Making English muffins at home is easier than you think! Ready in less than 2 hours or there is an over-night rise option, as well.
I love a great English muffin breakfast sandwich (for breakfast, lunch or dinner :), so I love to bake up some homemade English muffins every once in a while, to make sure I'm always prepared. This is my favourite recipe. They have great flavour, especially when made with buttermilk, which gives them a sourdough-like tang. They also have great nooks and crannies to hold the butter!
This recipe is based on a recipe from Huckleberry Bakery. I have made some small changes to the original recipe, including reducing the batch size (I just prefer to make a smaller batch and enjoy them fresh), reducing the rising time slightly (to prevent over-rising and round-ish muffins as they bake :), increasing the baking time slightly (to ensure no gummy middles) and changing up the buttermilk warming instructions (as it was far too easy to over-warm the buttermilk and have it split!), based on my experience making them.
Here are the simple ingredients you will need to make these English muffins ...
- All purpose flour, salt, white sugar, honey, yeast, butter, buttermilk or milk and cornmeal
Refer to the FAQ section below for some substitution options, if you are missing an ingredient or two.
Step by Step Photos
Step 1: Prepare your dough by mixing together all the ingredients. You should end with what looks like a very moist, almost sticky dough. Don't add any more flour in the bowl. Remove to a floured work surface and knead a few times, adding a bit more flour there, if needed, just until the dough is kneadable and no longer sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 2: After refrigerating, remove the dough to a floured work surface and form into a ball. Sprinkle the rolling surface with some cornmeal, place dough ball on top, then sprinkle the top of the dough with more cornmeal. Roll the dough ball into a circle about 3/4 - 1-inch thick, then cut your rounds out with a 3-inch cutter, trying to cut them as close together as possible, to avoid waste, as you can't re-roll the left-over dough. Avoid placing your cutter over the outside edge completely. Move it in a 1/4-inch or so, so that you get a clean cut edge. Place your cut rounds onto a cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30-40 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 350F. Fry muffin dough in an un-greased skillet just until they start to colour, then flip and fry the other side. I like to press down lightly with a spatula after they are flipped, to ensure a nice, flat shape. Remove from the skillet to your original baking sheet and pop into the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until they test at least 195F internal temperature. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Can I add some whole wheat flour? Sure. The finished muffins with whole wheat flour will be slightly more heavy and dense in texture. I would suggest replacing about 1 cup of the all purpose flour with whole wheat. As whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, you may not need to add as much total flour to produce the moist finished dough, so hold back that last cup of flour and add in small increments, just adding as much as needed.
- What can I substitute for the honey? You can use any other syrup you might have around - maple syrup, light corn syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup. If you don't have any of those, simply add an equal measure of brown sugar.
- Can I make them "cinnamon raisin"? Sure! Simply add 1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp of cinnamon to the dough (add with the flour) and mix in about 1 cup of raisins at the end of mixing the dough. I would soak and dry the raisins before adding to "plump" them, but also so they don't absorb moisture from the dough as it rises. Simply soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and dry well before adding to the dough. Do note that the addition of cinnamon to the dough will slow the yeast activity/rising somewhat, so you may need to extend the rising time slightly.
- How do I store the baked English muffins? After cooling completely, I store my baked muffins in a plastic storage bag and store in the fridge, for maximum shelf life. English muffins also freeze beautifully. Simply store in a freezer bag or container for up to 3 months.
- How do I know when they are baked through? An instant read thermometer is the perfect tool! Insert through the side and just into the centre of the muffin. It should reach 195F at least or between 195-200F internal temperature. If you don't have a thermometer, use a skewer inserted in the same way. It should come out clean and dry.
- Can I double the recipe to make more? You can. Simply double the recipe ingredients and you're good to go. I have found the smaller batch easier to work with myself, so I just make what I need, as I need them. That way I'm not having to fry or bake in batches etc.
- Can I keep in the fridge over-night and bake in the morning? Yes you can. Make the muffins through the rolling/cutting, place on the cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then pop in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove from the fridge and let rise at room temperature about 45-50 minutes (with the plastic wrap still on), then fry and bake as per the recipe.
Things to do with your English muffins
- Toasted with butter - or butter and jam/peanut butter etc.
- Classic Breakfast Sandwich - egg, cheese, bacon or sausage or just an egg and cheese on a toasted and buttered muffin, of course
- Open-faced Sandwich - split your muffin, toast and top with a fried egg, ham, asparagus, wilted spinach, eggs benny etc and knife and fork it.
- Sandwich of any sort - just use the split muffin in place of bread slices for any sort of sandwich. One of my favourites is peameal bacon, cranberry sauce and Brie cheese and a warm, toasted and buttered muffin.
- English Muffin pizzas - these were a staple for me growing up! Split your English muffins, spread on some pizza sauce (or even tomato paste or sauce works), top with cheese and bake in a 425F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until crisp and melty.
- Grilled Cheese - English muffins actually make great grilled cheese sandwiches. Simply split, fill with cheese, then butter to outside and grill.
- Hamburger bun - not conventional, but a nice substitute for a burger bun.
- English Muffin Bread Pudding - ideal for when your English muffins are starting to dry out a bit. Simply cube, toss in some ham, cheese (maybe some asparagus or broccoli) and pour an egg/milk custard overtop and bake.
How to Split an English Muffin
To make sure you get maximum nooks and crannies, use a fork to score around the sides, then gently pull your muffin apart to split it.
Easy Homemade English Muffins
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or soured milk, at room temperature *See Note 1.)
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 tsp Kosher salt (or about 1 3/4 tsp fine salt)
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter (at room temperature)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal (*See Note 2)
- Remove your buttermilk or milk from the fridge for at least 30 minutes before starting, so it comes to room temperature. If you are making soured milk (see Note 1 below), do that and then let stand at room temperature.
- Add the room temperature buttermilk or milk to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a kneading hook. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, honey and butter and mix to combine. Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing as you go. When you have added all the flour, you should have a somewhat sticky looking dough, but it should be wrapping itself around the kneading hook. Don't add anymore flour to the bowl, but rather remove to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with a bit of flour, if it's too sticky to knead. You'll probably find you don't need to add a lot of flour. Keep the dough moist. Only add as much flour as needed to remove any bit of stickiness. Form the dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- After the 1 hour, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough just a bit, adding a bit more flour, as needed, if the dough is too sticky to knead. Add just as much flour as you need and be careful of not adding too much. Form the dough into a ball.
- Scatter 2-3 Tbsp of the cornmeal on a work surface, in a roughly 10-inch circle. Place the dough ball on top of the cornmeal, then scatter another 2-3 Tbsp of cornmeal on top of the dough ball. Scatter the remaining cornmeal onto a baking sheet and set aside.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough ball into a roughly 3/4 - 1-inch thick circle. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of the dough, trying to keep them as close as possible as you can't re-roll/re-use the scrap dough. Don't cut right to the outside edge. Move your cutter in about 1/4-inch before cutting. You should get six to eight 3-inch rounds from the single (not doubled) recipe. Place the cut rounds onto the cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature 30-40 minutes or place in the fridge overnight if you like, and let rise about 45-50 minutes in the morning, then fry and bake as detailed below.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- When that time is about up, heat an un-greased skillet on the stove-top over medium-high heat. When ready, add the muffins to the skillet, leaving some room between so you can get a spatula in there to flip them. Reduce the heat slightly to about medium heat and allow the muffins to cook until the underside starts to colour a bit, then flip them and repeat on the other side. After I flip the muffins, I like to gently press down on the top of them with a spatula to flatten them slightly. Not too much. Just enough to remove any large air pockets that might have formed from the heat of the cooking.
- Remove the browned muffins to the same baking sheet and place into the preheated 350F oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they register between 195-200F when tested with an instant read thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, you can test by inserting a skewer in the side of the muffin and into the centre. It should come out clean and dry.
- Remove muffins from oven, then immediately transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. I like to store mine in the refrigerator if they aren't going to be used up right away. These will also freeze well up to 3 months.