Today’s D.I.Y. has been staring me in the face for months. Literally.

It’s my breakfast.

homemade butter and english muffins

I eat the same breakfast pretty much every day – a toasted English muffin (with a little butter and honey), a hard boiled egg (with salt and pepper) and a big iced coffee.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make my own butter and English muffins, but then again – really? English muffins always struck me as one of those food items that you don’t actually ever make. And butter? Really?

But while reading the One Girl Cookies cookbook (and I did read it – from cover to cover), I came across a recipe for homemade butter. I was really bummed because they made it seem so easy that I actually felt guilty. Yes, guilty.

For not making my own butter.

So I decided to do it. And if I was making my own butter how could I NOT make the English muffins too?

Surprisingly they were both super easy to make – and, not surprisingly, totally superior to what I usually eat.

The butter was exactly how I imagined really good old fashioned butter to taste – sweet and creamy, full of flavor and a lovely meltaway texture.

The English muffins were delicious too. They smelled heavenly and were toothsome (been DYING to use that word – yay!) and dense, yet not at all heavy.

As for the nooks and crannies? Not so much – and probably for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t think you ever get those really distinctive “N’s-and-C’s” that commercial brands have. I also think I overworked the dough. You know I have “rolling dough” issues, and as a result tend to get a bit heavy handed in the process. Next time I’ll employ a lighter touch.

Next time.

Will there actually BE a next time? I don’t know. While I enjoyed this little exercise (which was the main point behind starting the D.I.Y. series in the first place), I can’t honestly say that I will be making breakfast from scratch on a regular basis any time soon. This felt more satisfying in a “bragging rights” sort of way (You guys! I MADE my own English muffins! And butter!).

homemade butter

We’ll see. In any event, I was proud of myself for attempting this, and happy that the results were so delicious.

How about you? Have you ever “D.I.Y.’d” something that you had always purchased in the past? It doesn’t have to be in the kitchen either. Maybe you sewed a dress or crafted a piece of furniture? Please share, and let me know if you’d do it again, or head for the store the next time!

homemade butter and english muffins

English Muffins
adapted from allrecipes

1 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water (110 degrees)
¼ c. melted shortening (1 3/8 oz.)
6 c. flour (I used all purpose; will substitute bread flour next time)
1 t. salt

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles (about 185 degrees); remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In your mixer bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 c. flour. Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Add the salt and the rest of the flour and beat just till incorporated. Switch to the bread hook attachment and knead just until smooth (alternatively, remove dough from mixer bowl and knead by hand). Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured board. Roll out to about ½” thick. Using a drinking glass, round cutter or empty tuna can, cut out rounds (I used a 3 ½” round cutter). Place rounds on prepared baking sheets, and dust the tops with more cornmeal. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.

Heat griddle – grease with butter or cooking spray. Gently place rounds on the griddle and cook on medium heat till browned on each side (anywhere from 5-10 minutes per side). Transfer to a rack to cool completely, and repeat with remaining rounds. Once cooled, serve immediately or split and freeze for longer storage.

homemade english muffins

adapted from One Girl Cookies

2 c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1/4 t. table salt

Pour the cream into the food processor and turn it on. Somewhere between 2 and 5 minutes, the cream will separate into yellow butter (which will ball up around the blade) and “buttermilk” (which will look like milky water). Strain the butter and either discard the buttermilk or reserve it for another recipe (like scones, fried chicken or cake).

Return the butter to the food processor, add 1 c. cold water and process for 20 seconds. Strain and discard the water. Do this 3 more times, after which the water should be almost clear.

Place the butter in a large bowl, add the salt and – using a rubber spatula – work the salt into the butter for 3 to 5 minutes. Buttermilk will continue to be released – drain it off as needed. Transfer the butter to an airtight container and refrigerate.


  1. Melanie on August 1, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Drew just bought a new book about this very thing…making some of the stuff that you typically buy (The something? Pantry…I can’t remember the name of it). I’m sure he’ll chime in later. 🙂 xo

    • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

      LOVE when Drew chimes in! 🙂

      • Drew on August 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

        “The Homemade Pantry” by Alana Chernila, and I recommend it so far.

        I think your homemade English muffins and butter look awesome, n-and-c’s be d’ed!

        I’ve gotten pretty hippie lately, too, making my own yogurt, cereal bars, jams, and even deodorant (Lush selfishly stopped making mine!) and for a few years, I’ve been making my own granola and peanut butter. Some of these things, I started like you did: to proudly proclaim that I did; and I’ve continued because the results have been so much better, I can’t bring myself to buy it again. But others, like homemade toaster pastries were like your English muffins: the extra effort didn’t overcome the better taste.

        • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm

          I will definitely check out that book! Granola, definitely better homemade! I’m still going to try the Pop Tarts but will probably agree with your conclusion. Deodorant? Now THAT’S impressive!

  2. jodi on August 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Making butter is THAT easy? I thought it would require one of those wooden barrels and a paddle that Ma Ingalls used. I will definitely be DIY-ing my own butter.

    As for my own DIY? After moving to VT and discovering the dearth of good bagels, I took it upon myself to make my own. Even set up a stand at a farmer’s market and made a nifty little profit. Go NY Jew!

    • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Bagels? Now THAT’S impressive!

  3. jenny - sugar loco on August 1, 2012 at 7:37 am

    You called my name today when you said english muffin and butter – it really is the name my parents were going to name me. Swear. I have such fond memories of my Grandma broiling store bought english muffins to get them just toasty enough. And then lathering the butter on them. One of my favorite childhood (and adulthood) treats. I don’t have them often, but now I MUST have one. Or 6.

    • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

      I love this Jenny – I mean, “english muffin and butter”. xo

  4. Barbara on August 1, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I too will try to make the butter!! Maybe when Jodi and Paulina come to visit we will make it together

    • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

      And I understand that Jodi makes her own bagels too! 🙂

      • Barbara on August 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

        I went up to Vermont to visit her during her bagel making summer. She got me up in the middle of the night to help make them. We then went to the farmers market so she could sell them. I stayed inside a cool starbucks while she sweltered in the heat

        • sherisilver on August 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

          You are such a good mom – I hope we get to meet some day…..

  5. Teresa Peck on August 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I once had a deep fat fryer and with that I always made my own french frys when the kids were growing up; with eight in the family it was a lot of peeling and slicing but they were so good. Also, made me own doughnuts. When my daughter Lindy was about two or younger I would sit her on the kitchen table and give her a glob of dough and have her make balls with it. I would then turn it into doughnut holes. Or at Halloween I could make doughnuts for the trick and treaters..

    • sherisilver on August 3, 2012 at 7:09 am

      French fries are my dream to make – specifically, sweet potato fries. Can you make them without a fryer??

  6. Justine on August 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I can’t wait to add English muffins to my repertoire of homemade breakfast breads. Like you, I am kind of guilty for not having tried them before. But this is just the kick in the pants I needed, so thanks!

    • sherisilver on August 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Really easy – and worth it! I just had the last one and I have to say, going back to the commercial kind? Not cutting it……….

  7. Marcy on October 23, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    You’ll get the nooks and crannies using a special tined tool to separate the muffin halves. You can also use a clean hair pick.

    • sherisilver on October 24, 2014 at 8:02 am

      What a great idea; thank you!

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