These whole wheat English muffins are one of our absolute favorites. So tasty all by themselves; yet perfect with any topping! Made from a mix of freshly milled hard white & hard red wheat, throw in some bean flour and flax seed for extra nutrition and dusted with freshly milled cornmeal. Oh yeah! It doesn't get any better than that.
Don't you just love English Muffins with their toasty outside and warm chewy inside? So perfect for so many treats: smother it with cream cheese & jam or butter & raw honey; maybe sausage, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich; or how about an afternoon mini pizza snack; really the ideas are endless.
There is a problem. The choices from the grocery store offer bleached white flour, maybe some "whole wheat" flour and of course lots of chemicals. Who wants to eat that? Well, no one. So, what do you do - you make your own!
When you choose to prepare foods from scratch, you get to choose what goes in them. You are in control.
This recipe for Whole Wheat English Muffins is super easy and super good for you. Made with all wholesome ingredients - you will never go back to store-bought again.
Ideally, you want to start with flour and cornmeal that had been freshly milled. That might sound daunting but it is so easy to do. All you need is a grain mill and some grain. Easy peasy! Go to my Getting Started-Milling & Real Bread pages for all those details. If you don't mill yet, then, at least use unbleached flour (organic if available). As for the other ingredients, they are also the healthy versions along with a couple of optional items that make these muffins even better.
The goal here is to help you make the switch from nutrition-less ingredients like bleached white flour and bleached white sugar for nutritionally dense choices like freshly milled real whole wheat flour and honey. Foods that give the body life verses take it away.
By the way, these little jewels are cooked on a griddle or in a skillet on your stove top. Give them a go; you are going to just love them! I promise.
This post may make the recipe seem long, but it's only because I show each step. Once you make them a couple of times (which of course you will because you will LOVE them!) you will be able to do them in your sleep. Easy peasy!
Whole Wheat English Muffins
1 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk* or Milk
2 teaspoons Real Salt* Sea Salt
2 teaspoons Sucanat* or Honey
1 Tablespoon Lecithin* (optional)
1/4 cup fresh ground Flax Seed* (optional)
4 cups Whole Wheat Flour - freshly milled, divided
Freshly milled Bean Flour* (optional)
2 teaspoons Yeast
3 Tablespoons Softened Butter
1/3 cup Cornmeal, freshly milled
Adapted from: Breadbeckers Recipe Collection - www.breadbeckers.com
*See my Ingredients page for more details.
First mill your wheat grains and dried beans together. We prefer a mixture of hard white wheat and hard red wheat. You can see the color difference in the picture. Hard white wheat has a mild flavor, more like store-bought bread. Where as hard red wheat has a deeper, nuttier flavor; it tastes more like wheat bread from the store. Mixing the two grains together gives a nice balance of flavors. Set your grain mill to grind medium-fine setting.
- Note: One cup of grain will produce about 1-1/2 cups flour. So, simply divide the total cups of flour needed by 1.5 to get the number of cups of grain you will need to mill. Example: 6 cups flour needed divided by 1.5 = 4 cups grain to be milled.
- I add bean flour into most of my baking: breads, biscuits, cookies, etc. Beans have so much to offer in the way of protein, fiber and tons of nutrients. So why not power-up those baked goods!
No, you will not taste the beans once your muffins are cooked. Again, check out my Getting Started-Milling page to learn more. 1 Tablespoon dried beans per cup of grain. I like to use dried navy beans or baby Lima beans; however, pretty much any dried bean will work.
Now mill you corn into cornmeal. Set your mill on the coarsest setting and mill about 1/2 cup or so of dried dent corn ( sometimes called field corn); yellow or white, it doesn't matter. You could use popcorn, but because it has a very, very hard outer shell it mills very coarsely. And as far as I'm concerned, organic corn is the only choice. Most of the corn grown in the USA is GMO (genetically modified organism); too creepy for me.
Set your cornmeal aside; you will need it when you roll out your muffins.
I must say, there is nothing like freshly milled organic corn; so sweet and buttery tasting!
Adding Flax Seed
By adding Flax Seed to just about anything: baked goods, soup, salad, cereal; you name it; you are adding lots of other nutrients and those all-important omega-3's, which helps lower inflammation. Check out my Ingredients page for more benefit info. But just like the grains you need to grind them fresh to reap those benefits. No, don't use pre-ground flax meal from the store, because many of the nutrients will have oxidized away. Don't eat it whole, because the body will not break it down. So grind it fresh. Use your NutriMill Mini Seed Mill (shown below) or a coffee grinder or blender. Zip, zip! (If you don't have flax seed just replace the amount with flour. But I encourage you to get some and use it often.)
Time to Mix
In a medium bowl, using a spoon or spatula, combine warm water, salt, Sucanat and lecitihin. (You can certainly do all this in your mixer bowl.)
Add your buttermilk; blend well.
Now add the ground flax seed and two cups of flour; then sprinkle yeast on top of flour.
Give it all a good stir. It will have more of a think pancake batter consistency.
We call this type of batter - a Sponge. After it has had time to rise the batter will be light and airy like a sponge. Now, cover your bowl, place in a non-drafty spot and allow to "sponge" or rise for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer the "sponging" the better the flavor. Oh yeah!
When time is up, remove covering. See how much it has risen, practically doubled; light and fluffy.
Now pour your sponge into your stand mixer bowl; fit with dough hook. Look see how spongy it looks.
Add the softened butter. Blend about a minute on low speed.
Now add remaining flour. Knead dough for about 5 minutes for smooth soft dough. (Kneading by hand may take about 8 minutes.)
Cut the Muffins
Sprinkle work surface with fresh milled cornmeal. Turn out your dough and hand knead 2-3 times, then press or roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut into 3-4 inch rounds.
Place cut muffin rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a light kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place about 30 minutes.
Time to cook
English muffins are cooked on a griddle or in a skillet on the stove top. Who knew?
After your muffins have risen, heat your griddle to 350 degrees (or skillet on medium).
Gently lift each round with a spatula taking care not to deflate them and place on heated, butter-swirled griddle/skillet.
Muffins will need to cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side. Keep an eye on them though so they do not get too brown.
Turn once while cooking, swirling on more butter before setting muffin back down. Continue cooking till golden brown, another 2-3 minutes or so.
Muffins should feel lighter when picked up. If they are still a little heavy feeling turn the temp down and allow to cook a little longer being careful they don't get too dark.
Cool cooked muffins on a cooling rack until able to able to handle easily.
Using a sharp knife, slice each English muffin to make two halves.
Absolutely wonderful plain or serve with some butter, cream cheese or jam.
- No Buttermilk, no problem - Simply sour regular milk by adding 1/2 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup regular milk; stir; let set about 5-10 minutes, then add to recipe.
- Storage - Store in a loosely sealed bag or container for about 2 days. They freeze great. Place sliced muffins, with slices slightly separated on a cookie sheet, allow to freeze hard at least 30 minutes, then place muffin pairs in a freezer zip type baggie or container. When ready to eat, simply pop in the toaster to reheat.
- Appetizer - Use a small cutter. Serve with honey butter or other favorite spread.
- Personal Pizza - Us a larger cutter for personal pizza size rounds. Great for an afternoon healthy snack with your choice of sauce and toppings. Reheat in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and toppings are warmed.