English Muffins

From a Cook's Illustrated "Test Recipe".  I tried this and it didn't work, but the problems were similar to other breadmaking problems I have.  For some reason that I haven't figured out, when I make bread the interior is very dense with very tiny bubbles; I just can't seem to get the knack of getting large holes, which are essential in many breads.  I'm working on it).

Note: In order to develop those “nooks and crannies”, it is important to push down on the muffins while they’re in the hot skillet. Be sure to transfer each batch of muffins straight into the oven after they’ve been browned to finish cooking; grouping the various batches in different spots in the oven can help you keep track of which should be done first. The baked English muffins will keep for several days stored at room temperature.


1 cup whole milk, warm (110 degrees)
1/3 cup water, warm (110 degrees)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons honey
3 1/2 to 4 cups (19 1/4 to 22 ounces) bread flour
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
Vegetable oil spray
Yellow cornmeal

1. Whisk milk, water, butter, and honey together in large liquid measuring cup.  Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

2. Increase speed to medium-low and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If, after 4 minutes, more flour is needed, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough clears sides of bowl, but sticks to bottom).

3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball. Place dough in large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Sprinkle cornmeal over rimmed baking sheet. Turn dough out onto clean counter and, using your hands, stretch it into even 12-inch log. Divide log into 12 equal pieces and cover with greased plastic wrap. Working with one piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), round dough into smooth, taut rolls; arrange on prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart.

5. Mist dough with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until nearly doubled in size and dough barely springs back when poked with finger, 45 to 75 minutes.

6. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Gently press rolls into flat, 3/4-inch-thick English muffins with metal spatula. Liberally dust top of muffins with cornmeal and re-cover with plastic wrap.

7. Heat 12-inch non-skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Carefully lay 4 muffins in pan and cook until bottoms are very darkly browned but not burned, 3 to 6 minutes, occasionally pressing gently on muffins with spatula to prevent doming.

8. Flip muffins, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer muffins to baking sheet and bake until internal temperature is 200 degrees, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining muffins.

9. Transfer muffins to wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Split muffins open with fork and toast before serving.