Making Mornings Brighter

I lied. I promised an amazing morning recipe early this week and somehow I’m sitting here Thursday morning finally making it happen. My internet’s been down, so I’m sitting at the coffee shop right down the street where I used to camp out before I had internet in the first place. It’s kind of a nice change of scenery and pace from my living room (obviously). They make better coffee, there’s buzz, there’s bits of the paper  strewn about, and pieces of conversation to eavesdrop in on. And this morning, there seems to be a steady stream of Phil Collins. Not sure what to say about that.

But I am sure what to say about breakfast these days. Since I’ve been commuting to Marin, I don’t have much time to have my typical breakfast of yogurt, granola, and honey. I can barely seem to get coffee and milk in my travel mug and get out the door on time. So I’ve started planning ahead a little with things I can grab and take with me. Homemade granola bars? Check. Bananas and those nice little pouches of peanut butter? Check. A damn fine English muffin. Check.

My mom actually says these are the best thing I’ve ever made. She doesn’t make those proclamations lightly. She made breakfast for her best friend Carol yesterday and toasted them with butter and fruity jam.  And she’s already put in a request that I make a batch around the holidays so we have some around the house. I brought a bag to my “man friend”, Creg, and a few to some coworkers. The reaction’s always kind of funny: What?! You made your own English muffins? I didn’t know people did that. Well I’m here to report back that they do, and they’re shockingly simple, so you should too.

This was actually the first time that I’ve worked with yeast (I tend to be a quick-bread kind of gal), and  I was (and still am) taken aback with how a simple ball of dough transforms itself into light and slightly chewy little disks with the requisite nooks and crannies. So cool.


The following recipe is slightly adapted from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I actually found it online at this lovely blog. The key, as with most bread recipes that call for yeast, is a little patience and a side project. Break out that magazine you’ve been wanting to catch up on. Or the ironing or wii fit or…you know. You get the idea. And for me, my dough took  longer to rise than the recipe dictated, so it took a little extra patience and some nail biting. But it all worked out in the end. It’s as simple as rising, quickly cooking on a griddle or skillet, and baking for a few minutes:

I wrote about the recipe and a great cafe in San Francisco that makes their own English muffins on Bay Area Bites this week, so if you’re interested in reading even more on the topic, feel free to head over there. Otherwise, here’s your ticket to brighter mornings.

English Muffins

English Muffins

  • Yield: 6
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 15 mins
  • Inactive time: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Total time: 3 hrs 5 mins

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4-1 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix in the butter (or shortening) and 3/4 cup of milk (or buttermilk). If the dry ingredients are not yet fully incorporated, add enough of the remaining milk so a dough forms. Stop mixing right when this occurs: don’t over mix! Sprinkle flour on a dry surface and turn the dough out of the mixer, and knead by hand for about 9-10 minutes. The dough should be tacky (but not sticky), and register 77 to 81 F. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and roll the ball of dough around the bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least an hour, or until the dough doubles in size. It helps to keep the dough (in terms of rising) in a relatively warm place–away from cold, drafty windows or open doors.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into small balls. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal.

Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with enough room to rise and double in size. Mist them lightly with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal then cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour, or until the rolls are nearly double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat a flat griddle to medium (350 F) (you can also use a skillet on the stove top if you don’t have a griddle). Brush the griddle lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the griddle. Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the bottoms are a rich golden brown color. Be careful not to burn. Carefully flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. They should flatten as they cook.

Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes.Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

Comments

  1. Manggy

    Goodness, even with your first attempt at yeast you still pull it off better than I do!

  2. Bria

    These look gorgeous - they've been lingering on my long list of things to make from BBA and you've inspired me to go ahead and make them this weekend.

    But more importantly...girl, get on the yeast bread wagon! I'm telling you, once you start, you will never buy bread again. Try my challah sometime - it's unbelievably easy and addictive. Yeast dough gets a really bad rap for difficulty for some reason, but if you are a reasonably adept baker (i.e. you are good about observing reasonably exact measurements) there's nothing to it.

    Hmm, I am now contemplating starting a church of bread baking so I can properly proselytize about it from a pulpit. A pulpit made of bread :)

  3. Kasey

    Megan, I swear we are on the same wavelength! I have been posting breakfast recipes all week and am currently obsessed with bread-baking at home. Working my way through Jim Lahey's My bread. Must try these English muffins!

  4. megang

    Bria-Consider me converted. Seriously. Church of bread baking, here I come. I plan on stealing my mom's copy of Jim Lahey's book and trying out one of his recipes. Or his pizza dough which looks pretty amazing.

    And Kasey, yes, I've seen some good stuff on your site lately! Ummm, bruleed oatmeal?! Hello. I think there's something about spring and fresh starts and breakfast that go hand in hand.

    Mangy and Mardi: thank you!

  5. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Gorgeous photos! I have never made my own English Muffins, but I should after looking at these. Love that marmalade on the top photo. The Phil Collins, not so sure about that either.

  6. Denise | Chez Danisse

    It is surprising that I never even considered baking my own English Muffins. I don't have a stand mixer w/ paddle attachment or griddle, but I think I can still swing these. Fun! Thank you.

  7. Tangled Noodle

    Ah-mazing! The first photo put a smile on my face, which only got wider as I read your post. I'm a yogurt, granola, and honey breakfast fan myself but I am easily convinced to change my ways with this treat. Thank you for sharing the link to the recipe - I see brighter English muffin mornings in the future!

  8. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    I really want to give these a try too! I've heard they are simple and I know they'd be so much nicer than supermarket ones!

  9. ValleyWriter

    Oh wow - these look terrific! I can't wait to check out your recipe for homemade granola bars, too!

  10. Lucy

    Wow these look delicious - my breakfast would take ages if it involved eating these as they look very addictive! Beautiful and delicious, what more could you want?

  11. 5 Star Foodie

    Wow, the homemade english muffins looks amazing! So good with Bonne Maman jam!

  12. Steph

    I'm currently making these right now! I am so excited to have these for breakfast tomorrow morning! And it's 11:30 PM! I'm only on the first rise...So it could be a long night. But, so far...looks worth it! Yum-yum-yum. :D

  13. Steph

    I made them. And I ate them...Almost as soon as they came out of the oven. They are SSSSOOO good! Everything an English muffin has in flavour plus that yummy homemade taste. So good! I'm glad that I found this recipe. My husband took one bite and shouted with glee. Literally...Shouted.

  14. megang

    Yay, Steph! So glad you liked them (not much not to like, huh?) I had my first bite late at night, too--just as good. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Mary

    I had been thinking about homemade English muffins all last week after I bought some from the Pop-Up General Store in Oakland - best ones I've ever ate. Never thought I could actually make them myself until you posted this recipe. Making them now. Thank you!

  16. Danielle

    I love Peter Reinhart's English Muffins, they are seriously, SO GOOD! Been meaning to make them again for breakfast but just haven't found the time (I know I know, it doesn't take very long) :)

    Was great to meet you on Sunday, hope to catch up in-person again soon, perhaps at a factory tour of Heath Ceramics?? ;)

  17. Dana

    I've been looking for a recommended recipe for English muffins for a couple of weeks now. A lot of my culinarily inclined friends haven't had much luck with them.

    Thank you! You totally made my afternoon!

  18. megang

    Glad to hear it, Dana. Thanks for stopping by.

    And Danielle, loved meeting you as well--definitely one of my favorite aspects of blogging. You should definitely come down to Heath. I think you'd really love it!

  19. Nicole

    I had been wanting to make homemade english muffins for a long time. Your post gave me the last nudge I needed. These are amazing, I have made them four times in the last two weeks. I'm hoping to make eggs benedict soon.

  20. Megan

    These are making my stomach growl at 5:00pm on a Tuesday. I'm going to make these this weekend. I have to!

Join the Discussion

Summer Desserts

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More
Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

This past week we've had quite a heat wave in Seattle. I've been getting into the bakery early in the mornings so as to avoid the afternoon heat + hot oven combination, and it turns out the upstairs of our new house is quite a little hot box. I bought some aggressive blinds and a new fan and am hoping both will help cool things down a bit. The wool blanket is in the linen closet for the season, and Sam's been making iced tea like it's his job. Summer has arrived! A few nights ago, the thought of actually doing much real cooking seemed a bit overwhelming, so I figured it was time to dig out the ice cream maker and get to work. I'd wanted to do something with the beautiful strawberries we have in the markets right now, but it seems every time I get a little pint it's gone before I have the chance. They are just so incredibly sweet, and it seems a shame to do anything other than eat them right out of the container, preferably while sitting on the Moroccan picnic blanket you brought back from honeymoon on the lawn in your new backyard trying not to stress out about the incredible, insurmountable number of weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But cherries: somehow the bag of cherries made it safely through the weekend, so I set about to find a great cherry ice cream recipe. 

Read More
No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

When you have an eight month old baby, making social plans can be hard. Especially in the evenings. When I was pregnant, I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the big premises of the book is how the French feel strongly that babies and children can fit into your lives and that you shouldn't have to change and alter everything to accommodate them. I remember reading the book and thinking: YES! Life will be just as it was, except we'll have a small baby in tow. Obviously a few things would likely be different, but I didn't want to change our routines, change the way we cooked or approached time off together, or see our friends any less. Well of course I'm the fool. Or at the very least, I'm not as French as I thought I was. Today, we very much schedule things around Oliver's nap schedule and bedtime, but thankfully we have a lot of other friends with kids who get it. Friends who make homemade cookies, own ice cream businesses, and have really great taste in music. Friends who host the kind of occasion that warrants homemade hot fudge sauce and eating dessert first.

Read More
Dating Yourself

Dating Yourself

We're back! After a restful few days in Lake George, I ended up flying home while Sam spent a little time with his family in New Jersey and a few days in New York City by himself before taking the train all the way back to Seattle (a solid four day journey). If you know Sam, this isn't surprising; he loves trains. When he's gone, I quickly revert back to my single gal days of eating veggie quesadillas for dinner (over and over) and staying up working later than I'd like. We would talk on the phone often as Sam would narrate his very full days in New York City and the stops and layovers he had while on the train. After a few days of me lamenting the fact that I wasn't there to experience it all with him, he encouraged me to ditch the quesadillas and do something special for dinner. See a movie. Go to the museum for just an hour. In short: I needed to get better at dating myself.

Read More
Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

I received The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon cookbook in the mail not long before we moved to our new house, and I remember lying in bed and bookmarking pages I was excited to try but also feeling overwhelmed with where to start: the truth is that this summer has been a relatively low-inspiration / low energy time in the kitchen for me. I'd been chalking it up to pregnancy but when I think back and if I'm honest with myself, my cooking style tends to be very easy and produce-driven during these warmer months. I rarely break out complicated recipes, instead relying on fresh tomatoes and corn or zucchini and homemade pesto to guide me. But last night I cracked open Sara's book and pulled out a few peaches I've had sitting on the counter, fearing their season may be nearing its end. This morning as I was making coffee, I sliced up the peaches, toasted the pecans and churned away -- having a bite (or maybe two) before getting it into the freezer to firm up. 

Read More