… we were in wholefoods in Kensington High Street the other day and they had for sale a packet of 2 of the tallest English Muffins i’ve ever seen, no word of a lie they were each at least 10cm high and if you think that your average English Muffin is usually around the 4cm mark you’ll agree this is quite considerably tall… for those rare few amongst you unfamiliar with wholefoods it is an American brand supermarket, perfectly commonplace in the USA, famous for its ‘market-place’ style of theming and display of over-shiny fruit, exotic veg and delicious cakes and breads… it has now hit the most upmarket of areas of this countries capital… you quite literally need to take out a second mortgage to shop in here… it makes Waitrose look like Lidl’s buck-toothed sister… we often go in just to smell stuff…
… I always think English Muffins are the luxurious breakfast choice… not because they’re particularly fancy, the basic recipe is very similar to my basic white loaf… no, I think it has something to do with eggs benedict and all that very naughty hollandaise sauce…
English Olive Oil Muffins
although in this house we just call them muffins… whilst researching for this post most of the recipes I came across were pretty much identical so i’m giving you a classic white english muffin recipe (the olive oil / no knead method is inspired by me not reading the recipe properly and then picking up the wrong bottle of oil)… its the methods for cooking them that seem to vary… here i’m trying two methods, the frying pan style and the oven-baked ‘sandwich’ baking tray style…
500g strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
300ml milk (I used skimmed milk)
some olive oil for kneading
– warm the milk, add the yeast to it and then set-aside for 10 minutes
– in a large bowl sieve the flour, salt and sugar then add the milk and bring together with your hands
– once you have a roughly shaggy dough ball, cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes to rest
– pour a little olive oil onto your work surface, tip the rested dough ball onto this and then drizzle some oil into the bowl and wipe around… now gently knead the dough for about 8 pushes then return the dough to the bowl and cover… repeat this process 3 more times, always oiling the work surface… you will notice each time that the dough grows, softens and fills with air… it is like magic!
– after the final knead, cover with a tea towel and put the bowl in a warm place for an hour or so until it doubles in size.
– grease 2 baking rays with some butter and sprinkled with flour
– after an hour turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and pat out to about 1cm thick and using an 8cm cutter cut out 10-12 muffins, place these onto the baking trays, cover with tea towels and place them back into your warm place for another hour or until doubled in size
now onto the two different cooking methods
oven baked: (taken from Women’s Institute Bread)
– preheat the oven to 200C fan
– take a greased and floured baking sheet and lay it gently onto the top of the muffins
– bake for 12-15 minutes until golden
pan fried: (take from the brilliant Small Adventures in Cooking by James Ramsden)
– melt some olive oil and butter in a pan
– place over a medium heat and cook for about 7 mins on both sides
… I found both methods produced wonderful results with the oven-baked ones having more of a traditional English Muffin feel whilst the pan-fried ones tasted more doughy…I ate the funny bastard one (you know, the one that’s made up of all the scrag-ends of the dough) straight from the pan with butter… divine!!… eat and of course, enjoy!
i needs to get me a LARGE circle cutter….mini muffins just ain't going to CUT it! unless making eggs benny with quails eggs…
Mark Willis says
What you say about Wholefoods is very true. Customers are lulled into a false sense of security and wellbeing by the homesy / “organic” style, only to be stung at the checkout by some very UN-friendly prices. Typical of most supermarkets I think!
I don't mind paying a premium price for some excellent ingredients, but it grieves me to pay over the odds for some pretty basic stuff.
[Rant over now.] Do you think English muffins might perhaps be nice made with Rapeseed oil too? It would certainly be more English.
Magnolia Verandah says
Never made muffins, and was intrigued by the panfried version. Might need to organise these for a late breakfast treat for the man.
Thanks for the inspiration, Dom. I'll bake them in the Rayburn – so glance out way in a couple of hours and check out the colour of the smoke…
It has been years since I made English muffins Dom, so first of all thanks for the reminder and second of all for the different methods.
I love muffins and eggs benedict are just heavenly. But I have never made them. I will pass this recipe on to my OH who is into bread making and anything that requires yeast and leaving to rise. Something to do with anger manaagement I think !!
I was meaning to buy a copy of “Bread” by Liz Herbert, so this prompted me and I just ordered it. I recently bought “Cakes” which is a wonderful book. Both because of their appearance in blogs……
Sue/the view from great island says
I've been meaning to try my hand at English Muffins for a few months now, thanks for the reminder, and the hints. Like Victoria, I first have to find a big muffin cutter…no use making teeny ones!
little macaroon. says
haha! the funny bastard one – I think I have a new name for the first pancake in the batch – y'know – the one that's always shite
Cakes and Teacups says
I love an English Muffin with Eggs benedict and hollandaise sauce. Speaking of Whole Foods, I was there the other searching for Dark Muscovado sugar. You can't find them anywhere where I'm at so you'll have to go to specialty stores. Quite spendy $8.00 for the size of half a brick. We do have a neighborhood market where I do most of my shopping called Fresh and Easy. It's Tesco's baby sister they have most of all my British treats, condiments, ingredients,etc…
I love English muffins with eggs benedict. We had eggs benedict this morning but alas had no muffins to go with them – if only I'd known…. Wholefoods is like food porn! I love just going in there and wandering. Everything is bigger, better, shinier and pricier in that store! Top tip though if you're ever in NYC it's a great place to go for a healthy cheap breakfast when you're pancaked out.
James Brewer says
English muffins and eggs benedict is the best breakfast every. I saw a recipe the other day for Passion Fruit Curd served on English Muffins… think I may now go and do!
Like the look of those, but sadly not a fan of eggs benedict! Think on balance I prefer the oven baked ones, and the crumb shots are great.
From the Kitchen says
Lovely! I think English muffins are an excellent breakfast choice. I'm happy to have this recipe.
I love your no knead, didn't read the recipe approach, sounds just like me! Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but your muffins look fab, nice open texture. A bit of ham, egg and hollandaise would go down a treat!
Karen S Booth says
I have been contemplating making muffins for a while now, after my triumph with my home-made crumpets I was all fired up for it! These look JUST brilliant and I am definitely going to make some now….you cannot beat a hot buttered crumpet or muffin when you are feeling down or a bit blue…..LOVELY post and recipe Dom, and the photos are lush!
Marmaduke Scarlet says
Definitely inspiring. I have never made English muffins, which is odd because I adore them! And it's another excuse to try out some new strong white flour I've been buying – Whissendine Windmill http://www.nationalmillsweekend.co.uk/pages_wind/whissendine.htm I get mine from a local wholefood shop and the bread I've been making with it is truly awesome. Since the mill is in Rutland . .. that's just down the road from you, isn't it?
Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says
Victoria, you can use an empty can as a cutter to make your muffins, they work great!
Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says
We love English muffins, we have whole wheat ones every day – practically! I have a recipe that I've wanted to try for years . . . but I think I'll try yours! Oh, burgers go great on them too!
Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says
Sue, I just mentioned to Victoria that you can use an empty soup/tomato can for a cutter!
Dom at Belleau Kitchen says
Ooh yes we had burgers with them last night. Thanks for being so helpful!
Dom at Belleau Kitchen says
Rutland is not too far although Lincs is a huge county!! We have a wonderful 5 sailed mill that grinds organic flour in Alford which is not 10 mins away and I use their flour which is fab!
Love it that you have invented your own olive oil muffin – by mistake! They look wonderful and the thought of having a couple for breakfast a la benedict has me sighing with longing. Made muffins by “he who shall not be named” a while back and they were a revelation!
Javelin Warrior says
Dom, I've never heard of pan-frying an English muffin like this, but I'm instinctively drawn to anything involving bread and use of my cast iron skillet =) And sadly, although Whole Foods are quite common in the US, the closest store to me is over 2 hours way. Which is sad because it's hard to get specialty items from any store where I live…
Susan Lindquist says
That's right … a 6 oz. tuna or water chestnut tin is perfect!
Susan Lindquist says
Oh Dom! You had me laughing at the description of Waitstone's in relation to Whole Foods. Her in the States, we call Whole Food … Whole Paycheck. Some folk swear by the quality, but I have used the store only for specific organic or specialty items that I just can't get elsewhere.
As for those English muffins? Yes, please! Make mine Eggs Bennie with smoked salmon and a bit of spinach under all that naughty Hollandaise! Orgasmic!
I'm a bit of a fan of Wholefoods in high street ken it is expensive but fun to explore. I had no idea muffins were so straightforward to make. I'll have to try them along with the eggs and hollandaise. GG
These are so lovely. I make eggs Benedict for Christmas; it would really be fab to make my own English muffins for them. I will have to give it a go (or let Stone, since he is the morning baker). In our part of the US at least, we affectionately refer to Whole Foods as Whole Paycheck.
Ohh, I could imagine eating these for a lazy Sunday breakfast (right about now) , heaped high with creamy scrambled egg. And I know exactly what you mean about Whole Foods- its such a treat of a place for us, and I have to drag A kicking and screaming past it as we head down the road to the, by comparison, very very reasonable Waitrose!
Home made English Muffins always taste a million trillion times better than the store bought variety. Never attempted them with olive oil though and now I won;t be satisfied till I have!
Misky at Misk Cooks says
I'm just about to write-up my first Randon Recipe which is for English Muffin Bread. Very close, eh?
Michael Toa says
Looks superb Dom. I haven't managed to make English muffins at home yet (among so many other things), but I'd love to give this a go.
Fabulicious Food says
Ooh they look lovely and fluffy and interesting to compare two methods. Yum.
My stomach is grumbling as I read this…we're just between lunch and dinner…
English Muffin's sound perfect and although I've never made them before you've given me no excuse
I love English muffins and have never made them. I've gotta try these!
The Viking says
I don't often comment on Dom's blog as I just prefer to eat it but these were very tasty indeed.
From Beyond My Kitchen Window says
We love egg sandwiches on English muffins. I've been on a bread making kick lately, maybe I should give these a go. I had to laugh about your comments on Whole Foods. We in America find them very expensive as well. I do not do my weekly shopping there as I am a law abiding citizen and robbing banks to pay for my groceries is out of the question. Plus I am married to a policeman.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
I see so many of the cakey muffins these days that I forget THESE are proper muffins. Didn't realise you could fry the dough, that looks awesome. x
I baked these, using your recipe, at the weekend – they were fabulous! Everyone enjoyed them. Thanks, Dom.
Brownieville Girl says
My MIL often cooked her brown bread on the pan – beautiful shape and delicious.