[Collegiate Meals] No-Knead English Muffins




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)
measuring cups
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)
microwaveable cup

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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36 Discussions

Do yourself a favor and invest in a large, round, sharp-edged cookie or biscuit cutter. Cutting muffins and biscuits with a dull-edged implement such as a glass or tuna can crimps the edges and hampers rising. You want a clean cut.

2 replies

I second this recommendation. It is well worth the effort and money to invest in a properly sharp biscuit cutter. Not to mention it works excellent for beautiful cookies too!

I forgot to mention that an aluminium can cut straight will work in a pinch. However the muffins will be a bit small and a bit mini. Just be sure to not cut yourself.

I made these this morning having made the dough last night. The only thing I will do differently is to roll the dough thinner and cut them bigger. They were absolutely delicious!! I will also double the recipe too. My darling family nearly ate them all leaving me with only one. Then complained that there weren't any left! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It was very quick, super easy and a lot of fun to make.

3 replies

They do look deceivingly thin when you cut them and then get monstrous when you cook them!

I'm glad you like them :)

Okay, I felt the need to post an update now that a few years have past. This recipe has been a morning life-saver in so many ways. I love that I can make additions like strawberry cream muffins for spring and pumpkin spice muffins for autumn. My personal favorite is orange cranberry English muffins. There is something of a Wow factor for family and friends when you make something from scratch. I have said ti before and I'll say it again. Thank you so very much for sharing this recipe and technique. I am honored to pass it on to my daughter and her friends (giving credit to you!) so they will pass it on. Thank you.

I need to add an update to this post. I have since used this recipe many times. So much that I have 'played' with the recipe an created a few new favorites. One is during the last roll/rise, to roll the dough fairly thin, sprinkle cinnamon - sugar mix with soaked raisins and then roll into a tube. I then cut into medium thick slices before the last rise. For a savory flavor, poppy seeds, caramelized onions and roasted garlic with a little pesto or fresh herbs and the same roll & cut as the cinnamon raisin muffins. Everyone loves it and if I am not quick, I miss out.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It really is now a family favorite and one my daughter is learning to make herself. Super easy and so delicious!!

if you want real mcmuffin taste at home. pan-fry your ham, cook your egg however and add a cheese slice (kraft singles taste the best) and eat while the ham is still hot :)

I can attest to the efficacy of this recipe. I had no idea that it was this easy to make English Muffins at home! This is one of my new favorites. Now, if you'll excuse me, my dough should be just about ready to roll out....

(And yes, I AM making sausage, egg, and cheese muffins...why do you ask?) ;)

1 reply

Not that you're using it, but if you are looking for any, cornmeal in the English/Australian world is known as polenta for some dumb reason. Corn never came from the Latin world in the first place, so why give it a Latin name? I will try making these muffins just as soon as I empoty a tuna tin from bothe ends. LOL.

3 replies

Hi Bubbler!

Here in Brazil, we have italian immigrants that had nothing to eat when they came to our southern states, unless they plant something. Corn and wheat were easy to grow, so they tried them. From that, they were able to make pasta and polenta, which is the cornmeal boiled in water with a bit of salt, and then they dried it and fried it, adding some muzzarella cheese at the top, and enjoied it with some bread and chiken.

I hope I had some new information to you all.

Best Regards, dudaott

yes, where polenta is from, it wasn't made with corn originally, it was peasant food long before corn was found in the americas. now, corn polenta is so common, that if you plopped a plate of non-corn polenta in front of someone that comes from where it started... they'd just be confused.

Dear skaar!

You`re 100% right! The polenta can be made from assorted cereals, and it is always pleseant...

Best regards, dudaott

These were so wonderful. I have been wanting to make homemade english muffins for a while. I was surfing thru instructables and found this. Thank you. I surprised the kids. My oldest couldnt believe they were home made. I quadrupled it and still have a dozen or so left, even with two hungry teen boys.

this is pretty much awesome. I am not a college student, but I am always at a loss for what to take to work for bfast, and I detest sweet things in the morning (exception: jam!) so I think I'll make a batch of these and freeze for daily bfast purposes.

1 reply

You're welcome. Don't forget to cut before you freeze! Else you'll end up sawing at them for 5 minutes in the morning. I speak from experience...lol.

Suggest that just before cooking (we bake ours in a 350deg F or hotter oven). Slightly press the top down making a 5mm or so indentation across the tops, with your fingers. When baking or even on the griddle there is significant rise from the heat. Indenting makes the top flat like the bottom. You can see the "dome" tops in the photos. Being flat on both sides makes them easier to slice or to use whole and spread toppings on. Also makes them look exactly like the "American" English muffin or McMuffin. In the US these are often made as a salt bread using chemical leavening rather than yeast.

Fab! I don't often do homemade english muffins because they're so time-intensive, but so so good. (Regarding the buttermilk: just be sure to also add a pinch of baking soda if you're going to substitute it for the regular milk or else the acid/alkaline balance will be off and affect the leavening, taste, etc.)