Photo and Styling: Sara Tane
The addition of honey to a classic English muffin helps the yeast develop overnight while adding a subtle sweetness to the dough. These delicious DIY English muffins come together with a combination of bread flour and whole wheat, which adds an intricate nutty depth of flavor.
You may use cookie cutters to create circular muffins, but this recipe calls for rolling dough in a ball by hand for a more rustic feel. Cook the muffins on a griddle or a cast iron pan before transferring them to a hot oven; from there, you can choose to serve alongside a full breakfast. Or, simply enjoy hot with a swipe of butter, a thin layer of jam, and a pinch of flaky salt.
A note on proofing and dough: Some recipes may direct the first proof to occur overnight, but planning to have your second proofing take place overnight — where they are shaped into muffins on a sheet pan — can save you prep time. It’s imperative to be as gentle with the overnight-proofed dough as possible to preserve those nooks and crannies that you’ve waited so patiently to create.
If you’re making English muffins from scratch for the first time, you’ll notice that this dough is stickier than most yeasted doughs. Keeping your hands well oiled is a must to handle sticky dough. If you find yourself with dough that’s too tacky, simply add a few extra tablespoons of flour (gradually as needed) to keep the dough pliable. In the end, sticky dough is a good thing, believe it or not: It’s a sign that it’s well hydrated, creating steam when your muffins hit the griddle or cast iron, resulting in those iconic nooks and crannies.
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active dry yeast
cold unsalted butter
bread flour, plus more for dusting
plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Oil, for greasing bowl and hands
Coarsely ground cornmeal, for dusting
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- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and honey on low just until tiny bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter until completely melted (at this point, the temperature of the milk should be between 105°F and 110°F on an instant-read thermometer). Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk to incorporate.
- Add milk mixture to bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add flours and salt and mix on low until the flour is mostly incorporated. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough is running up the dough hook, yet still wet and sticky, another 6 minutes more. (The texture should be like a thick gluey paste that forms a trail when lifted with a spatula.)
- Scrape the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl. Spray or brush a little oil on top, cover and set in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust heavily with cornmeal. Lightly dust work surface with flour and lightly oil hands. Turn dough onto surface. (The dough is very sticky. Add just enough flour to make it easier to handle. Use a bench scraper to help manipulate the dough.)
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball (you may need to grease your hands in between forming each) and place on the prepared baking sheet; flatten each ball into a disk. Sprinkle more cornmeal over the tops. Cover with a lint-free towel and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat oven to 325°F. Heat griddle (or cast-iron skillet) on medium. Working in batches, lift each disk with a plastic spatula and place on a hot griddle. (Gently and carefully handle the dough so you don’t deflate it.) Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.
- Return muffins to baking sheet and bake until internal temperature reaches 200°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how much extra flour was added). Transfer muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Use a fork to split, then toast until edges are light golden brown. Or split and freeze for up to 3 months.
If freezing: First freeze muffins in a single layer on a sheet pan; once frozen, add to a zip-top bag. To thaw, heat in a skillet or in the oven to retain quality, then toast.
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