After we got home from Napa I thought about what I wanted to make first from all the yummy treats we tried. I was asking Kevin what we should do and without skipping a beat he goes, “ENGLISH MUFFINS!!” He really, really liked the english muffins we had at Model Bakery. Pretty sure that in the 5 days we were there he at at least 3 of them. So I looked around for a recipe that seemed like it made the most sense to me and had the easies steps to follow. I landed on a recipe from King Arthur Flour and added the ingredients I needed to our weekend shopping trip. I may or may not have also made Kevin watch the episode of Great British Baking with me again where they make english muffins – I can’t help it! I love the show so much!! I pulled some tricks that I had learned from previous bakes to help with this one and a few things from the episode to make these english muffins easier.
As I was getting ready to start, Kevin asked me what recipe I was using, when I told him that I picked the King Arthur Flour one, he immediately looked up a recipe from Model Bakery and couldn’t believe that I had picked a different one. He also decided to have a bake off with me – but I’ll let you know who won later…
The first thing that I did to get my oven ready for proofing the dough was to turn my oven on to 140 degrees until it reached temperature. Then I turned it off and made sure not to open the door. Then I microwaved the milk until it reached 105 degrees. Next, I mixed the milk, softened butter, salt, sugar, egg, bread flour and yeast in Mix Master until it reached a soft and sticky consistency. I put a pot of water on the stove until it reached a rolling boil. While the pot of water was heating up, I let the machine run on speed 4 until the dough reached a silky and smooth dough, about 5 minutes.
While I was mixing this dough, my Mix Master tried to walk off the counter and take a dive to the hardwood floors below. Luckily I caught it in one hand while holding my youngest son in the other had (it was a close call). I was thinking how lucky I was when all of the sudden, my bowl popped out of it holding spot and almost flew off the mixer. Again, luckily I was nearby when it popped out and was able to turn the machine off and retighten the clip at the back of the machine and it began to work again nicely. (I may cry if my Mix Master does actually decide not to work anymore).
After the dough came to the right consistency I scraped it onto my dough mat (which I LOVE by the way) and and worked it a few times with my hands to form it into a nice round ball. Then I oiled the mixing bowl with some grape seed oil and put the dough back into it and topped it with plastic wrap. Before I opened the oven, I turned the heat off of the stove and grabbed a cake pan. I opened the oven door and slid the cake pan on the bottom shelf of the oven, and poured the boiling water into the cake pan. Then I put the dough on the top shelf and closed the oven door quickly to trap in the heat and steam to make the oven a much like a proofing drawer as possible. I waited for the dough to double in size. With the great conditions in the oven it took only 30 minutes, not the 2 hours that the recipe suggested.
I dumped the risen dough out onto my dough mat and rolled it out until it was about a half inch thick. Then I cut 15 english muffins out with a 3 inch circle cutter. (Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of this step…oops). I covered the griddle with a generous amount of semolina flour and put the muffins on it. Then I covered them with a sprinkle of semolina flour and plastic wrap. Then I put them back in the oven for a second proof, this one was only 20 minutes.
While I waited for them to proof, I did a test cook of a sample english muffin from the extra scraps in skillet with the same generous amount of semolina that I had on the griddle. Within a few minutes of cooking, the semolina was burning faster than the muffins were cooking. I realized that I had a problem and didn’t know what I was going to do about all the extra semolina I had on the griddle. The reason that I put them on the griddle to rise, is because it is easiest to keep their shape by without having to move them after the second rise. So….since I didn’t want to mess up their shape by moving them to get all the extra semolina off, I eventually settled on vacuuming it off with the crevice attachment of our vacuum (this is totally not a good idea – one of my english muffins also may or may not have spent a second in the vacuum – can you guess which one it is in the picture to the right?)
I turned the stove onto medium low. I feel like medium low is such a hard temp to describe, but I basically turned it all the way down and then bumped it up only a smidge. I was amazed how quickly the bottoms started to crisp up and the english muffins rose so nicely under the gentle heat. I checked the bottoms frequently and ended up cooking most of them about 7 minutes on the first side and then 5 on the second side. I checked the temperature in the middle of several english muffins to make sure they reached 200 degrees. I then turned the stove off and put the english muffins on a cooling rack.
As you can see, all of the english muffins are slightly different colors on the bottoms but, they are all delicious!
- Sooooo…. these are not actually baked, but cooked on the stove top
- The texture of these are really nice and delicate on the inside but crunchy on the outside
- I think they could use some more flavor. I would bump up the salt and the sugar the next time I make them to boost their flavor
- They were a really big hit in our house! Some of them were given to another family and our neighbor. There were several left and they were finished by the next day
- Finally- Kevin made his recipe after I made mine and I totally think that I win…but his did have a better flavor.
- You should try this recipe if you are looking for something impressive for brunch and you are not afraid to work with yeast.
- 1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk – 100-110 degrees
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to taste (I would up this next time)
- 2 tablespoons sugar (I would up this next time)
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Grape seed oil for the bowl
- semolina flour for sprinkling the griddle
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees
- Combine all the ingredients (except the semolina) in the bowl of the stand mixer
- Turn the oven off after it come to temperature and start boiling about 3 cups of water
- Beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny. This will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift the beater, the dough will be very stretchy.
- Scrape the dough into a ball. Oil the bowl with grape seed oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a the turned off oven. Fill a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven with boiling water when putting the dough in the oven to create steam.
- Leave the dough to rise until it is nice and puffy and almost doubled in size. Start checking it around 30 min.
- Prepare your griddle by sprinkling it lightly with semolina. If it isn’t non-stick spray it first with vegetable oil spray before adding the semolina.
- Gently deflate the dough, and roll it about 14 inches by 8 inches. Cut the dough with a 3 inch round cutter
- Place the muffins the cold griddle and sprinkle semolina on the top. Cover the muffins with a piece of plastic wrap and let them rest for 20 minutes in the turned off oven until they puff up a bit.
- Cook the muffins over medium low heat for 7 to 15 minutes per side, until their crust is golden brown, and the interior is cook through – it should register about 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer. If they brown too quickly they can be finished in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour