Secret Agent Muffins

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It blows my mind how different yeast breads and their friends can be. They all have yeast, flour, salt, a little milk or fat, and yet we have all sorts of different types. Rolls, braids, loafs... and of course, the kind that really doesn't make any sense... English muffins.

Muffins of any other kind are those hearty, breakfast, cupcake type things... but English Muffins are a whole different beast altogether. It's like part biscuit, part hand-held type bread. It's like the Gameboy of baked yeast breads... and just about everybody loves them. I just never knew until this week, just how awesome they are... homemade style. Sound crazy? Well, I am back home now, and they always say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree :) That's a compliment Mom... pretty much :)

So, we made English Muffins from scratch... yup, just like good old Mr. Thomas probably did... many, many moons ago. And if I may make a recommendation (like I guess I always do, especially on Fridays), give these a shot. They taste SO much better than their store evil twins... but you knew that already. Oh, and thanks Mom for helping working on my yeast fear. Hopefully we can take care of a few more things in the next month :)

And before I get started, these directions are a little long, so I'll paraphrase and try to keep it concise... I'm not a bread baker, but I'll try.

English Muffins
Recipe Unknown

Dry/Yeast Mixture:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
-2 tsp salt
-1 pkg dry yeast

Liquid Mixture:

- 1 3/4 cups milk

- 1/4 cup water

- 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted

-1-2 cups additional flour

-1 egg

-cornmeal for dusting

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast... set this aside.
In a small sauce pan, heat the milk, water, and butter until very warm (about 120*-130*F).

Add this gradually to the dry mixture and beat on medium speed in a stand up mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add one egg and another 1 cup of flour, and beat on high for 2 minutes. Continue to add small amounts of flour so that a soft dough forms. Remove this dough from the bowl, and knead until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add small amounts of flour. Place back in the bowl, cover, and let rise until it doubles... about one hour.

After it's doubled, punch it down like it called your spouse fat, cover, and let it rise back again... about 45 minutes. Punch it down again like it didn't learn it's lesson :) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/2" thickness. With a 3/4" round cutter, cut out the muffins.

Sprinkle a cookie sheet with cornmeal, and place the muffins about 1" apart from each other. Sprinkle the tops with more cornmeal. Cover and let rise again for another 45 minutes... I know but they need it.

Over low heat, lightly grease a griddle or a heavy skillet. Once the surface is hot, place the muffins with a metal spatula - be careful not to damage or deflate them - on the griddle. They will expand both up and outwards as they cook on each side. Flip over each muffin as they brown, but don't let them burn... they will get too crunchy. This takes about 5 minutes a side. Make sure each side is evenly brown, and cool them on wire racks.
This recipe makes anywhere from 20-24 muffins, depending on how thick they are.

I found a newfound love for English Muffins with this recipe. There is no oven usage, and they are a perfect vehicle for any type of spread or topping. The yeast flavor is simply delicious, and they have a much chewier texture. I had to have this with fresh cranberry sauce. Other great things about this recipe are the variations you can do. Wanna go for whole wheat, honey oatmeal, onion, cheddar, sweet potato, maple, apple nut... then go for it. I think any type of bread you've ever seen or heard about would work wonders. I just went for plain old fashioned, because I had to make sure the recipe worked first.

Live once to live... live twice to live awesome.

Well, that's it for this kid. In case you haven't noticed, a bit busy with all the family/school/job search type things, but I"m still digging all the blogs and recipes. Everything looks great, so keep up the good work, good buddies :)

Comments (52)

yum!I have never tasted these muffins...I am taking my baby steps in baking and till now I have accomplished few basic cookies, cupcakes and cakes.Yey! may be i can give your recipe a try...will be perfect with tea or coffee...oh! you make me hungry!

I miss English muffins (ahh, the life of a gluten-freer).

Interesting how you used the pan instead of the oven, neat recipe. "Punching it down like it called your spouse fat" seems like a perfect way to bust out the stress.

these biscuits look for real good. and all crispy and flaky (and perfect for roasted apple butter, i might add).

and a big thank you to your mom for helping with that yeast fear of yours.

These look great... I have always wanted to make these at home, but haven't dared to yet. I love to eat them McMuffin style... My mom always made "Mom McMuffins" with these while I was growing up... I bet they would have been amazing on home made muffins!

I make bread but did not make any English muffins yet. Looking at yours I may make some. Looks so delicious. You did really good.

english muffins! that's amazing. i'm uber-impressed.

See, I'm allways telling you you have the mind of an European! I'm about to go to bed and I'm thinking this would be awesome for my breakfast tomorrow! Good think your getting on a fight with the yeast and winning! Go Adam's mom as well!

I love english muffins! We can always count on our moms.. my mom helps me a lot with my yeasted breads too. They look so fluffy and yummy.. way better than the kugelhopf I made and mine had lots of butter! I especially like the tops.. they look nice and crispy.

Those look great!! That jelly/jam at the end though - that really did me in. Nothing like an english muffin, with a bit of crispiness, and some sweet jelly. HEAVEN.

I am so impressed. They look amazing. Now I am craving warm English Muffins!

So was Johnny Rivers singing Secret Agent Man while you were making your English Muffins??? Just kidding. They look fantastic. I'm terrified of using yeast, but if you can overcome your fear, well, maybe I can too. Thanks sweetie.

Great recipe and excellent photos Adam. I really want to make these beauties.

Mmmmm - i had English muffins for breakfast today... with bacon and egg of course!

I have yet to attempt my own though... good effort!

I love English muffins. As a matter of fact - I have package sitting in my freezer because they were on sale a few months ago. I promised myself I was going to take them out and use them - and I probably will. I think there's a burger recipe coming soon that these would be great for!


Very cute pic. As for those muffins, they look incredible. English muffins are one of my favorite breakfast, that with butter mmmm. Homemade ones must be amazing.

You are so right - I've made homemade English muffins too, and there is no comparison to anything you can buy in the store. Yeah, a little time consuming, but worth it. I added some cooked egg, ham and cheese to my finish muffin for a breakfast sandwich the fast food chains could only hope to make.

This is an ambitious project for someone who doesn't do much yeast baking. Very impressive. I never knew that English muffins weren't actually baked.

They look fantastic! You're going to put Mr Thomas out of business.

Homemade English muffins? You are good!

My dad eats English muffins all the time. I told him someday I'll make them homemade, but I haven't...yet.

Oh wow, those look perfect. English muffins are so good with homemade jam or apple butter! YUM!

Ohhh yeah! These look amazing! I love a good english muffin with pb & jelly. Oh yeah!
Gorgeous photos, love that last one. Rock on!

I love English muffins and I love baking bread, so thank you very much for the recipe!

I wonder how are English muffins called in England?

Nice work! I think English muffins are one of the very few things I've never baked. They've been on my list for a while and your post reminds me to get on with it already!


These are some of the finest looking English muffins I've ever seen. No way are you afraid of yeast.

hehe, a muffin (otherwise joked as a cupcake without frosting) made with yeast. sounds funny. Your muffins look soooo good. And the lighting is just great. And btw, you've been tagged!

Holy moly they look good. For someone who isn't a bread maker you seem to have done a good job! Must make these asap... :D

Wow! You made those? They look fantastic. So much better than the ones in the store.
I've never tried making English muffins before. Might have to try! Love the pictures.

yeah, i think these would beat those from the store ANY day! way to tackle the yeast :) and i love mom's help, haha.

darn, this weekend with all those dogs? i'll be there for thanksgiving...

"the Gameboy of baked yeast breads" - hilarious! I would never have thought to make my own english muffins. You are definitely braver then me, my friend. :)

Nice crust... Must be so good with the bits of cornmeal for a bit of crunch.

wow, they look so inviting... with the jam, oh my, wish i can have a bite... great job,adam... :)

I like the Gameboy analogy. English muffins are a weekend staple around here. But homemade would certainly be a few steps above the ones I take out of my freezer and toast to make edible.

How interesting that they were baked on the stove top instead of the oven. I learn something new everyday and when it's food knowledge...even better! I've got a new mission...thanks!

mmmmmmm... carbs.... :D these look great!

Adam I love muffins and these look really wonderful!!! xxGloria

WOW! They look awesome Adam! I am impressed - I still don't have the patience for those kind of yeasty concoctions, but I bet they were worth all the labor! :)

And I hope that dough learned its lesson, yeah!

Homemade English muffins are incredible, I've made them twice. This might have been pre-blogging. But those are incredible, and ten times better than what you can buy (which you know). I've never cut them out, though.

Wow! Your own English Muffins, that's so cool. Did they have all the nooks and crannies too?

Dear Adam yohuuuuu!!! I need you, I choose you to a good cause, a little thing, look my tiday post, only if you can my friend, xxxxxGloria

I'd say these beat Mr. Thomas hands down Adam. I have tagged you for an event over at my blog if you have the time of course to bake bread:D

Wow, they turned out incredibly perfect! This is definitely on my list of things to try. That cranberry looks so yummy on them too... I have a bit of fresh cranberry jam leftover from my DB challenge a couple of months ago. Perfect!

OH my goodness, I've wanted to bake homemade English muffins for ages!! You have truly inspired me to take the plunge with your beautiful muffins! They are so puffy and gorgeous! Wow! A cloud of yeast bread heaven!

Hey good lookin, whatcha got cookin? Ha Ha. So are you going to try making tamales? I hope so. There's no excuse. Mom can help. :)

Skillet English muffins? Now that's attention grabbing for sure! They are indeed undercover muffins. The pic with the cramberry sauce is sooooo mouthwatering!!!! that my keyboard's life might be in danger lol :D

i started to read this recipe and though, "oh, i'll just make them without the icing..."
of course i should have know you would go that route too!

and where was my fitness blog? i gained 30 pounds last friday without your encouraging words.

You're almost at 50...

They look fantastic. And it's interesting that you didn't even toast them. They're making me hungry.

Those look fantastic - and I bet the homemade apple sauce made them even tastier!

Yes to sit shotgun and order something I would never make at home. :D

Oatmeal is a must have in my pantry. It's one of the very few things I enjoy eating during chemo and still do.

it looks delicious!I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.