Homemade English Muffins: Rising to the Challenge

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

I have always had a lingering fear of working with yeast. I can’t recall a specific failure that could have caused this reaction, it’s more of a preemptive thing. And so I rarely bother to attempt any baking that calls for kneading or letting things rise. But last weekend, I had a serious craving for English muffins and a few spare hours to kill so I convinced myself to face my phobia.

I got words of encouragement via Facebook from my blogging buddy Liz who told me once I tasted homemade English muffins, I would never go back to buying them again. And so with my lofty dreams and high hopes defeating my fear of disaster, I gave it a shot. I found a few recipes I wanted to try but settled on this one from Brown-Eyed Baker, which is taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The only adaption I made was switching out some whole wheat flour for part of the regular flour.

It was an easy task from start to finish, but it was a long process — mainly because you have to let the dough rise twice which took about three hours in total. But it was the perfect project for a lazy Saturday evening, as I spent the “rising” time watching Twin Peaks on Netflix. I don’t know how I’ve missed seeing the cult hit until now, but I’m happily making up for lost time — it’s seriously addictive and super bizarre.

Actually speaking of Twin Peaks, I have an embarrassing confession for you: I have seen drinks called “The Laura Palmer” on bar menus for years and always assumed it had something to do with Arnold Palmer (as in, his wife perhaps?). Yeah. So that was eye-opening.

Anyways, on to the muffins!

Here’s my dough ball – ready for its first rise. The main problem I had was that it’s so cold in my kitchen I was worried that the yeast wouldn’t work. So I turned on the oven for a bit and after it was just barely warm, I turned it off and popped the dough in.

English Muffin Dough -- the first rising

English Muffin Dough — ready for the first rising

After it was about doubled in size, I formed six relatively equal-sized balls and sprinkled them with plenty of cornmeal. Then they went back into the oven, covered loosely with a towel, for another 90 minutes.

Homemade English Muffins -- ready for the second rising

Homemade English Muffins — ready for the second rising

Homemade English Muffins

Close Up of a Muffin

After they rise, you can either use a cast-iron pan or just a griddle to brown them. Since I was nervous about messing them up, I used my electric frying pan so I could monitor the temperature. They need to cook for about 7-8 minutes on each side.

Homemade English Muffins

Of course the wonky one is front and center…

While they may look like they are getting too dark, don’t worry. They need to be a deep dark brown in order not to fall flat when you flip them. They are not burnt – I promise!

Homemade English MuffinsAfter they have cooked on both sides, put them on a sheet pan and bake at 350 for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for at least 30 minutes (this is the hardest part!).

Then split with a fork, toast and slather in butter:

Homemade English MuffinAnd top with jam…

Homemade English MuffinAnd realize that everything you heard about making your own English muffins was true. You cannot go back to store bought. It is incomprehensible.

Breakfast is served!

Breakfast is served!

26 thoughts on “Homemade English Muffins: Rising to the Challenge

  1. I’m so glad you conquered your fear of yeast! Baking bread is one of the best things ever, in my opinion. And the muffins look amazing! I have the book “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and have been meaning to make these for quite some time, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I may need to move it up my priority list!

    • I would love to just be able to whip up a loaf of bread — not quite over that fear yet, but baby steps rights? =) These were a great project for a lazy day at home — you should give them a try!

      • I definitely will! That is one of the best bread books out there – all the recipes are very straightforward and there is nothing that comes close to fresh bread for comfort food!

    • Thanks! I still am a little apprehensive but I feel better knowing that I’ve succeeded so far. =) Also, my starter wasn’t ready last weekend, but it’s finally looking good so I’m going to give your recipe a go soon!

  2. This is actually the recipe that I use to make english muffins too! I first tried the Alton Brown version (and even bought those metal english muffin rings that he calls for), but this recipe turns out SO much better than that one. Yours look like they came out perfectly…there’s nothing like a toasted english muffin. I eat them almost every morning…with PB and honey, or butter and jam 🙂

    • I almost made the Alton Brown one but I didn’t have the rings! Glad I did this one instead. I am gearing up for batch #3 this weekend — I am hooked! I’ve been loving coconut oil and jam, or egg muffin-style. So good!

  3. Pingback: Time and Tsai’s Asian-Style Sloppy Joe Sliders | Attempts in Domesticity

  4. Pingback: The week that I stuffed my face with homemade bread… | Attempts in Domesticity

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