Sourdough English Muffins

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These sourdough English muffins are perfect for lazy weekends or as a special treat during the week. They pair perfectly with your favorite spreads and toppings, or help you make the yummiest breakfast sandwich of all time.

This is a simple but rewarding recipe, and a great addition to your sourdough rotation.

finished sourdough english muffins stacked on cloth.

Sourdough English Muffins

Enjoy the unique, tangy flavor of homemade bread, turning an everyday breakfast into something special.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
rising time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 40 minutes
Serving Size 12 muffins

Equipment

  • Griddle or large skillet
  • 3-inch round cutter
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Spatula

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sourdough starter active and bubbly
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk room temperature
  • Cornmeal for dusting

Instructions 

  • Mix Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sourdough starter, sugar, and salt. Gradually add the milk and mix until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more milk. (In the middle picture, the dough is a little dry because all the flour isn't incorporating. The last one is just right.)
    Three steps of dough preparation in a bowl: initial mixing on the left, mid-mixing in the center, and a fully mixed dough ball on the right.
  • First Rise: Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place (like a turned-off oven) for 8-12 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
    A bowl with mixed dough on the left and the same bowl with the risen dough on the right.
  • Prepare for Cooking: After the first rise, sprinkle the baking soda over the dough. Knead it gently for a few minutes in the bowl to incorporate the baking soda.
  • Shape Muffins: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to about ½ inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out muffins. Re-roll the scraps to make more muffins.
    The same bowl showing the dough sprinkled with baking soda and dough cut into rounds on the right.
  • Second Rise: Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and place the cut-out muffins on it. Sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover them with greased plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
    Two trays lined with parchment paper, each with rounds of uncooked sourdough English muffins dusted with flour, before and after the second rise.
  • Cook: Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the muffins for about 5-10 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. (I sprinkle additional cornmeal on the skillet beforehand, but not everyone does this.)
    A cast-iron skillet with uncooked dough rounds on the left, and the rounds flipped showing a golden-brown crust on the right.
  • Cool and Serve: Let the muffins cool on a wire rack. Split them with a fork and toast before serving. Enjoy with butter, jam, or your favorite toppings.
    A stack of cooked sourdough English muffins showing the textured side.

Notes

  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
  • The dough should be slightly sticky. Adjust with a little extra flour or milk if needed.
  • The second rise is crucial for getting the classic nooks and crannies in English muffins.

The distinct sourdough tang is not overpowering or sour. Everyone, even kids, will love these!

A stack of cooked sourdough English muffins showing the textured side.

🥣 important tools and ingredients

Sourdough Starter. You can find it in the refrigerated section of some specialty grocery stores or make it at home. It’s crucial for imparting the unique tangy flavor and airy texture to the muffins.

All-Purpose Flour. A pantry staple, available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. It provides the basic structure for the muffins. This ensures they rise and have a light, chewy texture.

Baking Soda. It’s located in the baking section. It’s a key leavening agent. It reacts with the sourdough starter to create the characteristic nooks and crannies.

Cornmeal. Found in the baking aisle, used for dusting. It gives the muffins their signature crispy bottom and prevents sticking during cooking.

Milk (Room Temperature). Found in the dairy section. It adds moisture and richness to the dough, contributing to the muffins’ tender crumb.

Ingredients for sourdough English muffins: flour in a bowl, starter in a white bowl, milk in a cup, and salt and sugar in small bowls

These key ingredients are available in most grocery store. Each component plays a vital role. They ensure the perfect texture and taste of your homemade muffins. This makes the recipe both accessible and rewarding.

  • Griddle or Large Skillet. You must to cook muffins evenly on both sides. This gives them their characteristic golden-brown crust.
  • 3-inch Round Cutter. This tool ensures uniform size and shape for your English muffins. It makes them perfect for even cooking and presentation.
  • Mixing Bowls. You must mix the dough ingredients . The sourdough starter ensures distribution throughout the dough.
  • Spatula. The tool is useful for flipping the muffins on the griddle or skillet. They ensure that they cook the food without burning it.
  • Plastic Wrap (Greased). During rising, we use the cloth to cover the dough. It helps to keep the dough moist and prevents a skin from forming on the surface.

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Now that we’ve covered the essential equipment, let’s move on to some helpful tips. These tips will ensure your baking success

✨ Tips for the best rolls

  • Control the temperature to ensure your sourdough starter is active and bubbly. This will give the best rise. If your kitchen is cool, you can place the dough in a warmed (but turned off) oven. This can provide the perfect environment for the first rise.
  • Dough Consistency: The dough should be tacky but not sticky. If it’s too wet, add a bit of flour during kneading. This helps in forming muffins that hold their shape and have the right texture.
  • For an even golden-brown crust on the muffins, use a cast-iron skillet or griddle if available. They keep heat better and distribute it .
  • To prevent sticking, dust both the surface where you roll out the dough and the muffins with cornmeal. This also contributes to the classic English muffin texture.
  • When shaping the muffins, handle the dough. This will maintain the air pockets created by the sourdough. This leads to a lighter texture with the desired nooks and crannies.
  • Try the Fork Splitting Technique. Instead of using a knife on cooled muffins, pry them open with a fork. This technique helps preserve the internal texture, perfect for toasting.
  • Monitoring the Heat: Keep an eye on the skillet’s temperature while cooking. If it’s too hot, the outsides will brown too without cooking the inside . Adjust the heat as needed.

Use these tips to ensure your Sourdough English Muffins are flavorful and textured. They will make your homemade breakfast experience both enjoyable and successful.

🥫 Storage and make ahead instructions

Storing and freezing your Sourdough English Muffins will keep them fresh and delicious.

Refrigerator Storage

  • Cool completely. Allow the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack before storing. This prevents condensation, which can make them soggy.
  • Airtight Container: Store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
  • Shelf Life: They will stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
  • Refrigerator Storage:
  • Cool and Containerize: After cooling, place them in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerator Life: In the fridge, they can last for up to a week.

Freezing Instructions

  • Cool Completely: Ensure muffins are completely cool to avoid ice crystals forming.
  • When stacking separate layers, place a piece of parchment paper between each muffin. This prevents sticking.
  • Freeze in Batches: Store them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label the bag with the date.
  • You can freeze them for up to 3 months.

Thawing and Reheating

  • Thawing: Thaw them at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight. For a quick thaw, microwave them for 20-30 seconds, then toast.
  • Reheating Tips: For the best flavor and texture, toast the muffins before serving. It doesn’t matter whether you keep them at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

Use these storage and freezing methods to make a double batch for later, if you’d like.

Can I use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour?

Yes, you can substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour to add a nutty flavor and more fiber. But, be aware that whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, so you might need to adjust the amount of milk . The texture will also be denser.

What if I don’t have a 3-inch round cutter?

If you don’t have a round cutter, you can use a wide-mouthed glass, a can, or even cut them by hand with a knife. The shape may not be perfect, but they will still taste delicious.

When are the muffins cooked?

Tap the muffins to check if they are golden brown on both sides and sound hollow to determine if they are good. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read around 200°F (93°C).

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dough and let it go through the first rise in the refrigerator overnight. This slow rise can actually enhance the sourdough flavor.

Can I double this recipe?

Absolutely. You can double the ingredients for a larger batch. Just ensure you have enough space for the dough to rise and enough room on your griddle or skillet to cook them.

How can I ensure the muffins have the classic ‘nooks and crannies’?

The key is in the second rise and gentle handling of the dough. Also, use the fork-splitting method when they’re cool. It helps create those perfect nooks and crannies.

❤️ More sourdough recipes you’ll love

We love making sourdough everything. Here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes that use your sourdough starter.

  • Wake up to the aroma of a Sourdough Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake. Tangy sourdough meets sweet, crumbly streusel in a match made for cozy mornings.
  • For a delightful twist on a classic, try my Sourdough Banana Nut Muffins. The nutty crunch complements the soft, tangy sourdough batter.
  • Transform your weekend brunch with Sourdough Discard Waffles. Turn your excess starter into a golden, crispy treat that’s irresistibly delicious.
  • Indulge in the burst of summer flavors with our Blueberry Sourdough Scones. They’re topped with a zesty Lemon Glaze that will have you savoring every bite.

So, give it a try and enjoy the simple pleasure of homemade muffins, fresh from your skillet to your table.

A close-up of golden-brown sourdough English muffins on a cloth.
Sourdough English Muffins
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