Recipe: English muffin sandwiches, three ways

English muffins are surprisingly easy to make, and once you do, it will be hard to go back to the store-bought variety. These are soft, fluffy and sturdy enough to hold many toppings. We ate these as closed sandwiches, open sandwiches and toasted with fresh jam. They’re great to store in the freezer and pop out for a cozy brunch when you have visitors.

English Muffins
Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
16 muffins

1¾ cups warm milk
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
4½ cups flour
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Semolina, for dusting

• In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, gently whisk together the milk and yeast. When the mixture starts to bubble, whisk in the flour, butter, egg, sugar, salt and pepper.

• Knead the dough about 5 minutes on medium speed. The dough will be very soft and eventually start pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

• Spray another large bowl with nonstick spray. Gather the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise about 2 hours, until it is puffy.

• Evenly split the dough into 16 balls, then lightly flatten them with your hands. Sprinkle a large skillet or stovetop griddle with semolina, then place the dough balls in the skillet (they can touch slightly, if needed). Sprinkle more semolina atop the dough. Cover with parchment and let rest 20 minutes, until they rise again. 

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

• Place the skillet on the stove over medium heat and let the muffins cook about 9 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

• Transfer the muffins to a large baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the inside is cooked through. Gently open 1 muffin to check the doneness, using a fork instead of a knife to keep the flakiness of the muffin intact.

Savory Sandwich
Slice an English muffin in half. Slather cream cheese on one half and top with everything bagel seasoning. Spread the other half with the spicy mustard, then top with an over easy egg, prosciutto and spinach. Sandwich and serve.

Sweet Snack
Slice an English muffin in half. Spread both sides with whipped cream cheese and your favorite jam. The black pepper in the muffins adds a spice component that pairs nicely with the sweetness of fruit.

Grilled Cheese Muffin
Slice an English muffin in half. Flip the two sides of the muffin so the insides are on the outside. Spread one side with mayonnaise and one side with spicy mustard, then top with two slices of your favorite cheese. Place the muffin in preheated skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Use a heavy skillet to press the sandwich and until the cheese melts completely. Serve.

Amrita Song is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who blogs at A Song in Motion