Overnight English Muffins

english muffins cooling

Why did “pantry cooking” ever become associated with deprivation? There are lots of wonderful foods you can make from simple pantry ingredients: these overnight English muffins are a fine example. They are not only easy (stir, let rise, stir, cook) but they use only flour, yeast, salt, water, and a bit of cornmeal.

If you can’t get to the store, you can still have fantastic muffins for breakfast. They’re almost as easy as pancakes: you stir up a batter the night before, then cook them off in the morning. That doesn’t seem too hard, does it?

Helpful equipment: a set of muffin rings (which can be recycled tuna cans, well washed) You can do without, though – you’ll just have muffins that are charmingly not-quite-round. They’ll still taste wonderful.

It’s the overnight rise that gives these muffins the characteristic not-quite-sour English muffin taste. The batter will rise, then might collapse on itself (technical term: over proofed). That’s nothing to worry about, because it’ll just make the muffins taste even better.

Stir up a batch soon. I’d tell you the muffins keep well, but seriously, that’s never been a problem for us. At our house, the entire batch will be gone before 2pm.

 

the night before:

Mix flour, yeast and salt together in a large (5-6 quart) mixing bowl. Add water until you are able to stir it all together and no dry pockets remain – it should have a consistency like very thick pancake batter, or a smooth porridge.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight. It should rise up to double in size and may deflate again, that’s just fine.

in the morning:

The next morning, it will be full of bubbles and almost but not quite pourable. If you’re going to use muffin rings, butter them. Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat. The pan should not be as hot as for pancakes; English muffins should cook much more slowly, because you want the middle to cook before the bottom burns.

If using the rings, place them on the griddle, and sprinkle cornmeal liberally inside them. If not using rings, just scatter cornmeal over the griddle. Scoop-pour about 1/4-cup portions onto the griddle, free form or in rings. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the tops start to look set.

Flip them and continue cooking till done, 7 to 10 more minutes. You can remove the rings (use tongs!) after the muffins are flipped, they’ll keep their shape at this point. The muffins should have top and bottom crusts that are golden brown, and the interiors should be well cooked.

When done, the center of a muffin should register 195-200˚F on an instant-read thermometer. If you find that the muffins have browned but the centers aren’t cooked all the way through, just put them in a preheated 350˚F oven for about 10 minutes or so. Once you’ve made these muffins a time or two you’ll know your stove temperature and how long they take on your stove.

Allow the muffins to rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes, then dig in! Pry them in half with a fork, toast and serve with butter, honey, or jam.

note on equipment

I like to use a 1/4 cup muffin scoop, which makes portioning the batter easy. Muffin rings are fairly easy to come by, or you might use silicone or metal ring molds, or if you’re a recycling/homemade kind of person, well-washed tuna cans work well.

english muffins cooling

Overnight English Muffins

Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, no-knead, easy, overnight, stovetop, muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Overnight rise: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 muffins
Pantry cooking at its finest: overnight English muffins, stirred up from flour, yeast, salt, and water. Easy!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (480 g)
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast (6g)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (scant 4g) Diamond Crystal salt: use half if Mortons
  • water
  • ¼–½ cup cornmeal or semolina flour

Instructions

  • THE NIGHT BEFORE: Mix flour, yeast and salt together in a large (5-6 quart) mixing bowl. Add water until you are able to stir it all together and no dry pockets remain – it should have a consistency like very thick pancake batter, or a smooth porridge.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter overnight. It should rise up to double in size and may deflate again, that’s just fine.
  • IN THE MORNING: The next morning, it will be full of bubbles and almost but not quite pourable. If you’re going to use muffin rings, butter them. Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat. The pan should not be as hot as for pancakes; English muffins should cook much more slowly, because you want the middle to cook before the bottom burns.
  • If using the rings, place them on the griddle, and sprinkle cornmeal liberally inside them. If not using rings, just scatter cornmeal over the griddle. Scoop-pour about 1/4-cup portions onto the griddle, free form or in rings. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the tops start to look set.
  • Flip them and continue cooking till done, 7 to 10 more minutes. You can remove the rings (use tongs!) after the muffins are flipped, they’ll keep their shape at this point. The muffins should have top and bottom crusts that are golden brown, and the interiors should be well cooked.
  • When done, the center of a muffin should register 195-200˚F on an instant-read thermometer. If you find that the muffins have browned but the centers aren’t cooked all the way through, just put them in a preheated 350˚F oven for about 10 minutes or so. Once you’ve made these muffins a time or two you’ll know your stove temperature and how long they take on your stove.
  • Allow the muffins to rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes, then dig in! Pry them in half with a fork, toast and serve with butter, honey, or jam.

Notes

A note on equipment: I like to use a 1/4 cup muffin scoop, which makes portioning the batter easy. Muffin rings are fairly easy to come by, or you might use silicone or metal ring molds, or if you’re a recycling/homemade kind of person, well-washed tuna cans work well.

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Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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