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Overnight English Muffins

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 8 to 10

Toasted (or not) and slathered with butter and jam, fresh homemade English muffins are a real treat. For a flavor twist, try the cinnamon-raisin and rye variations below.


  • 1-1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 2-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 7-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) bread flour; more as needed
  • Fine cornmeal, as needed (about 2 Tbs.)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 200
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 35
  • Fat (g): 4
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 125
  • Carbohydrates (g): 34
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 6


Make the dough

  • Bring the milk to a bare simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let cool to 105°F, about 30 minutes.
  • Whisk the whole wheat flour and yeast in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cooled milk until all the lumps are gone. Set aside until the mixture becomes frothy, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir the butter, honey, and salt into the milk mixture. Add the bread flour and stir vigorously until you have a thick, sticky mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 and up to 16 hours.

Shape the muffins

  • Flour a work surface and then dust it with cornmeal. Using floured hands, gently deflate the dough in the bowl, transfer it to the work surface, and shape it into a rough rectangle. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10×8-inch rectangle that’s about 3/8 inch thick; use a bench scraper to lift the dough and dust the surface with more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Dust the top of the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of cornmeal.
  • Using a floured 3-1/2-inch round cutter, punch out 5 to 6 muffins. Dip the cutter in flour before each cut to prevent sticking. Gather and gently reroll the dough scraps 3/8 inch thick; punch out 1 to 2 more muffins in the same way. Reroll the last bit of dough to punch out 1 or 2 more muffins. Cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cook the muffins

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and put a large rimmed baking sheet on it. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Working in batches and using floured fingers, arrange the dough rounds on the griddle or in the skillet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each. Cook, flipping once with a spatula, until the tops and bottoms of the muffins are browned and firm but the edges remain soft, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the muffins to the baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Meanwhile, wipe out any flour in the skillet and brown the next batch of muffins; repeat browning and baking the muffins until all are cooked.
  • Allow each batch to cool on a rack for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a fork, perforate the muffins along their equators all the way around, and break open the rest of the way by hand. Toast, if you like, and serve warm.

Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffins: Increase the honey to 2 Tbs. and add 1/2 cup raisins and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon to the dough after stirring in the bread flour.

Rye English Muffins: Use dark rye flour in place of the whole wheat flour and add 3/4 tsp. caraway seeds to the dough after stirring in the bread flour.

The muffins will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Toast before eating.


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Reviews (11 reviews)

  • DebInPortland | 02/14/2016

    I just made these for Valentine's Day breakfast. They are great. This is only the second time I've made EM and the previous time was from a different recipe with a different process.I had two challenges with this recipe. The first was getting the different rollings of dough to the same thickness. I can improve on that with practice and care.The second was the cooking. I used a round cast iron griddle that looks identical to the one used by the author. On the first batch, the griddle was not hot enough. In order to brown them on the bottoms, I cooked them so long that the bottoms became thick and brittle.On the second batch, the griddle was too hot and they nearly burned on the bottoms. The third batch resulted in muffins close to what they should have been. My point is, don't be surprised if cooking them has a learning curve.This recipe yields muffins with the all-desired nooks and crannies. The flavor and texture are quite good. They are far better than any of the national brands that come in bags. (Ugh!) Compared to the premium brand that comes in a paper tray, I think these are less sweet, but otherwise similar. However, these EM are free of preservatives.For Valentine's day breakfast, I toasted them lightly, and served them with fried eggs and pan-seared grape tomatoes on top.Hubby said it was the best EM he'd ever had.The directions and photos of the recipe were extremely helpful. I think I understand now why one doesn't see EM at farmers' markets and upscale bakeries.I plan to make the cinnamon-raisin version next week. I'll be looking forward to it for the rest of the week.Thanks, Fine Cooking and Nicole Rees.

  • JamesWatson | 09/16/2015

    Very easy, and makes a very satisfying breakfast. You do need to plan ahead. But definitely worth it.

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