I love baking breads. There is a unique pleasure in stirring the yeast, watching it foam, and then kneading the tough flour in and out of your hands and across the cutting board. There is a certain magic to leaving the room and, returning an hour later, discovering that the small ball of dough has doubled in size, the yeast breathing life into the round.
One of the additional pleasures of baking bread is in the anticipation, as the smell of baking break slowly fills the kitchen, before settling over the entire apartment, building a sense of eagerness in the room’s occupants.
For better or worse, there is no such anticipation with English Muffins. There is no painful waiting process, as you wait for the oven to do its work. In this case, this is stove-top yeast bread, which means the baking process is done in minutes rather than an hour or two.
Once the English Muffins have cooked, be sure to use a fork to split the muffins to get the distinctive nooks and crannies.
WHOLE WHEAT ENGLISH MUFFINS
Recipe adapted from Pete Bakes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Down Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12 Muffins
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons) 1/4 cup warm water 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature) 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk (at room temperature) Cornmeal for sprinkling
HOW YOU TO DO IT:
1. Proof the yeast. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup warm water (105-115° F), the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let it stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the mixture doesn’t foam, you’ll have to discard it and start over with new yeast).
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, remaining sugar, salt and yeast mixture. Mix in the shortening and 1 cup of the milk. Add the remaining milk if the dough is too dry.
3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour. After an hour, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray or lightly coat with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Move the dough balls to the baking sheet evenly spaced apart (giving them room to rise more). Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for another hour.
4. Heat the oven to 350 and heat up a skillet on medium heat on the stovetop. Brush the skillet with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the skillet a few at a time. Allow them to cook on the skillet for 5-8 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned. Once browned, carefully flip and cook the other side for about 5-8 minutes more. They should flatten as they cook.
5. When the muffins look as if they are about to burn, remove them from the skillet and transfer quickly to a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes. You do not need to wait until all of the muffins have been cooked on the skillet before moving them to the oven – as the first batch is baking, move the second batch of muffins to the skillet.
6. Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving. Serve with lots of butter and/or jelly. Store the muffins in a sealed Ziploc bag in the fridge or freezer.