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.
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.
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.
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.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Sourdough English Muffins:
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.
- 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 (3 oz, 85g) honey
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1/2” 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.
- 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.
- The muffins freeze very well.
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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