I was a straight up English muffin hater until I tried a fresh, homemade one straight out of the oven. Now, you'll find me huddled in a corner of my kitchen at breakfast, slathering batch after batch with salted butter and plenty of jam. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Make the dough the day before you want to make the English muffins. To make the dough, combine the bread flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 20 to 30 seconds, just to combine.
Add the water and the butter and mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and scrape the dough away from the hook. Raise the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes more. The dough should be smooth—if it feels tacky or sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s smooth and easy to handle.
Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator and let rise overnight.
Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding (20 to 30 minutes).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Using a bench knife or a pastry wheel, cut the dough into squares that are 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches.
Cover the shaped muffins and let rise for 15 to 20 minutes on your work surface. After the muffins have risen, dip each one in semolina flour on both sides.
Preheat the oven to 475° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or griddle) over medium-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, add the shaped muffins (as many as you can without crowding—you should be able to easily turn them over). Cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the muffin and cook until golden on the other side, another 2 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the muffins to the prepared baking sheets, and bake until a thermometer inserted into the center reads somewhere between 200 and 215° F, 8-10 minutes. The muffins won’t brown much more, but the interior will bake through.
Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. If you’ve made the muffins ahead, cool completely and store in an airtight container. Reheat in a low temperature oven or in the toaster before serving.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.