English Muffins: splitting image

Why would you ever choose to make your own English muffins?

Between Wolferman’s, Bays, Thomas’, and even some of the store brands, there are plenty of perfectly good English muffins out there, easy pickings for anyone with a few bucks.

So why make your own?

Well, there’s a secret many of us know; and if you’re in on it, you’re nodding your head right now, saying, “Yeah, that’s exactly why.”

The secret is something simple, really, and not baking-specific. Woodworkers know it. Fly fishermen do, too. Gardeners know it big time.

So what is it?

DIY.

A handy acronym for Do It Yourself.

If you love to bake, you’re always up for a challenge. That crusty raisin-pecan rye from the fancy bread bakery? “I can do that.” Lorna Doone shortbread cookies? “Those, too.”

Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets? Italian Scali bread? Classic whoopie pies?

Done, done, and deliciously done.

So, why make English muffins?

Because, as British climber George Mallory said about Everest, “Because it’s there.”

Once you’ve enjoyed a big, buxom, freshly made English muffin, full of flavor and the signature nooks and crannies this breakfast treat is known for, you won’t want to go back to store-bought. Even quality store-bought.

Because you’ve climbed the mountain and earned the view – which is wonderful.

The following recipe makes 16 large English muffins. If you’re paying $3 to $4 or more for half a dozen top-quality English muffins, you’ll definitely save money making your own.

Place the following into a mixing bowl, or into the pan of your bread machine:

1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups (19 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

This is going to be a very soft dough, so you’ll need to treat it a bit differently than most yeast doughs. If you have a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny; this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift up the beater, the dough will be very stretchy.

If you have a bread machine, simply use the dough cycle.

Scrape the dough into a rough ball, and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise until it’s nice and puffy…

…like this. It’ll take 1 to 2 hours or so.

Next, prepare your griddle(s).

I’m fortunate to have two large cast iron griddles; each one stretches over two burners on my stove.

To give the muffins their signature crunchy crust, I sprinkled one griddle with semolina, one with farina (e.g., Cream of Wheat). I wanted to see which, if either, became less charred as the muffins cooked. And the answer is – no difference, use either.

Using two griddles allows me to cook all the muffins at once; but most of you probably won’t have two griddles, so you’ll need to cook the muffins in shifts. Whatever you use – an electric griddle, stovetop griddle, frying pan, electric frying pan – sprinkle it heavily with semolina or farina.

If you’re using a griddle or frying pan that’s not well-seasoned (or non-stick), spray with non-stick vegetable oil spray first, before adding the semolina or farina.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they’re about 3″ to 3 1/2″ in diameter.

The easiest way to handle and cook these muffins is to lay them right onto the surface you’ll be frying them on – in my case, the two griddles. That way, you don’t have to move them once they’re risen.

If you can’t do this, sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with semolina or farina, and place the muffins on the sheet; they can be fairly close together.

Either way, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional semolina or farina.

Here are my two pans of muffins, already atop their (unlit) burners.

Cover the muffins (a piece of parchment works well), and let them rest for 20 minutes. They won’t rise like crazy, but will puff a bit.

Now comes the somewhat tricky part: cooking.

You need to find the exact amount of heat that’ll cook the muffins all the way through and brown them perfectly – simultaneously.

Cooking the muffins for about 15 minutes per side over VERY low heat worked well for me. But, unless you have two large griddles, this long cooking time may become problematic, as the muffins waiting to cook could over-rise and become fragile.

The solution? Slightly higher heat and a quicker cook on the stove (say, 7 minutes per side), followed by a short bake in the oven.

If you find your muffins are browning too quickly, turn the heat down. If they’re already as brown as you like, but still not cooked through, don’t panic; you’ll be able to finish them off in the oven.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Within a few minutes of when you’ve begun to cook the muffins, they’ll start to puff dramatically.

You want English muffins, not dinner rolls, so weigh them down gently to prevent further rising. A piece of parchment atop the muffins, and a baking sheet atop the parchment, works perfectly for me.

If they run into one another as they rise, simply use a sharp knife to gently cut them apart and separate them.

Bottom left, the muffins after they’ve been flipped over. Bottom right – I flipped them again, and it looks like they’re done.

Let’s see. REALLY nice crust, eh?

As you can see, the farina/semolina burned on the pan, but not on the muffins – score!

Let’s check the inside.

Hmmm, the edges look good, full of nooks and crannies; but the center is a bit doughy.

Into the oven they go – 350°F for about 10 minutes should do it.

You want the muffins’ centers to register right around 200°F on  your digital thermometer.

Let the muffins cool thoroughly before enjoying.

And remember: use a fork to split, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies; knife-cut ones won’t.

Even easier – use an English muffin splitter. If you eat a lot of muffins, you’ll really appreciate this handy tool.

See? Is that one good-looking homemade English muffin, or what?

Move over, Thomas! Just like Jimi Hendrix did with Bob Dylan, we DIY-ers have got you covered.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for English Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Joan

    These muffins cooked up beautifully on my electric griddle at 325 degrees for 7 minutes per side then popped in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes. I had a lot of fun making these on a rainy day and will make again

    Reply
  2. David Smith

    Another way to bake these: if you can get a baking surface to roughly 700 degrees– pizza oven or gas with baking stone, you can form these and bake immediately for less than two minutes on a side– internal temp 200 degrees. They puff nicely and have a good open crumb.

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    I first tried these using the KAF mix. I overcooked them a bit on the griddle, but then baked them to cook al the way through. My problem was that the dough is so sticky! spreading the dough in the rings was a challenge! Any thoughts on how to make this an easier process? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Nancy, even when making bread mixes, it helps to have an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour nearby to sprinkle on your work surface as you knead and shape the dough. A dusting of extra flour should make the griddling process much easier next time. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Steve

    I have made the English muffin toasting bread many times and love it but I havent made these yet! But just a suggestion on keeping them from over proofing while waiting for the fist batch to cook I will try retarding the proofing process by putting half of the dough in the fridge I use this method a lot with making pizza dough (for a slow rise) Not sure if it will work but will keep you updated on my sucess.
    Thanks for the great recipes

    Reply
  5. Gail

    Wow! these turned out great! Used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 3 1/ 2 cups white. I used plastic gloves to shape them so they didn’t stick at all. Also I didn’t push them down when they were cooking, they deflated enough when I turned them over. I don’t mind them being puffy. I think there might be more nooks and crannys this way. Need to make crumpets next!

    Reply
  6. Rena McClain

    Love these muffins. The only thing I wish you included was the nutritional values. I am keeping track of calories and making my own makes it hard to know how many calories to count.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying these, Rena. You’ll be glad to know that we have calculated the nutritional information for this recipe! You can view this by clicking on the “Nutrition Information” link beneath the “At a Glance” box on the recipe page. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  7. Cindy

    I just made these English muffins this morning, and they are great! I cooked 8 of them on a non-stick griddle, 4 in a 12″ stainless steel skillet, and 4 in a 10″ cast iron skillet. it worked out perfectly. I have a simmer setting on my gas stove, and I started out using that, and after about 20 minutes, I decided I needed a little more heat, so I cranked it up to LOW. They browned nicely and were cooked on the inside using this method. I will definitely make these again!

    Reply
  8. Darlene

    Wondering if anyone has tried using a (Cuisinart) Griddler. I have tried Alton Brown’s recipe, although quite different, using rings on the griddler at 300F for 12 mins. Lid down, no need for flipping over. Works very well. Much more of a “soupy” dough so the rings do really help. Curious before I start experimenting….

    Reply
  9. Heather

    I love King Arthur flour, this lovely website, and most of the recipes I find here. I didn’t really care for this recipe, however. Possibly because I’m at high altitude–above 5,000 ft. I thought the result was too dense and a little too sweet. I feel one tablespoon of sugar would have been plenty. The dense texture may have been the result of weighing down the cooking muffins with a pan. It pushed the air out and they were quite heavy. Also, for me the cooking time listed was too long. Fifteen minutes is too much time on a cast iron griddle at medium low to low temperature. I did about five minutes per side and that was plenty. I don’t like to bake muffins, I prefer the griddle method. Finally, mine got to 160 degrees F internal temp and that was quite enough. They were not doughy, but in fact too dry. Had I kept cooking them to reach 200, they would have been inedible.

    I honestly think the problem was not recipe, but most likely the altitude. Baking at high altitude is quite different. I wish this website would include a high altitude variation in the recipes.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Heather, we’re a bit challenged when it comes to testing our recipes at high-altitude, since we are located in a river valley, but we do offer these high-altitude baking tips to help guide your modifications. Barb@KAF

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