My latest projects have involved trying to pull off the best possible renditions of simple dishes. I already tried pizza and bean burritos (using homemade refried beans and tortillas), so I thought I’d try burgers:

The patties were chuck roast from Millgate Farms, course ground twice (Michael Symon’s technique, which makes for really juicy burgers) and coated with Montréal Steak Seasoning and pepper. The Swiss was grassfed Meadow Maid (all of these were from North Union Market). The fries are leftover from Melt, reheated in the oven.

The English Muffins were loosely based on Alton Brown’s recipe, but with a number of simplifications. These were the best English Muffins we’ve ever had, based on a simple yeast dough that does not require kneading and has a very short rise time. They were great with breakfast and would likely made good pizza crusts as well.

English Muffins

(makes about 8 muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope yeast, active dry or instant
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or more white flour)
Cooking spray
corn meal (optional) or additional flour

Alunimum foil, 3 inch biscuit rings (without handles), or tuna cans with lids removed
Large cast iron or nonstick skillet with lid (or cover with cookie sheet)

(1) Warm milk in a bowl in the microwave or on the stove in a saucepan to above body temperature, but not hot (between 100 and 130 degrees)

(2) Dissolve yeast and a pinch of sugar in milk. Let sit until foamy (around 5 minutes)

(3) Combine flour, remaining sugar and 1/2 t. salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir well.

(4) Let dough sit in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.

(5) If using aluminum foil, tear off strips and make into rings 3 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches tall.

(6) Preheat a large cast iron on non-stick skillet to medium-high. Add remaining 1/2 t. salt to batter and stir well.

(7) Spray rings with cooking spray, sprinkle skillet with a generous tablespoon of cornmeal or flour, and place rings in skillet. Fill rings a little over half full (two ice cream scoops) with batter, cover pan and reduce heat to medium.

(8) Cook for 5 minutes, flip with tongs, cover and cook for five more minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Muffin tops will be almost black; don’t worry, they’re supposed to look this way.

(9) Repeat with remaining batter. You should have 7–8 muffins. Split with fork or by pulling halves apart.

  • ds

    The English muffin recipe is now on the list of things to try to make.

  • kate

    ben, those look amazing! are the muffins smaller than normal? can’t tell from the pic, but that would make them super cute (which i like in a burger). kate

  • Ben

    Dave: Easy, and definitely worth making.

    Kate: They’re not much smaller (3 inches), but I think the picture does make them look that way. The batter could easily be made into slider size muffins, though, if you just made 2 inch rings.