Quick and Soft English Muffins
Ah, bread. You're my favorite.
And, considering the fact that my favorite food is bread, I'm a little ashamed of myself. No, actually, I'm mortified. Because I haven't posted a bread recipe on the blog in seven months. I've posted other yeast dough recipes on the blog, but I haven't posted bread bread since November, when I shared a recipe for buttery soft pretzels.
SHAME ON ME.
So allow me to make it up to you. Allow me to make up seven months of soft, doughy, delicious abstinence with these quick and soft English muffins.
English muffins. Nothing like an actual muffin. Everything like a regular yeast bread. Not a food I grew up on. Not a bread type we ever had around the house. Perhaps because we're not English. Who knows? Ask my Mom.
But an English muffin was a food I've always wanted to try. And this year, for the very first time, I did. Yes, it took me 21 years to taste an English muffin. I know, shame on me again.
Well, it was a great experience, to say the least. And of course, after the experience, I started searching for English muffin recipes to make at home.
Most of the recipes I found for English muffins required the dough to rise overnight, or at least for many more hours than I knew I would be capable of waiting. I mean, if there's English muffin dough sitting right there in my kitchen, what makes these recipe creators think I would have the patience and/or ability to allow it to rise for a minimum of 4 hours? Please, tell me.
So I abandoned the web and began sifting through my cookbooks, which since the invention of the Internet and Google and food blogs and all, is something I haven't done in a while.
And then I found it. I found an English muffin recipe from the Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking cookbook that only required 1 hour of initial rising time and an additional 20 minutes of rising after the dough was shaped.
I did a little jig. And got right to work.
The dough for these English muffins has only six ingredients. And can be made by hand. In one bowl. In 5 minutes. With another 5 minutes of kneading. It's your lucky day.
If you've never had or made an English muffin before, allow me to enlighten you on the process.
First, you prepare the yeast dough like you would for any ordinary bread recipe. Then, you allow the dough to rise until doubled in size like you would for any ordinary bread recipe. Then, you divide the dough into equal pieces and round the pieces into balls, like you would for any ordinary bread roll recipe. Then, you allow the rolls to rise again, like you would for any ordinary bread roll recipe. And this is where it gets a little weird.
Instead of baking the rolls in the oven, you cook them in a skillet. Yes, that's right, there's no oven-time for these babies. The English muffins are cooked on a stovetop. You just "fry" the muffins in batches. Toast the muffins on one side, flip them over, and toast them on the other side. It takes about 15 minutes. It's too easy. And they're too good.
If you're the type of person that likes to know what you're getting yourself into before you jump into something, here's what you should expect from these quick and soft English muffins:
- A crispy, crunchy, toasted crust all around the muffin
- A soft, chewy, doughy, almost spongy interior
- All the deliciousness you could hope for
If you're the type of person that likes ideas on what to pair your English muffins with, let me be of service:
- A generous spread of jam or preserves
- A dollop of butter that melts as soon as it touches the toasted, hot muffin
- Eggs Benedict!!!
- Anything else you would normally enjoy eating with bread
I hope, after you make these soft and chewy but also crispy and crunchy English muffins, you can find it in your heart to forgive me for depriving you of a bread recipe for so very long.
Quick and Soft English Muffins
Yield: 10 English Muffins
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter or oil (canola, vegetable, olive etc.)
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal, for dusting
Pour warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar, then yeast on top. Let sit and foam for 10 minutes.
Add in melted butter/oil, flour, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once combined, drop dough onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed to make the dough stop sticking to the countertop.
Shape the dough into ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, sprinkle a few tablespoons of cornmeal on a piece of parchment paper or a towel.
Once dough is doubled, knead a few times on a floured surface and then divide into 10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by rolling it between the palm of your hand and the countertop.
Place the balls onto the prepared parchment and press them into flattish rounds. Sprinkle more cornmeal over the tops of the rolls. Cover rolls with towel and let rise 20 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan or skillet and grease with cooking spray. Cooking the muffins in batches, cover and fry on low heat on first side for 9 minutes, until the muffins are puffed up and golden and toasted on the outside. Flip and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the second side is also golden and toasted.
Adapted from the Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking cookbook