizza oven. I know it’s crazy, but I just couldn’t help myself and had to use it.
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