Introduction: [Collegiate Meals] No-Knead English Muffins
I have to admit, the most experience I've had with English muffins is in a McDonald's McMuffin. As such, these probably aren't the most authentic of English muffins (especially since I don't have any cornmeal here in res), but are merely an attempt to make a stove-top bread that will toast nicely and soak up the gooey goodness of a perfectly-cooked egg. The texture is holey, but softer and less chewy than the store-bought kind. Either way, they are super yummy!
Being a collegiate meal, these are no-knead, super easy, and make a small portion that's enough for just you and your roommates. Of course, you could scale up the recipe. Total prep/cooking time is probably about an hour with some washing and waiting time in between.
Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
~1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup milk (I used 2% here, but you can use anything. I bet buttermilk would add an awesome tangy-ness)
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
cornmeal for dusting (optional. I didn't have any on hand)
spatula (one for working the dough, another for working the griddle)
rolling pin (I used a cylindrical glass)
round cookie cutter (or try the lip of a cup or as tayzzmom suggests - a tuna can with the ends cut out)
working surface (I worked on a cutting board and some parchment because our counter is nasty)
plastic container for rising (yogurt container works for me)
griddle (frying pan works too. just need lots of cooking space)
As you can probably tell, being a student requires some craftiness. Just use whatever tools you have lying around.
Step 2: Mix and Rest
Start this process the night before you want to eat the muffins.
Measure out 1 cup of flour by scooping and leveling out with a knife. Add it to your plastic container. I am usually a huge proponent for using a scale because it's much more accurate, but we'll make do here. To deal with this loss of accuracy, take out another 1/4 cup of flour and have it standing by.
Add the 1/8 tsp each of instant yeast and salt to the flour. Mix it briefly.
Measure out 1/3 cup each of milk and water and put it into a mug. Add the tbsp of butter to this. Pop it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or until it's somewhere between lukewarm and warm. The butter will be just starting to melt. Mix in the butter and add all of the liquid to the flour mixture.
Mix with a spatula, spool, hand, or whatever. My dough was too wet at this point, so I added about 1/8 of a cup from the flour that was reserved earlier. Mix some more. The dough should be quite soft and somewhere between sticky and tacky. It will get less sticky as it rests, don't worry. The high ratio of liquid to flour is needed to ensure nice big holes in the final product.
Once the dough has come together, just scrape down the sides of the container and lid it up. You don't really have to worry about mixing too much or too little, Whenever you think it's thoroughly mixed, it's good.
Now let it sit at room temperature (my room was 22.5 degrees C) for 12 hours or so.
Step 3: Fold, Rest, Cut, Rest
The next morning, the dough will have doubled in size. Turn it out onto a (cornmeal) floured surface and fold to redistribute the nutrients for the yeasty beasties. You just enough flour to prevent sticking.
To fold (see video also):
- grab one side of the dough, stretch it out and fold it over just past the midline
- repeat for the opposite side
- repeat for the other two sides
Turn it seam side down, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. I just covered it with a cereal bowl, but you could use plastic wrap or a tea towel too.
After resting, the gluten will have relaxed a bit. You can now roll it out to about 1 cm or slightly over 3/8 inches in thickness.
Then take your cookie cutter or cup and punch out rounds and transfer them to another floured surface.
Take the leftover scraps, stick them together, roll out, and punch more rounds. If you used too much flour on your surface (not so much of an issue for corn meal), it might be hard to get the scraps to stick back together, so use only what you need. Also, if the dough is too elasticy, it may be necessary to let the dough rest a bit before rolling it out again.
Cover the dough circles with a sheet of plastic or a tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. During this time, clean up some of the mess you have made, brew a coffee, and heat up the griddle over medium heat.
Step 4: Cook and Eat
After 30 minutes, the dough circles will have puffed up a little. Proceed to cooking!
Sprinkle some more cornmeal on the dough and arrange onto the hot griddle (medium heat). Use a flat spatula and try to avoid compressing the dough. We want to keep them nice and puffy!
Leave at least an inch between each piece. If you do not have cornmeal like me, brush the surface of the griddle with a thin layer of oil to prevent sticking. (I tried butter at first, but it got too smoky. Maybe clarified butter would be better).
Cook on each side for about 8 minutes. It may take a bit longer if your dough was thicker than 1 cm when you cut it.
If eating immediately, let them rest until you can handle them without burning yourself (about 5 min). You can cut them in half, toast and butter them, make eggs Benedict, or whatever else suits your fancy :)
If you want to store them, let them cool all the way to room temperature and seal in an airtight container or bag. You can keep them at room temperature for a couple of days or cut and freeze them for later use. Toast them straight from frozen state.
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