Sourdough English Muffins

Our family loves English muffins. We use them to make breakfast sandwiches (with our own free-ranged eggs) or for a treat with jam during afternoon tea. If you want to learn the skill of sourdough English muffins, Ashley gives step-by-step instructions in this post.

Posted by Ashley

Slow fermented sourdough English muffins are so easy to make, you’ll never go back to store bought.  Simply prepare the dough ahead of time, either the night before (or a few days before and refrigerate).  In the morning, shape the dough, allow it to quickly proof, and then cook on the stove top pan or on a griddle.  They’re almost quick enough for a busy weekday breakfast treat, but until you’ve mastered the technique, practice on slower weekend days when you have time to experiment with cook times and dough textures.

These English muffins are wonderfully fluffy, with a crisp exterior, and tangy sourdough character.  Once they’re cool, split with a fork and toast before topping them with butter and jam to complete the experience.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try topping with a quick fermented fruit spread, with just a bit of sugar and fruit, started a few days ahead of time in your fermentools fermentation kit.  The extra bubbly tang of the fermented fruit is a great complement to these flavorful sourdough English muffins.

How to Make Sourdough English Muffins

Yield: 8-10 Muffins

Prep Time: 10-20 Minutes

Fermentation Time: 6 – 12 Hours

Proof Time: 20-30 Minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Semolina or cornmeal

1. Combine sourdough starter, milk, flour, melted butter and salt into a loose dough.  The dough will be wet, and should take a bit of time to come together.

2. Since the dough is so wet, it’s best to use a commercial mixer with a mixing paddle (rather than beaters or dough hooks, but use what you have available).  Mix on medium-high for 4-5 minutes, until the dough comes together into one cohesive mass and pulls away from the sides.  Be patient.  If after 5 minutes it still is not coming together, add a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup more flour and continue beating.

3. Once the dough comes together, scrape down the paddle, and cover loosely with a cloth and allow to rest for at least 6 hours (in warmer weather), or overnight in cooler weather.  If preparing a few days ahead, slow the fermentation by covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge.   Bring it out onto the counter and give it a quick stir/knead at least an hour before working with it to bring it back up to room temperature.

4. To shape, chop the dough into 8-10 pieces and, with flour on your hands, flatten them into a hockey puck shape, roughly 3/4 to 1 inch thick, and 3-3 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place them on a surface that you’ve thoroughly dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal. Allow  to rest for 20-30 minutes.

5. Cooking is the tricky part.  Ensure that both sides of the muffins are thoroughly coated in semolina or corn meal to prevent sticking, because you’ll want to use a dry, un-greased griddle to cook.  They want to be pan crisped on the outside, but need to be fully cooked in the middle.  This is where practice will become important as you cook your muffins, and individual stove temperatures will make a big difference.  Some say they can be cooked on a cast iron griddle, with the heat down on low, for 15 minutes on each side and be fully cooked through without burning.  Others recommend browning for 5 minutes on each side on medium, and then transferring to the oven at 350 degrees for an additional 10-15 minutes to cook them through.  Regardless of your method, the muffins should read 200 degrees in the center with an instant read thermometer.  Poke the thermometer through the side, where you plan to split your muffin, to test them.  Once you know your stove, you’ll quickly learn the best way to make these with your own equipment.

Cook’s Notes: If you find that your English muffins do not rise as much as you’d like during cooking, feel free to add a small pinch of commercial yeast along with the initial flour.  When using whole grain flours, the sourdough might not be as effective at leavening the dough, and some cooks also opt to add a pinch of baking soda.

Keep in mind, they’re not meant to be fluffy dinner rolls, and that a denser character is actually what you’re hoping for in your final muffins.  Some cooks place a flat weight over the muffins as they cook, such as a piece of parchment paper topped with a flat baking sheet.  This keeps them from rising too much, and helps to capture the heat of the griddle to ensure that the muffins cook through.

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English muffins are as versatile as the day is long. Top with butter and a fermented fruit spread for treat to serve with tea. Or for a heartier breakfast, make a sandwich with your own fresh egg, cheese and slice of ham.

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Ashley is an off grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie and foraging. Read more about her adventures at VermontMangoPlantation.com.

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