For my first try at English Muffins I used a variation on Alton Brown’s recipe on the food network website. These were very easy to make! I substituted the all purpose flour with 100% whole wheat, used earth balance instead of the shortening and added one tablespoon vital wheat gluten.
EDIT: I have since made some changes to this recipe. I have increased the liquid and it has resulted in a much more fluffy muffin. Whole wheat soaks up more water than traditional all purpose. The density of the dough may depend on the humidity in the air as well. You want the dough to be slightly loose, when it rests and rises it will tighten up. See new pics here
English Muffins (modified from Alton Brown’s recipe)
1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine (I used earth balance)
1 cup and two tablespoons hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
Non-stick vegetable spray
Special equipment: cast iron pan, 3-inch metal rings
In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, margarine, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. The dough should be sticky like. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 1 hour minutes. I placed it in the oven with the pilot light on. After 1 hour, beat with a wooden spoon.
These directions call for a griddle, I used a cast iron pan. I also preheated the oven to 350 to finish baking them after they had started in the pan. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using an ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet.
I had difficulties controlling the temperature of my cast iron pan and found that the bottoms were cooking too fast for the interior to cook though. I ended up cooking only for 3-4 minutes on each side, then placing on a cookie sheet to finish baking in the oven. Also, the muffins popped out of the rings but it all turned out alright! I think I baked them for 10-15 minutes in the oven (I was afraid that the insides would be raw).
Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve. I decided to cut mine and toast! Overall, these were really good! I’m going to try a different recipe tomorrow which requires the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight. It also has a longer rise time for the dough, which I think will result in more “nooks and crannies” and less dense texture.