Thursday, November 16, 2017

English Muffins with Nooks and Crannies with the Bread Baking Babes

The Bread Baking Babes have been baking close to ten years now, so it has gotten tricky to find breads that we haven't baked. This month I'm Kitchen of the Month, so finding a good recipe was a necessity. 

I was surprised to look at the list and not see English Muffins. I'm quite fond of English Muffins, but I grew up with Thomas's version and they always have 'nooks and crannies', the irregular air bubbles inside that, when split, make great places for the butter to collect after the muffin halves are toasted. My earlier attempts at making my own English Muffins were not successful in that department. The texture was like regular nooks and crannies to speak of, hence unacceptable.

Recently I discovered a recipe that seemed like it would solve that problem. It was found on the Serious Eats site and the blogger is Stella Parks. She combines bread flour and whole wheat flour, uses instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise), doesn't knead the dough, and lets the dough rise slowly, then puts dough blobs onto a bed of corn meal, sprinkles more on top, and lets that sit in the fridge at least 12 hours. Who knew that these steps would lead to excellent English Muffins?

After trying the recipe as written, I also tried to make a sourdough version with my sourdough starter. With a few variations of the recipe, that worked, too. The original version has a distinct honey flavor and you can taste the whole wheat. The sourdough version allows the sour flavor to shine so the honey and wheat are muted flavors. Both are delicious and worth your time. There are plenty of nooks and crannies!

To become a Buddy, and I hope you do, just bake these (well, actually you griddle them) and email me a photo and a short description of your experience making them, plus a link to your post if you posted about them. I'll send you a Buddy badge for your post at the end of the month. You have until November 29th to email me. My email is elle dot lachman at gmail dot com. I'll do a round-up post in early December and put something up on our Bread Baking Babes Facebook page, too. Come bake with us!

Be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes sites and see what they have done with this recipe. There are sure to be variations!

Judy's Gross Eats - Judy
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna

Bake My Day - Karen

English Muffins - from Serious Eats, Stella Parks,

Makes about twelve 3 1/2-inch muffins
ACTIVE TIME:20 minutes - TOTAL TIME:16 to 30 hours


·         10 ounces bread flour (2 cups; 285g)
·         5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup; 140g) (makes a more tender interior)
·         2 3/4 teaspoons (11g) kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as  much by volume
·         1 1/4 teaspoons (4g) instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
·         12 ounces cold milk (1 1/2 cups; 340g), any percentage will do (helps create nooks and crannies)
·         3 1/2 ounces honey (1/4 cup; 100g)
·         1 large egg white, cold
·         5 ounces fine cornmeal (1 cup; 145g)(I used twice as much and put muffins on two sheet pans with space around them - Elle), and more for dusting - don't skip this
·         Roughly 1 ounce bacon fat, unsalted butter, non-dairy margarine, or oil (2 tablespoons; 30g), for griddling

1. Make the Dough and Let Rise: In a large bowl, mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, and yeast together until well combined. Add milk, honey, and egg white, stirring with a flexible spatula until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled, 4 to 5 hours at 70°F. (The timing is flexible depending on your schedule.)

 For the Second Rise: Thickly cover a rimmed aluminum baking sheet with an even layer of cornmeal. With a large spoon, dollop out twelve 2 2/3-ounce (75g) portions of dough; it's perfectly fine to do this by eye. If you'd like, pinch the irregular blobs here and there to tidy their shape. Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.

3. To Griddle and Serve: Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When sizzling-hot, add half the butter and melt; griddle muffins until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a square-end spatula and griddle as before. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by working your thumbs around the edges to pull them open a little at a time. Toast before serving and store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge).

Sourdough Version:
1 cup active starter fed with a mixture of 1 cup flour and 1 cup water...and allow it to sit at least 1 hour to activate the yeast. Add to flour mixture when you add liquid.

Same amount of whole wheat flour and salt as original recipe

1 teaspoon dry yeast, not larger amount of original recipe

1/2 cup milk, slightly warm, not 
larger amount of original recipe - I mixed the barely warm milk, the honey, and the egg white together before adding to the starter mixture, stirred, then added the flour.

The rest of the recipe is just the same, including the rest of the ingredients (honey, egg white, cornmeal, butter) and the directions.


  1. So yummy, thanks for picking these! I think I will turn down the honey next time, but they're so easy, it will be nice to try them again.

  2. I haven't really been into English muffins but these really do the trick. I can't get over how easy they are to put together and they are real English muffins coming off the griddle! This recipe has me into English muffins!

  3. Thanks for such a great recipe this month. And thank you for the sourdough adaptation. And thank you for being a wonderful host =) hugs.

  4. Your nooks and crannies are perfect. What would an English muffin be without them? It wouldn't hold nearly enough butter!

  5. What a brilliant choice this month! That's what I really love about the BBBabes. I had never really been a fan of English muffins and would never have chosen to make them on my own.

    But now, thanks to you, we love English muffins. Many thanks. This recipe is a keeper!

  6. A fantastic recipe, I thought it would be fiddly and messy when blobbing the dough, but it turned out being very easy. The hardest thing of all was to make enough room im my fridge for their overnight rest. Thanks Elle!

  7. I hope I can try these as a buddy Pat, they look great!

  8. Thank you for choosing this yummy recipe. Like Elizabeth, I've never been a big fan of English muffins, but that may have just changed.

  9. Always fun baking with the Babes! I think this recipe is a keeper. Sooooo much better than store bought.