English Muffins

February 25, 2012

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but there are times when I crave a homemade English Muffin. Like when I want something toasted and crisp, on which to smear my morning ration of butter and jam. Or when I need a superior substitute for a hamburger bun. So it is a lucky thing that English Muffins are ridiculously easy to make. There’s no hand-kneading required, nor do you need any fancy equipment, like a standing mixer. In fact, if you can make a pancake batter, you can make this bit of nook-and-cranny bliss:

There is only one odd-ball ingredient in these English muffins: instant mashed potato flakes. Julia Child used them when she made the muffins on one of her cooking shows. I’ll admit that I felt embarrassed when buying instant potatoes at the supermarket. The product seemed so…well, un-Kevin-like. But the flakes do contribute a bit of tartness to the muffins.

Of course you’ll need metal rings, 3- to 3 1/2-inches in diameter, and about 3/4 of an inch in height. You can find such rings at kitchen supply stores. They are not expensive. I bought six for $1.75 each.

English Muffins
Ingredients for 6-8 muffins
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast, dissolved in 1 1/4 cups warm (110F) water
2 Tbs plain instant mashed potato flakes, softened in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt dissolved in 3 Tbs warm water

1. Whisk together the softened mashed potato flakes and the milk in a large bowl. Then whisk in the dissolved yeast. Add flour and stir, with a wooden spoon, 100 times in the same direction. Stirring in the same direction encourages the gluten strands to develop. The batter will resemble a thick pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap, and set someplace warm until the batter doubles in size, and is filled, as pictured above, with bubbles  — about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Sprinkle the dissolved salt on top of the bubbly batter. Then stir in the same direction 25 times, to deflate the batter and to incorporate the salt. Cover again, and let rest until doubled in size and bubbly. It is the bubbles which create the nook and cranny nirvana you want.

3. Set the metal rings in a skillet set over a medium-low flame, or in an electric skillet preheated to 300F. (I used a cheap electric skillet for my muffin-making.) Spray the inside of rings with vegetable spray; spray the surface below the ring, too. Then ladle in enough batter to fill the rings 1/2 to 3/4′s full. Cover the skillet, and let the muffins cook for 8 minutes.

4. Using tongs, remove the rings from the muffins. The rings will slip right off. Then use a spatula to flip the muffins over. Cook this side for 4 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

5. Test a muffin. If it has not cooked all the way through, finish cooking it and the others in a preheated 375 oven for 10-12 minutes.

Would you like a taste?

Here is a copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:

English Muffins
From Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House (dot) com
Ingredients for 6-8 muffins
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast, dissolved in 1 1/4 cups warm (110F) water
2 Tbs plain instant mashed potato flakes, softened in 1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt dissolved in 3 Tbs warm water

Special equipment - Metal rings, 3- to 3 1/2-inches in diameter, and about 3/4 of an inch in height.

1. Whisk together the softened mashed potato flakes and the milk in a large bowl. Then whisk in the dissolved yeast. Add flour and stir, with a wooden spoon, 100 times in the same direction. Stirring in the same direction encourages the gluten strands to develop. The batter will will resemble a thick pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap, and set someplace warm until the batter doubles in size, and is filled with bubbles — about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Sprinkle the dissolved salt on top of the bubbly batter. Then stir in the same direction 25 times, to deflate the batter and to incorporate the salt. Cover again, and let rest until doubled in size and bubbly. It is the bubbles which create the nook and cranny nirvana you want.

3. Set the metal rings in a skillet set over a medium-low flame, or in an electric skillet preheated to 300F. Spray the inside of rings with vegetable spray; spray the surface below the ring, too. Then ladle in enough batter to fill the rings 1/2 to 3/4′s full. Cover the skillet, and let the muffins cook for 8 minutes.

4. Using tongs, remove the rings from the muffins. Then use a spatula to flip the muffins over. Cook this side for 4 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

5. Test a muffin. If it has not cooked all the way through, finish cooking it (and your other muffins, too) in a preheated 375 oven for 10-12 minutes.

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Related Posts:
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Pain de Mie – French Sandwich Bread
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread

Comments

  1. ErinFromIowa says:

    Wow! You are so awesome! I have always wondered about English Muffins. For some odd reason they were on that mysterious or too complicated list. I am so excited and cannot wait to stop typing so I can make these. Thank you so much for having a entertaining and informative blog.

  2. Lela Marie says:

    Why in the world did I read this when I’m on a low carb diet…

  3. Denise Every says:

    OK, it’s all your fault!! I had to go and get some baking rings because I just HAVE to try these muffins! :) The ones you can get in the grocery store like Friehoffer’s and Thomas’s just ain’t what they used to be so I’ve been in English muffin withdrawal. I’ll let you know if my attempts are a success.

  4. ErinFromIowa – Mystery solved! I think you will find English Muffins very easy to make. (I made a double batch the other day, and froze them.)

    Lela Marie – Same issue here!

    Denise Every – Unlike the flavorless, cardboard-textured commercial muffins, these homemade ones have actual flavor! Let me know how they work out for you…

  5. Cairn says:

    These sound great! Have you tried it with half or all whole wheat flour yet?

  6. Bob Daniel says:

    I made these the other day. Following the receipe, I got 11 muffins. They were great. I am repeating the receipe again today but I added a pinch of sugar in hopes of getting bigger holes in the muffins. These muffins are delicious and not hard to make.

  7. Cairn – Haven’t tried it with whole wheat flour…yet. But I suspect that half white, half ww would turn out marvelous muffins.

    Bob Daniel – So glad you tried these, and that they turned out well for you. Mind letting me know if your next batch (the one you are adding a little sugar to) is more “nooked and crannied”?

  8. Amber says:

    Just made these. I subbed one cup of white flour for whole wheat. It took a little longer to get the desired bubbliness but I wasn’t in any hurry so that was okay.

    They turned out incredible. Very flavorful. I can’t wait to make a big double batch to freeze! These will go fast.

  9. Amber – So glad you tried these muffins, and liked them. I will have to try swapping out some of the white flour for whole wheat, as you did. And by the way — homemade English muffins don’t last long around here, either –even the double batch I froze last week is gone!

  10. LindaK says:

    I saved my tuna cans for such projects. But that was also in the time when they had two removable sides.

  11. LindaK – Indeed! The days of tuna-fish-cans-as-English Muffin-rings are gone. The bottoms are now rounded to make them easy to stack on supermarket shelves. I bought the rings pictured above from a local kitchen-supply store. They are of good quality.

  12. Bob Daniel says:

    The yeast on my second batch was past the use by date and did not rise well. I am trying again now with some fresh yeast and Pilsbury Best Flour.

  13. Dale Gasque says:

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. It’s the first I’ve followed, and I’m getting lots of ideas.

    I make English muffin bread–a quicker, lazier, version of English muffins that is delicious and full of holes, too. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try.

    English Muffin Loaves (Makes 2 loaves)

    5 cups of flour–fluff flour w/spoon & spoon lightly into cup to measure
    2 pkgs active dry yeast (or 2 scant TBSP)
    1 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    2 cups milk
    1/2 cup water
    cornmeal

    Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda. Heat liquids until very warm (120-130 degrees, which will be as hot as you can keep your finger in)
    Add to dry mixture & beat well (by hand or mixer–your choice)
    Stir in enough of remaining flour to make a stiff batter.
    Spoon into two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pans (mine are a little bigger) that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with clean dish towel and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes (if the house is cool, you can stick a bowl of very hot water in a cool oven and put your pans in there–but move them to the top of the stove when you preheat your oven).
    Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

    To serve: slice and toast. Makes 16 slices per loaf.

  14. Dale Gasque – Thanks so much for re-posting your English muffin bread recipe. It had disappeared (along with about 100 other comments) the day the site crashed. Phew.

  15. Juliep60 says:

    Is there a way to print your great recipes without the photos? I’m not very knowledgeable about this type of thing.

  16. Juliep60 – I’ll email the recipe to you.

  17. Hello, Kevin. I would also be interested in a way to print the recipe out. So, if you could email the recipe to me I would love it. I can’t wait to get started trying this recipe, my husband and I love English Muffins and I could definitely see me making these with Whole Wheat flour.

  18. I love your website! I’m just going to start a veggie and herb garden at home and am all excited because of your posts. Love your recipes here too. Would you mind emailing me a copy of yours?

  19. Liz Campbell says:

    Hi Kevin, the English Muffins sound wonderful. I want to make some so would you please send me the recipe. Thank you so much….Liz

  20. anita says:

    Kevin, thanks for the English muffin recipe. Now I must go out and buy the rings!
    How about a crumpet recipe?
    Thanks very much.

  21. Trisha King says:

    Kevin, Just found your website, have to say, I love the mix of recipes and gardening. , This is my favorite web site, I am now spending more time her than on facebook. is it possible to get the English Muffin recipe emailed? The photos make it very user friendly. Heading for the kitchen store for rings tomorrow.

  22. Pat Futch says:

    Kevin, since you have that wonderful-looking recipe in an email format, would you kindly send it to me, too? I just found your blog, and I have signed up to recieve your newsletters. I look forward to reading them and will enjoy the articles you have already posted. Thank you so much, new friend!

  23. Lois says:

    Love the site. I would like to know where you bought your ‘rings’ for making the English Muffins? I’ve checked out many, many stores on the internet and I haven’t found them anywhere.
    Will you send this info directly to my email. Thank you

  24. Donna says:

    I love this website. So glad I found it on pintrest. I am new to gardening and love the article about bees. Just wish you wouldn’t take potshots at Sandra Lee.

  25. Since many of you have asked for a printer-friendly version of this recipe, I’ve provided one above. Just copy and paste it into your email or word document.

  26. Andrea says:

    OMGeeeee! These are delicious. I used buttermilk (because I had it) and I really love the nooks and cranies and the slight tartness. I didn’t have a cover for my electric griddle so I used foil sprayed with cooking spray. I found the rings for $1 ea at Sur La Table in the cookie cutter section. I am slightly obsessed with english muffins and these are worth every second. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

  27. Kacy says:

    Free muffin rings!

    If you don’t want to go out and buy muffin rings, just save your tuna fish, cat food or other small cans, cut out the bottoms, make sure the rough edges are turned in (so you won’t get cut) and voila! Free muffin rings!

  28. Andrea – So glad you made the muffins! Buttermilk…yum.

    Kacy – I used to be able to make muffin rings from cans. But guess what? Most (if not all) cans have rounded bottoms now. The rounded bottom makes the cans easy to stack. And impossible to cut with a standard can opener. Bummer!

  29. Jingles Mercer says:

    WOW!! Thank you for this revelation. Like others I’ve gone thru Enlish muffin withdrawal since the commercial ones just aren’t as good as they used to be. Looking forward to enjoying them again.

  30. C. Anne Dail says:

    WOW, I’ll never buy them again. I like making my own.

  31. Camille says:

    Hi Kevin, Can this recipe be made with GF flour instead of wheat flour? My husband has to be sans gluten but we love english muffins…have you tried it GF?? Good results or so so? Love your blog, love your site…thank you so much for all of it!!

  32. Betty T says:

    I have recently been put on a wheat free diet. I have found a few Gluten Free recipes, but I would LOVE to have an English Muffin recipe! Also… do you have a GF french bread, or Sour Dough recipe? I would love to have the crunchy crust with chewy center. How about a GF pie crust?

    I truly enjoy your newsletter each month!
    Thanks!

  33. ElaineB says:

    Can anyone tell me the difference between a crumpter as we used to call them in England and your English muffin, looks exactly the sme except the muffins appear thicker?

  34. Doreen says:

    Kevin…u r amazing!! Thank u for what you do…u r an inspiration and u make me smile…God bless you!! LOVE everything about this site!!

  35. carol says:

    Can u please e-mail ur recipes 4 the english muffins. THANK YOU They sound great. Can’t wait 2 try them.

  36. Susie says:

    English muffins V Crumpets

    As a former “English woman”, now American citizen in New England, but still using the old English accent, the main difference I can see between Crumpets, and”English Muffins” is as follows.

    If you are using Kevin’s recipe above, but want to make crumpets, let them form bubbles in the rings, and Don’t turn them over. That way, you will have your ooey gooey wonderful nooks and crannies that are oh so good at trapping butter and honey – and you will still have your chewy bottom.

    Incidentally, it wasn’t until I came to the United States that I tasted my first English Muffin. They have been introduced now, but 20 – 30 years ago, were totally unheard of. Crumpets were the closest things you could find. One would have crumpets either with Sunday breakfast, or with an afternoon tea. “A nice bit o’ crumpet” means something entirely different, and not at all in keeping with this site. Fair warning, don’t mix them up.

  37. S. Taylor says:

    I made these, once. They were delicious!

  38. finally had to order rings online thru King Arthur Flour – 12 rings for $14.95 – but the shipping kills you – $8.00 – had checked around my area in stores for weeks and could not find rings so bit the bullet and bought them. waiting to try making a honey cinnamon english muffin as soon as I find a recipe for same. Thanks Kevin for great input.

  39. Kevin, i pulled up Julia Child’s recipe online and found an eror in your recipe. your recipe says dissolve yeast in 1-1/4 cups warm water

    however Julia’a recips says dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.

    my muffins did not turn out even though I did everything mentioned in your write-up, so I looked up her recipe to find out what went wrong.

  40. Hi Nancy – First, congrats on your English muffins rings! Next, sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work out for you. I do indeed use 1 1/4 cups of warm water. The dough is very liquid (but elastic) until it bakes in the muffin rings. Mind telling me a bit more about your experience?

  41. using the 1-1/4 cups liquid made my rings a rubbery texture – didn’t even like the appearance. When I used the 1/4 cup liquid as Julia’s recipe stated, i did find while mixing in the stand mixer, as opposed to mixing by hand, i had to add possibly 2 more tab liquid to the recipe for a better consistency and found the texture to be much better.

  42. Jan says:

    The small cans of crushed pineapple make the right size for english muffins. I have to ask, would a little cooked potato, mashed work for the potato flakes?

  43. The photo looks so delish but I would never use instant mashed potatoes! Please find a more natural substitute!

  44. Annie B says:

    I Must try these!

  45. Trisha says:

    FYI: With my Mac I just go up to file and choose print and when the choices for pages come up I chose pages 6 and 7 (look at picture to see what the number of pages are when the recipe comes up) and then print. Easy as pie. It must be similar on others?

  46. Anne says:

    Hi Kevin, I make sourdough starter for pancakes and bread, which is made from potatoes of course, so I’m going to try making these English Muffins by using my sourdough instead of instant potato flakes and see if it works. You need to discover sourdough unless you already have. It’s the best!!!!

  47. Cathy C says:

    Thank you for this wonderfully simple recipe for English muffins! I am going through a phase where I cannot get enough of them, and it would be nice to make them from scratch instead of buying them from the grocery store. I will definitely try this recipe next weekend.

    P.S. I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoy your informative and witty posts.

  48. Nichole says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Just wondering how/ if these would work with buckwheat? I’d like to try, but at the same time I don’t want to waste ingredients. ;-)
    Nichole

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