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Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins are surprisingly easy to make and soooo much better than store bought. The active starter in the dough makes the flavor and texture extra special. The recipe takes several hours, but there is very little hands-on time. Stock up the freezer for future breakfasts.

a stack of sourdough english muffins

If you’ve got a sourdough starter you know that, unless you bake almost every day, it’s a bit of a dance to keep the starter active. This is a great recipe for using your starter between baking sessions.

If you don’t have one, you can learn How to Make a Sourdough Starter. Then I can show you how to Feed and Maintain Sourdough Starter or How to Keep a Small Sourdough Starter.

English Muffins are always toasted before eating. So even when you don’t need more fresh bread, use your starter to make Sourdough English Muffins for a later date. This is a perfect “make ahead and freeze” recipe.

a hand holding a Sourdough English Muffin

Tips for making and storing Sourdough English Muffins:

  • Make sure your starter is active before mixing the dough. If your starter is not active, refresh the starter with flour and water. Wait until a dollop of starter has enough bubbles that it floats when dropped in a cup of water.
  • The 30 minute rest at the beginning of the recipe gives the gluten formation a head start. Don’t skip this step.
  • The fermentation and rising time will vary based on the ambient temperature of the room and the temperature of your dough. The times listed in the recipe are a guideline.
  • The dough needs to ferment at least 3 hours for the best texture. If you want to break up the recipe between 2 days you can refrigerate the dough after the 3 hour fermentation and continue with cutting and rising the muffins the next day.
  • Another way to break up the recipe into two days is to wrap the pan of muffins and refrigerate before they rise. Chill the muffins overnight then rise and “bake” the next day.
  • During the final rise the muffins will tend to spread out more than up. They’ll spring up and gain quite a bit of height as they “bake”.
  • Sourdough English Muffins should always be toasted before serving.
  • To get the best texture, use a fork to split the muffin. Don’t slice it with a knife! Fork-splitting forms “nooks and crannies” that sop up lots of melted butter.
  • Fresh Sourdough Muffins will keep at room temperature for one day. For longer storage, pack the muffins into freezer bags and freeze up to 3 months.
  • Microwave a frozen muffin for 10 to 20 seconds. Fork split the muffin, toast and serve.
split sourdough english muffins with a fork

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Sourdough English Muffins:

sourdough english muffin dough
After 3 hours of fermentation the dough should be light and elastic
rolling dough for sourdough english muffins
Roll the dough on cornmeal to 1/2″ thick
sourdough english muffins on a griddle
“Bake” the muffins on a hot griddle, they’ll rise up quite a bit as they bake
sourdough english muffins on a griddle
Flip the muffins and bake on the other side
sourdough english muffins on a cooling rack
Allow the muffins to cool completely before freezing
sourdough english muffins with nooks and crannies
Perfect “nooks and crannies” for catching butter!
toasted sourdough english muffin with butter
sourdough english muffin

Since you’ve got your starter fed, check out the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave a 5-star review.

Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins

Yield: 16 muffins
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rising Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Baking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

English Muffins are surprisingly easy to make and so much better than store bought. The addition of sourdough starter makes the flavor and texture extra special. The recipe takes several hours, but there is very little hands-on time. Stock up the freezer for future breakfasts.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8oz, 224g) active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz, 180 ml) warm water
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240 ml) whole milk, warmed to 110F
  • 5 cups (25 oz, 700g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (2.5 oz, 75g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cornmeal

Instructions

  1. Combine the starter, water, milk and 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until combined. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the honey, oil and salt and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook if using a stand mixer. Add the remaining flour and knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and clings to the hook. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. If mixing by hand, add flour until you can no longer stir, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface to finish by hand.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bow, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough over into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. Cove the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure one last time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature.
  4. Turn the dough from the bowl and knead briefly to form a smooth ball. Lightly sprinkle your work surface with cornmeal. Roll the dough to 3/8” thick. Cut muffins with a 3” biscuit cutter. Reroll the scraps and continue cutting until all the dough is used. You should get about 16 muffins. Place the muffins on an ungreased baking sheet. Cover the pan and let the muffins rise until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat a griddle or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and lightly oil the pan. "Bake" the muffins for about 8 minutes on each side until well-risen and deep golden brown. Keep an eye on the heat so the muffins don't burn. Adjust the heat as needed. Cool on wire rack. To serve, split and toast.
  6. The muffins freeze very well.

Notes

The fermentation time will vary based on the ambient temperature of the room and the temperature of your dough. The dough will start out fairly dense. It should be quite aerated and elastic by the end of the 3 hour fermentation. If the dough is very cool and sluggish you can set the bowl over a bowl of warm water to warm it up a bit.

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Sue

Monday 22nd of March 2021

I do not own a griddle or a cast iron skillet. Would a regular nonstick skillet work?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

You can use any skillet, but you do want it fairly hot. Just be careful with non-stick since you don't want it to get super-hot, above 500F.

Denise Severson

Friday 12th of March 2021

these are amazing; highly recommend!

Debra Rocksead

Thursday 11th of March 2021

These are wonderful, I have made two batches in three days! When I made the first batch they were ready around supper time, we ate three each and skipped the planned supper, it was going to be warmed up pizza made with your crust recipe the day before.

Devin Lewis

Thursday 11th of March 2021

I have been looking through a lot of English muffin recipes and I noticed that the fermentation and rise times differ a lot. Yours was the only one that had the folding technique every hour or so. I was wondering what was the reasoning for this? I'm getting more into bread making and dont know the science behind everything yet.

TISH CERTO

Friday 12th of March 2021

@Devin Lewis, Stretching and folding is the way the glutens are sort of "beaten" to become more digestible and the dough more airy to create those wonderful nooks and crannies in English muffins and typical SD breads. If you just kneed it and let it go, the end result in bread is more consistently dense. still okay, but not what most sourdough breads are like.

Becky Decker

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

I made my 3rd batch of these this week. All of my family loves them! Your recipes are easy to follow. I'm anxious to try more. In fact, tomorrow I'm going to try the sourdough hamburger buns.