I was so excited to make these English muffins last weekend that I woke up without an alarm at five last Sunday. Then I forced myself to go back to sleep because making bread at five in the morning is ridiculous. The wait, though excruciatingly long, was worth it—homemade English muffins are infinitely better than the store-bought version.
Even if you’re not as fanatic of a bread baker as I am, you’ll still love making these English muffins. I developed this recipe specifically for English muffins that can be baked in the morning, in under an hour. Once the dough is put together in the evening, it spends the night in the refrigerator, which allows it to rise slowly and develop more flavor than a traditional dough that rises for only an hour or two.
In the morning, the dough is pressed out into a large rectangle, then cut out into English muffins. My English muffins were on the smaller size, because despite having cookie cutters in the shape of squirrels, grapes, gingerbread men, hearts, Christmas trees, and my four year old handprint, we don’t have any three inch biscuit cutters, so I used a mason jar instead. However, if you have a round cookie cutter, feel free to use it.
To get the signature “nooks and crannies,” the English muffins are dusted with cornmeal and cooked in a cast iron skillet until golden brown for a chewy crust and airy interior, then baked for a few more minutes to fully cook the center. English muffins must be split in half with a fork to ensure that the nooks and crannies remain intact; slicing them in half with a knife would undo all of the hard work.
They’re fantastic hot out of the oven or toasted until golden brown. Serve them with your favorite spread and enjoy them for a special breakfast.
Whole Wheat English Muffins
Makes 18 small or 9 large English muffins
1 cup water, 100F
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons of cornmeal
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof the yeast. Then add the flours, baking powder, and salt. Turn the mixer on medium low to combine all the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium and knead for 6-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Transfer the dough to a sealed container (at least twice the volume of the dough), and let rise in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.
- Once the dough has risen in the fridge, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick, then using a floured glass, cut out individual muffins. Using a traditional narrow-mouthed mason jar will yield 18 muffins, while a 2 inch biscuit cutter will yield slightly more. Let the dough rest on the surface until puffy and risen, 30-40 minutes.
- 10 minutes before the muffins have finished rising, preheat the oven to 350F and have a baking sheet ready. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-low heat, and dust the muffins with cornmeal. Once the pan is hot, place the muffins in the pan, leaving at least ½ inch between them. Cook for 2-4 minutes per side until golden brown, then transfer the muffins to the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. While the first batch is baking, cook the remaining muffins in the cast-iron, dusting each muffin with cornmeal, then bake as before. Let the muffins cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before splitting in half lengthwise with a fork and serving.