English Muffins

I don’t remember ever having a breakfast sandwich until I moved to New York. 

Don’t get me wrong. We ate breakfast in Minnesota. They had Egg McMuffins (shudder) there as well. They just don’t have all the greasy delis, bodegas, and carts where you can order that classic egg & cheese on a roll. 

If I ate breakfast out in Minnesota, it was usually two eggs – over easy, with a side of hash browns and toast. If I wanted to shake things up a bit, there were always omelets and pancakes. My father is a master omelet maker. Still, there is something to being able to go to a corner store and pay a guy $1.50 to make a greasy sandwich – that also serves as a really tasty hangover cure.

Fast forward a few years. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had huge cravings for egg sandwiches in the morning. I decided to start searching for that perfect breakfast sandwich. I still haven’t found it. I haven’t found anyone who gets all the parts just right. If the bagel or roll is good, then my luck – the eggs are overdone. Or the cheese is all wrong. I don’t need much. A toasted english muffin or roll with american cheese, two eggs, salt, and pepper. That’s all it takes. 

I have done bagels. Rolls are easy. I had never done English Muffins. 

Growing up, we often used to eat the classic Thomas’s English Muffins.  With all its nooks and cranny goodness.  I decided I had to make something like that. I studied dozens of recipes online and in my various baking cookbooks. I researched flour and muffins rings. It didn’t seem too complicated. I simply procrastinated. I finally dug in. Sunday morning was D-Day. It really wasn’t hard to do. Was fun to make – and tasty too! 

Traditional English Muffins

1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast (or a little less than a tablespoon of instant yeast)
Pinch of sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Cornmeal (for dusting)

If using active dry yeast, combine the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. If using instant yeast, as I did, you can just mix the yeast in with the flour and omit this first step and the sugar.

Combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in egg, milk, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in each time, until you have a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with cornmeal and then roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Use a large round cookie cutter or an upside down drinking glass to cut the muffins out of the dough.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the muffins onto the skillet and let the bake for 5 to 10 minutes until quite dark before flipping.

 I threw my english muffins in the oven for a few minutes to finish the baking process.

Cool them on a wire rack when out of the oven.

Serve toasted with butter as I did on Sunday, or as a breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese as I intend to do tomorrow morning. Enjoy!

Check out all the nooks and crannies here!

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