I present to you one of my favourite bread in the whole wide world! English muffins are slightly sweet, with a fluffy crumb and perfect for your most special breakfasts. They’re cooked on a pan and finished in the oven, which makes for a lively bun with a flat and golden top and bottom.
Let’s talk replacements and options for this recipe. You can use half wholewheat flour and half all-purpose flour and the result is nice as well! Bread is always less airy with whole-wheat flour but it’s very slight in this case. If there’s something classic about English muffins is that we use a layer of semolina or polenta to cook them in the pan. This makes them not touch the pan directly and also adds an extra crispy texture. If you ask me, I prefer semolina to polenta because it’s finer. Now, if you can’t get either, you can also use flour but the result is not as nice.
There are two ways to shape English muffins. The first is like me where I basically make buns. The second method is to roll it out until it’s 2cm / 2/3 of an inch thick and then use a cutter for the muffins. I prefer the bun method because I love the final shape. There are people who prefer to roll them out because they look flat on the sides like pancakes. Choose the method you prefer, the dough is the same! Now, is you want to make larger muffins (English muffins are typically small), then you do need to roll them out so they can cook through without any issue.
The end result is a bread with a soft, fluffy and delicious crumb. I love this bread, I could eat 100 in one go. English muffins are the perfect bread for eggs benedict. Also, they’re delicious with scrambled eggs or just butter, really. In any case, always toast them and enjoy them warm.
I always receive the question of how to keep bread fresh. To achieve this, you can place them inside an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them already cut in half for up to a month. From the freezer, they go straight into the toaster and voilá! Just like freshly made.
For the dough
- 450 g all-purpose flour
- 7 g instant yeast or 14g fry active yeast or 28g fresh yeast**
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 50 g unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
- 280 ml lukewarm milk can be regular, skimmed, lactose free or vegetable
- Semolina or polenta
- In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, yeast and sugar.
- Form a hole at the centre and add the milk and butter. Mix from the centre using a whisk or a spatula until it doesn't help anymore and finish mixing with your hands. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with the hook attachment.
- Knead by hand for 10 minutes or 5 minutes on medium speed with a stand mixer.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover it and let it proof for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Divide the dough in 12 sections. For this I weight out my dough and calculate the weight of each one for precision.
- To shape the buns, flatten out the dough with your hands and then fold the edges in towards the centre, like forming a parcel.
- Flip your little parcel over so that now the place where the seam is is against the surface. Without flouring the surface, pull on the buns towards you while pressing down, so that the friction closes the seam. Repeat with all sections of dough. Alternatively, you can roll out the dough until it's 2cm / ⅔ of an inch thick and use a cutter for the buns. However, I prefer the bun method.
- Place the shaped buns onto a baking tray lined with semolina or polenta, cover them and let them proof in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
- Preheat a pan over low heat. Place the buns on top, first on the semolina/polenta side. Let them cook for 4 minutes.
- Sprinkle more semolina/polenta on top and flip them. If the semolina doesn't stick you can always lay a bit down on the pan. Use a spatula to gently flatten them a bit for that English muffin shape. Gently I said! Let them cook for another 4 minutes on this side.
- Once all of them are done, bake them for 5-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F, it will depend on your oven. You can check if they're ready by cutting one in half.