Growing up I loved Thomas' English Muffins. Who can resist those nooks and crannies - so good! I loved spread butter on a hot, freshly toasted muffin and watch it melt into little pools of goodness. More recently I decided that it was time for me to create my own version, a better version; fresher, cleaner ingredients, more flavor. You get the idea. I wanted to make a sourdough version so I could use my sourdough starter, and to add even more flavor. After a couple attempts I think I've nailed it. These sourdough English muffins are amazing; super soft and delicious. No, they don't have quite as many nooks and crannies as the Thomas', but honestly I don't miss them. These are just too good, fresh, soft, light and airy. Perfect for a breakfast sandwich topped with eggs, meat and cheese, or a little simpler with just a good pat of butter, some peanut butter, or some nice melty cheese. I'm never going back to the store-bought version again.
These little muffins are really simple to make, but they do take a little time with the shaping of the individual buns, the rising, the grilling and the final baking. I don't have enough griddle space to grill them all at once so it takes a couple batches. Trust me, it's worth the time. You can make these guys as big or small as you want. I like my English muffins nice and thick so that's how I shape them, but you can also shape them a little thinner and wider in diameter depending on your preference and what you want to do with them. This recipe does not use English muffin rings. I didn't have any, so I looked for a recipe for a thicker dough so that I didn't have to go buy a new tool. I'm guessing that with a wetter dough, and the help of these rings you would probably have more luck creating those yummy nooks and crannies, but honestly I don't even care. These will work just perfectly for me!
Sourdough English Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) whole milk
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) sourdough starter, fed or unfed; fed will give a more vigorous rise
- 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon citric acid, optional; for enhanced sour flavor
- Cornmeal, for coating
Combine all of the dough ingredients, except the cornmeal, in a large bowl. Mix and knead — by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine — to form a smooth dough. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, until it's noticeably puffy. Alternatively, for most pronounced sour flavor, cover the bowl, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (without rising first). Let the dough chill for 24 hours; this will develop its flavor.
Gently deflate the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes, to relax the gluten. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 2 inch round.
Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled baking sheets. Sprinkle them with additional cornmeal or semolina, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight, the rise time will closer to 2 hours.
Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) right-side up to a large electric griddle preheated to 350°F, or to an un-greased frying pan that has been preheated over medium-low heat.
Cook the muffins for about 6-8 minutes on each side. The edges may feel a bit soft. Transfer the muffins to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes to finish cooking through.
Yield: 12 English muffins.