Everything Rainbow English Muffins

Makes 8 muffins.

Homemade English muffins are much easier to make than you might think! We flavored this no-knead version with Everything Rainbow, which adds delightful flavor and crunch to the muffins. To serve them, split, toast, and top the muffins with butter or cream cheese. Whip up a batch for your family or house guests — or share it with a friend as an edible gift!   

Don’t let the length of this recipe scare you. Making English muffins does require some planning, but they’re a simple project, even if you’re new to bread baking.

Dry ingredients:
3 cups (360g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
½ cup (57g) fine semolina flour, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons Everything Rainbow
½ teaspoon instant yeast (such as SAF-Instant)

Liquid ingredients:
⅓ cup milk
½ teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey

For shaping
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup fine semolina flour

Make the dough  (The evening prior to baking.)

Measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk gently to combine.

Pour the milk into an oversized, heat-proof measuring cup and scald it by microwaving for 45 seconds at half-power. Add the vinegar and sweetener to the milk, then top-up with warm tap water to a scant 1½ cups total liquid. (The water will lower the temperature of the steaming milk so that it’s not too hot for the yeast).

Add the liquid mixture all at once to the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula to form a ‘shaggy’ dough using quick, strong strokes. Be sure to work in all the dry ingredients.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic or a beeswax wrap and set it in a warm place (70° F / room temperature is fine) and allow the dough to rise overnight (8-14 hours).

When the dough is ready to form, it will have doubled in bulk and its surface will look damp and be covered with small holes (as if bubbles at the surface had burst).

Prepare a work area (The day of baking.)

  • Liberally flour a work surface (counter or cutting board).
  • Put ½ cup each semolina and cornmeal into a shallow, wide bowl and stir to combine. Set the bowl close to your work surface.
  • Cover a large cutting board or jelly roll pan with a clean tea towel; liberally sprinkle flour and semolina over it. Set the board/pan close to the floured work surface.

Shape the muffins  Remember that shaping the muffins is much easier than it may seem from the following description. The primary secret is to treat the dough gently — time and the yeast have done all the work of developing beautiful gluten structure.

Scoop the dough onto the floured work surface in one big ‘glump.’ Use a bench scraper (or floured hands) to turn the dough over once or twice. Then, gently pat the dough into an oblong roughly 5” x 10” x 2”. Using a sharp knife or the bench scraper, cut the dough in half lengthwise so that you have two ‘logs’ of dough roughly 2½” x 10” x 2.”

Separate the two logs. Move one out of your way, then roll the other so that its cut-side faces down. Cut it crosswise into 4 pieces of about the same size (the cut edges will be sticky). Working with one piece at a time, dip the sticky sides into the semolina-cornmeal mix, then gently pat and pull the dough into a roughly 3½” round, and place it on the towel-covered board/tray. Repeat with three remaining pieces of dough, leaving an inch or so between the rounds. Next, cut and shape the remaining log of dough in the same way.

Lay another tea towel over the rounds and let them rest for 45 minutes to an hour.

About 10 to 15 minutes before the rest period ends, set a heavy non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. When the surface temperature is just right, you’ll feel heat coming off the pan but you’ll be able to comfortably hold your hand close to the skillet for 30 seconds.

Place two or three of the dough rounds in the skillet, set well apart. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for an additional minute or two. Using a spatula or your fingers, turn the muffins and cook the other side for another 5–7 minutes. Both sides should have a tinge of golden brown on the crust. (The muffins are done when thumping elicits a ‘hollow’ sound — the ‘done bread’ sound.

Allow the muffins to cool completely before splitting them — ideally for several hours. Store them in a sealed bag or container.

Note: Split the muffins with a fork or by poking a knife all the way around the circumference so you create ‘crags.’ (Broiling works better than a toaster because only the split side gets toasted.)


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