Revisiting English Muffins

Although most people don’t place English muffins in a category of haute cuisine, they are a workhorse that can meet a number of breakfast tastes. They were a rare sight at our breakfast table, but since my family enjoys various bread and egg combinations with increasing regularity, their absence became increasingly striking. I hoped I could find a recipe that exceeded the occasional store-bought option.

I tried Stella Parks’ No-Kneed English Muffins, use whole wheat for 1/3 of the flour and a healthy dose of honey. Aside from the milk, it’s a lean dough that avoids the weight of butter that I find unpleasant in the morning. I preferred this version to the richer, all-white version from Bravetart. Both recipes are create a similar bread dough that is loosely shaped into relative-round blobs that are griddled after an overnight rest. The texture was a contrast to the loftier texture of Peter Reinhart’s version from Artisan Breads Every Day which create a batter that is cooked in metal rings. Reinhart’s version is undoubtedly cleaner looking, but missed the rustic appeal of Parks’ whole wheat version.

After a long hiatus, I recently returned to Parks’ recipe, this time using home-ground whole wheat flour and a 80 grams of a sourdough starter in place of 40 g each of the white flour and milk. I typically gave the muffins an overnight rest prior to griddling, but Parks’ allows for up to 42 hours, so I waited an extra day. For a less-greasy profile, I skipped the butter she called for on the griddle, and just lightly oiled the griddle so the muffins wouldn’t risk sticking (this also reduced the near-burning I had occasionally experienced from the added honey). The results were a hit with the whole family when served as egg sandwiches. The muffins are slightly sweet, but not overly so, and have a great texture.

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