Years ago, I tried — and failed — to make English muffins. I don’t remember what the problems were exactly. Perhaps the flavor was flat? But I do know I tried about a half dozen different recipes before throwing my hands up in disgust.
Fast forward to last month when I came across a recipe in, of all places, a news magazine. We subscribed to The Week — a weekly (duh) magazine filled with lots of short snippets from lots of other news sources — when we were in Puerto Rico because we wanted a simple, hands-on news source. But then we ended up hardly ever reading it (or anything else) while we were there, so it might not have been the best use of our money, oh well.
ANYWAY. Last month the magazine ran a recipe — they run one recipe each week — for English muffins. Four-ingredient English muffins, to be exact.
My first reaction was a ginormous eye roll. English muffins are hard! There was no way you could make good English muffins with just four ingredients. Obviously, these people didn’t have a clue. Also, their method called for baking the muffins in the oven and everyone knows that English muffins must be cooked on a griddle. That’s what makes them English muffins!
But at the same time, I was intrigued. Could flour, salt, baking powder, and yogurt actually make a decent muffin? And as long as the muffins tasted delicious, did I really care if they were baked or griddle-cooked? No, I decided, I did not.
Turns out, the muffins are delicious — the yogurt adds a subtle tang — and the method is blink-your-eyes-and-you’re-done fast. And as for the baking method: IT WORKS, end of story.
P.S. In the middle of all the renewed English muffin vigor, I purchased a box of “real” English muffins … and was horrified to realize that they tasted like chemicals! Has anyone else noticed this?
Adapted from a recipe found in the August 31, 2018 issue of The Week.
Note: Once, I mixed together the flour and yogurt the night ahead of time, thinking that the extra fermentation might yield a more tender, flavorful product. However, the result was a batch of gummy-gross muffins that got tossed to the chickens. Summary: say no to pre-mixing.
Note Number Two: These muffins are quite moist on the inside, thanks to the yogurt, so, in order to have a good ration of toasty crust to tender bread, it’s important to shape the discs into no more than half-inch thickness.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt
Combine all ingredients. Knead briefly. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into a puck that’s about a half-inch thick (similar to a hamburger patty).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease it with butter) and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina. Place the muffins on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Flip each muffin and baked for another 10 minutes.
Cool for a bit before splitting the muffins in half with a fork (stab all the way around the edge of the muffin before pulling the two halves apart). Serve warm, with tons of butter and jelly.