Quick & Easy English Muffins

Of all the things in my baking repertoire, I have never attempted to make English muffins. Why? They don’t seem too complicated. A little yeasted dough cooked on a griddle pan for a few minutes on each side. Pancakes, right? I mean, how hard can it be?

I stumbled across Emma Christensen’s recipe from thekitchn.com and immediately wanted to try it, but this recipe was going to take way too much time. Even though I knew the muffins spend most of the time unattended, it was still going to take at least two days. I wanted English muffins today.

When I was ready to jump into a recipe, most of the day had already passed. With another quick google search I found Melissa Clark’s whole wheat English muffin recipe. They seemed to be more like a crumpet and less like an English muffin, but who am I to complain when these would take maybe two hours. And since this was my first attempt at homemade English muffins, why not go for instant-ish gratification? Plus, there was just enough sunlight for some good photos.

The muffins weren’t perfectly round, but the taste was amazing considering how simple this recipe is. We made them for Sunday dinner which turned out to be a great substitute for the typical roll. The leftovers were a great treat for breakfast Monday. We decide to use them as a shortcake-type platform for a faux strawberry shortcake. We used whole milk Greek yogurt in place of whipped cream. The strawberries macerated overnight in a little balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt. The next morning, the strawberries were strained and the sauce reduced over medium heat with a touch of honey, and a few grinds of black pepper. We split the muffins and toasted them with a small pat of butter. Perfect for breakfast or a healthy dessert.

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English Muffins
yield 8

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
½ cup warm whole milk
½ tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cup whole-wheat white flour (we like Josey Baker Bread’s flour)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Masa Harina (cornmeal), as needed

In a small bowl combine yeast and 1/3 cup warm water and let rest until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Melt butter and put 2 tablespoons in a large mixing bowl, put the other 2 tablespoons in a small bowl and set aside. In the large bowl, whisk in yogurt, milk, honey, salt and the yeast mixture.

Add flour and baking soda to bowl and beat thoroughly with a spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled.

Lightly dust a small baking sheet with Masa Harina (or cornmeal).

Place a large griddle pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot, brush some of the reserved melted butter onto the griddle. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/2 cup measuring cup, drop batter onto the griddle to form round muffins about 4 inches in diameter, mounding the batter in the center. (You may need to coax the dough a little with your fingers, so be careful of the hot pan, and don’t worry if they’re not perfectly circular.) Cover griddle with a baking sheet and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. (Be careful not to let them burn.) If you don’t have a griddle pan you can use a large skillet and make the muffins in batches.

Uncover griddle and flip muffins using a spatula. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a little Masa Harina. Cover again and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until the other sides are golden brown. Flip again and brush with butter. Cook for another minute or two, covered. Remove from the griddle and cool a few minutes.

Split the muffins with a fork and toast before eating with your favorite topping.


I’ve been baking a lot lately. A LOT! We taught our first bread baking class a couple of weeks ago and it seemed a great success. We’re looking forward to the next round of classes in May. The preparation for the classes along with the recipe research has been exhausting and yet at the same time exhilarating. Our “office” desk is lined with all the cookbooks we have on bread baking along with a large handful of books we’ve checked out of the library and I’ve been scouring the web for even more. Just looking at the spines of all those books gives me a much-needed mental boost to continue baking and our oven hasn’t gotten much rest as a result.

A collage of the steps in bread making.

I’ve been experimenting with baking bread using “harvested” wild yeasts. I have one yeast starter made of a chopped apple and peel that has a very sweet vinegary smell. I made another out of golden raisins that first developed a very sour ammonia smell that has mellowed to a sweet earthy yeasty aroma. We’ve tried harvesting yeast from juniper berries in the past, but the only thing we created was a bacteria farm that smelled worse than dirty socks. We’ve tried to capture yeast out of thin air, unsuccessfully. This time, using William Alexendar’s leavin method from 52 loaves and the yeast starter made from golden raisins and one from apples, I’ve produced two wonderful loaves of bread. The starters seem to be thriving now and will likely be a source of many loaves in the weeks and years to come. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different yeasts, including Chad Robertson’s method of just using the yeast that collects naturally on his hands.

The gnarly beasts. Loaves second and third.

The challenge I’m facing now is in the transferring of the dough from the basket to the peel and then to the oven. With my first loaf of bread I tried something non-traditional in baking: I dusted a lot of corn flour over the bottom of the bread while still in the basket. Next, I placed the peel on top of the basket and then, in one quick swoop, flipped the dough-filled basket over to transfer the dough to the peel and then, with a quick tug of the peel, the dough was in the oven on a heated pizza stone. The only problem was that the bottom of the bread had a lot of flour on it and it just wasn’t crisp enough coming out of the oven. With the subsequent two loaves I’ve tried the traditional method of dusting the peel and then flipping the dough onto the peel and then again sliding the dough from the peel to a pizza stone that has pre-heated in the oven. My first attempt at this method resulted in a fold over of the dough and my next attempt wasn’t much better as the dough oozed over the edge of the stone and between the wires of the oven rack. While both loaves of bread turned out gnarly and twisted they both tasted great.

The bread created by members of our first class. Top – L to R: Kathleen (before), Joe. Bottom – L to R: Jess, Kathleen (after).

Once I feel like I have my dough transfer method down to a science I’ll be sharing the bread recipe with others on our blog and in another baking class. So, stay tuned for more in our ongoing quest for the best homemade loaves and congratulations to the bread baking 101 class for their successful loaves! I hope we have inspired you to keep baking.