I actually made these English muffins nearly a month and a half ago.  They were delicious and I was very excited to blog about them.  However, I came down with a nasty GI bug right around the time that I ate them and so ever since, just looking at the pictures has made me feel kind of nauseous.  Thankfully, that period seems to have passed because now I can enjoy the pictures again and remember just how tasty these were.  

English muffins are another one of those things (like bagels) that you might never realize how easily they can be made at home.  I was definitely surprised at how simple these were.  I never knew how English muffins were made before, but I think the method of browning the dough before baking them is really neat.  They were great with fruit preserves or just plain butter.  I had big plans of making a homemade breakfast sandwich with one of them before the illness hit, and then I never got to try it.  Hopefully I will soon though because I think it would be fabulous!

English Muffins
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
3/4-1 cup milk, at room temperature
Cornmeal, for sprinkling 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  Mix in the butter and 3/4 cup of milk.  Add just enough of the remaining milk to form a dough and incorporate the dry ingredients.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 7-8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls.  Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray or coat lightly with oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with room to rise.  Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat a skillet on medium heat on the stovetop.  Brush the skillet lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the skillet a few at a time.  Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned.  Carefully flip and cook the other side for 5-8 minutes more.  They should flatten as they cook. 

Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes.  Do not wait until all the muffins have been browned in the skillet before moving them to the oven.  As the first batch is baking, move the second batch to the skillet.

Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Pete Bakes!, originally from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart