I grew up devouring English muffins; I have in no shame in confessing that at a certain time in my life, I could eat an entire package over the weekend. But as my palate has become refined, the commercial varieties have seemed floppy, flavorless, and overall uninviting. Not the type of stuff I want my kids eating. So we went to work developing a legendary English muffin recipe.
English muffin dough, unlike some other breads, isn’t improved by heavy kneading. This minimal handling discourages strong gluten strands from forming, which means a more “open” structure--and in terms of English muffins, that adds up to nooks and crannies.
The dough, coated in semolina and cooked briefly on the Baking Steel Griddle with clarified butter (which has a higher smoke point than regular butter), attains the perfect texture, with a crispy exterior and craggy interior just begging to be filled with butter. This is what storebought English muffins want to be when they grow up. I make a batch almost every week and my sons think they are amazing.
Legendary English Muffins Recipe (makes 11-12 muffins)
Recipe From Baking With Steel
Makes 1 dozen
550 grams (4 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
20 grams (4 teaspoons) fine sea salt
20 grams(4 teaspoons) granulated sugar
1 gram (¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
20 grams (¾ ounces) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled * Vegan option : avocado oil
350 grams (1 ½ cups) warm water (105 degrees F)
½ cup semolina flour
227 grams (8 ounces, or 1 cup) clarified butter (see recipe note, below)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
In a separate small bowl, combine the melted butter and warm water. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it, and knead by hand for 4-5 minutes, until it forms a smooth dough. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly coat a baking sheet with semolina flour. Set aside.
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 85 grams each).
Using floured hands, palm a portion of dough in your hand, and and rotate it in a circular motion while pressing down on the dough. This will create a ball with no seams. If the dough gets sticky, coat your hand with a little bit more flour. Coat the ball with semolina flour, then place it on the semolina’ed sheet tray. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let the dough proof for at least 2-3 hours. The dough balls will just about double in size. At this point, you can let the dough proof at room temperature for up to 24 hours; if you need more time, you can place the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Position your Baking Steel Griddle on the stovetop. Preheat on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, looking for a surface temperature of about 275-300 degrees F, or until droplets of water sizzle when dripped onto the surface.
Brush or pour some of the clarified butter over the surface of your Griddle. Be generous: you really want to coat the entire surface as well as you can without the butter sloshing over. The butter should begin to lightly bubble as soon as you apply it to the surface. Vegan option use Avocado Oil.
Place the dough balls on the Griddle, a few at a time, and cook for 4 minutes. Once golden on the bottom, flip, adding more clarified butter as needed to allow the dough to swim slightly in butter. After you flip, gently press down on the dough with your spatula to flatten into the signature English muffin shape.
Once the second side is golden, remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Note: This recipe calls for clarified butter, or butter from which the milk solids have been removed, leaving pure butterfat. No, this isn’t just to be fancy. Removing those milk solids gives clarified butter a higher smoke point, which in this recipe helps ensure that you don’t end up with blackened English muffins. If you don’t have clarified butter, you can substitute canola or even olive oil.
Extra credit: how to split an English Muffin. Many a recipe claims that one should use a fork to open an English muffin. Hogwash! The best way to slice an English muffin is to take a serrated knife and carefully slice around the perimeter. Then peel open with you hands, very carefully and patiently. Voila! Nooks and crannies, revealed.