BEIJING SURVIVAL GUIDE: ENGLISH MUFFINS

english-muffins-recipe

Living in Beijing means good food, and lots of it. But sometimes there are things that you just can’t get without trading in your first-born child. A good bagel with lox and cream cheese for example. Italian sausage. A quality ricotta cheese. A…perfectly toasted english muffin with butter and raspberry jam.

What to do in such a situation? Well, you make it yourself. While spending last year in Beijing, I learned how to MAKE Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, bagels, and ENGLISH. MUFFINS. Okay. I have NO idea why more people aren’t making these from scratch. They’re super easy to make…and they don’t even require an oven. You cook them. In a pan. On the stove. And they’re amazing. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS? (Update: We’ve also done an amazing multigrain version of this recipe, which you can check out here!)

I’ve never been a huge fan of English muffins…the ones that come in the plastic bag and taste like they’ve been sitting in that bag for way too long. But one day I had a hankering, made them, and it was like frolicking through a field of flowers whilst hearing a hallelujah chorus.

So yeah. Make ‘em.

The ingredients list is super simple:

  • 3 2/3 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • semolina or fine cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • oil

Semolina flour can be found at most grocery stores these days. It’s what gives the english muffins those sandy bottoms. You can also use finely ground cornmeal.

semolina

In a large bowl, add the flour and the yeast…

flour-yeast

The salt…

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And sugar. Whisk it all together.

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Add water and yogurt.

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And mix into a soft dough. This dough is one of the most easy-to-work-with doughs that I’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t fight you like a bad pizza dough or disappoint you like baguette dough does when you do get up the courage to try that whole agonizing process. No, this dough is perfectly complacent, cooperative, and cordial.

english-muffin-dough

Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth, adding more flour if it gets a little sticky. Let the dough rest and relax for 5 minutes.

I’m sure it’s been a stressful day for it, having just come into existence and all.

I need to stop personifying food.

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Spread some semolina (or cornmeal) onto a couple of sheet pans.

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And take the dough out onto a clean surface.

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Roll dough out to a thickness of about ¾ inch.

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Cut out 12-15 circles with a 3-inch round cutter. I just use a glass. Easy peasy.

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Take the excess dough and re-roll it to cut out more circles (I never understand people who just throw the excess dough into the garbage. It drives me crazy. That’s food, people. What’s wrong with you?!). Well you’re not going to do that, and because you’re a good person, you should be able to get 12-16 muffins out of it.

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Place the muffins onto the baking sheets and slide them around in the semolina.

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Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

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Heat a flat griddle pan until hot and brush with oil.

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Add the muffins and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes, six minutes on each side…

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…Until firm and golden brown.Turn them only once! Seriously, it’s like magic. Glinda the Good Witch must be involved in this miraculous feat of puffy-up-i-ness.

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Keep cooking them in batches until they’re all done.

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Grab some butter, jam, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise, or whatever else you prefer on your English muffins, and get on in that meadow and start frolicking.

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Do you hear the hallelujah chorus yet? 

BEIJING SURVIVAL GUIDE: ENGLISH MUFFINS

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 16

BEIJING SURVIVAL GUIDE: ENGLISH MUFFINS

Ingredients

3 2/3 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 envelope active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup plain yogurt
semolina, for sprinkling
oil

Whisk together flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add water and yogurt, and mix into a soft dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth, adding more flour if it gets sticky. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Roll dough out to a thickness of about ¾ inch. Cut out 12 circles with a 3 inch round cutter. Sprinkle a baking sheet with semolina, and cover each side of muffins with it. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.

Heat a flat griddle pan until hot and brush with oil. Add the muffins and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes, six minutes on each side, until firm and golden brown. Turn only once. Serve with butter and jam.

http://thewoksoflife.com/2013/09/beijing-survival-guide-english-muffins/

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Comments

    • Sarah says

      Sorry about that! In hindsight, we were probably too busy stuffing our faces to take another picture. Oh, the shame! We’ll do better next time. : )

  1. says

    I like that you used semolina flour-brilliant! My English muffins began with a batter, but I like the idea of rolling and cutting the dough as the muffins look more authentic. Lovely post!

    • Sarah says

      Thanks so much! These English muffins truly are amazingly good. The batter idea is very interesting, though! Probably easier than rolling and cutting. : )

    • says

      Let us know how they turn out! I was skeptical at first, but they really are easy and so so much better than anything store-bought.

    • says

      Hey Kris, I think you could use greek yogurt, but I’m not sure what the higher protein content might do to them. The yogurt we use is what we can get in China–it’s pretty thin, but rich in fat. But I’ve used a bunch of different kinds and it usually works. Let us know how it turns out!

    • says

      Hey Christina, I’ve never tried freezing them before baking before, but if I were to go for it, I would put them on a baking sheet right after cutting them into circles and freeze until solid. Then I would transfer them to a ziploc bag until ready to use.

      When ready to cook them, let them sit out in a warm room on a baking sheet (a couple inches apart) under a clean kitchen towel until completely defrosted. Let them continue to proof until they’ve increased in size. Then cook them, and pray to the make-in-advance Gods that they’ll turn out right! Let us know how it goes. You’re blazing the trail for all of us. : )

  2. Steffany says

    Can they be frozen after they are cooked? I’m worried about the texture changing after if thaws.

    • says

      Hey Steffany, never tried that. They usually don’t last long enough for me to freeze them. But in my experience, most bread, if frozen and then thawed and toasted, is still pretty good.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I enjoyed making them just as much as I liked eating them… It’s been over two years since I last ate English muffins. I had been craving them and couldn’t find them anywhere in Mauritius. Thanks!

  4. says

    I’m English and am now hanging my head in shame that I have never even thought to try making these. This weekend – it’s happening! (just need to pop out for some plain yoghurt)

  5. Amanda says

    Oh yum as anything! I used 2 cups white and rest wheat and they are delicious. My husband and I just devoured one each while still warm. You are right, dough is very forgiving. It was lovely not to have to turn on oven when it’s so hot in Atlanta today. I, too, am English and can’t think why I have never made these before. Do you have a recipe for English crumpets? So glad I have found your site.

    • says

      Great to hear Amanda, as I was reading your experience, I was thinking, sounds like me – devouring a couple of warm ones as they come off the pan onto the plate! We don;t have a recipe on the blog for English Crumpets but I’m sure we’ll get a craving this fall when it gets cooler. We’ll put it on our to-cook list!

  6. Michele says

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!! I’ve already ate 2 of these and I’m not even done cooking the rest! Seriously delicious with some grape jelly! I used organic ingredients and coconut oil for the pan. IF there are any leftover, I will be cutting them in half and freezing for breakfast sandwiches. I have been searching for “clean” english muffins for a while, but these fit the bill. YUM and thanks again for a AWESOME recipe!

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