Why It Works
- Briefly mixing what could otherwise be a "no-knead dough" jump-starts its development, allowing for a better initial rise.
- Cornmeal prevents the sticky dough from spreading out flat (as it would on a greased surface), while also serving as a buffer against the hot griddle.
- A long, overnight (or multi-night) rise develops big, spongy bubbles for nooks and crannies galore.
Don't bother preheating your oven—these English muffins are griddled through and through. Not only does the searing heat promote "oven spring" to create those coveted nooks and crannies, it gives the muffins an amazingly crispy crust with a soft and chewy interior. A scoop of whole wheat flour makes them tender but hearty enough to handle whatever savory toppings come their way. Then again, with a slow, overnight rise and a touch of honey, they're flavorful enough to stand on their own.
- 10 ounces bread flour (2 cups; 285g)
- 5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup; 140g) (see note)
- 2 3/4 teaspoons (11g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as much by volume
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (4g) instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
- 12 ounces cold milk (1 1/2 cups; 340g), any percentage will do (see note)
- 3 1/2 ounces honey (1/4 cup; 100g)
- 1 large egg white, cold
- 5 ounces fine cornmeal (1 cup; 145g), for dusting
- Roughly 1 ounce bacon fat, unsalted butter, or oil (2 tablespoons; 30g), for griddling
Make the Dough and Let Rise: In a large bowl, mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, and yeast together until well combined. Add milk, honey, and egg white, stirring with a flexible spatula until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled, 4 to 5 hours at 70°F (21°C). (The timing is flexible depending on your schedule.)
For the Second Rise: Thickly cover a rimmed aluminum baking sheet with an even layer of cornmeal. With a large spoon, dollop out twelve 2 2/3–ounce (75g) portions of dough; it's perfectly fine to do this by eye. If you'd like, pinch the irregular blobs here and there to tidy their shape. Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.
To Griddle and Serve: Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F (160°C) or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When it's sizzling-hot, add half the butter and melt; griddle muffins until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a square-end spatula and griddle as before. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by working your thumbs around the edges to pull them open a little at a time. Toast before serving and store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge).
This recipe was developed and tested with King Arthur's bread flour and classic whole wheat. While English muffins can be adapted to any brand, differences in starch content and milling practices may necessitate an adjustment in hydration. Stone-ground whole wheat may require as little as 10 ounces milk (1 1/4 cups; 285g), while white whole wheat may accommodate a splash more.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Store leftover English muffins in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature, or 1 month in the fridge.