English muffins are one of those things that, up until a few years ago, it would have never crossed my mind to make. I don’t know…when you don’t grow up around this stuff, it’s easy just to think it couldn‘t be made at home. Which seems silly, ’cause I knew you could make bread.
Humm… the mind works in mysterious ways.
Oh, but have I learned they can be made at home- and they are tastier (really! I’m not just saying that ’cause I make them) and really easy.
Plus, when I make this sourdough version, it’s a way to use some of my sourdough starter (remember, the sourdough I like to use occasionally?) in a way that I know will turn out some seriously delicious sourdough bread.
The only thing that’s hard for me to remember with this recipe is to start the night before. I think I have to make a big note and leave it on my bed reminding me I can’t climb in until I’ve mixed up the initial dough.
It only takes about five minutes the night before to mix the sourdough starter with a bit of honey, flour, and milk. Water will work if you’re avoiding dairy, but they won’t be quite as tender.
In the morning, it will look like this (or it may have risen higher, depending on your starter, the temperature, or whatnot…can you see I’m still figuring this sourdough thing out?). English muffins, I’ve found are pretty forgiving.
I’ve found that the enemy of any bread is too much flour- it’s OK, and desirable, for dough to need to be scraped out of a bowl.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/2- inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds using a 3-inch biscuit cutter…or anything that will produce uniform rounds. I like using biscuit cutters- there are recipes that require you to shape each muffin with your hands- who has time for that?
It’s OK to gather the dough and re-roll to cut more muffins- I haven’t noticed any difference between the first roll and the second. I take the little scrap from the last bit and hand-shape it into a cute little muffin. No waste here. *smile*
Set the rounds on a lined baking sheet (parchment or silicone) that has been dusted with cornmeal or a bit of flour (if you’re out of cornmeal like I was…). Don’t let them touch as they will stick together, but an inch or two apart is fine. Dust the tops with a bit more cornmeal or flour. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours.
I’ve made these after letting them rise only one hour and they’re fine, but the holes inside are bigger when I have the time to let them rise for 2 hours. The picture above is after a 2-hour rise and you can see that they actually don’t rise all that much- just puff a bit. They will rise more when cooked.
Heat a non-stick griddle (do you use a cast iron one?) to a medium-low setting (about 275 degrees) so the muffins have time to cook inside without burning on the outside.
I do want to mention that these stick to the lining, even with a dusting of flour/cornmeal, so I try to slide the spatula to pick up a bit of the flour as I’m lifting the muffin with the spatula. Then I invert onto my heated griddle.
There you have it- one quick mix the night before, another stir in a mixer, a simple roll-and-cut, a long rise and a super-quick eight minute cook. I think it might be 20-25 minutes total hands-on time.
Not too bad for a dozen great tasting fresh English muffins that cost about $1.00.
Easy Whole Wheat Sourdough English Muffins
1. Mix together the night before:
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter
- 1 TB. honey
- 1 cup milk (can use water, but milk makes them more tender)
- 2 c. whole wheat (I use hard white wheat) or combination of flours (white, spelt)
Cover with a towel and leave at room temperature overnight.
2. In the morning, transfer the sponge to the bowl of a mixer (can be made by hand) and add:
- 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup flour (plus another 1/4-1/3 c. during kneading)
Use the paddle attachment to mix together. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 3-4 minutes, adding another 1/4 to 1/3 cup of flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is just tacky to the touch, clears the sides of the bowl, but still sicks to the bottom.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead a few times into a round shape. Use a rolling pin to roll about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into rounds with a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or other round shape).
4. Place the muffin rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone and sprinkled with a dusting of cornmeal or flour. Leave about 1 to 2-inches between each muffin, and dust the tops with a bit more flour or cornmeal.
5. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours. They will just slightly puff.
6. Heat a nonstick griddle to a medium-low setting (about 275 degrees) in order to cook the inside of the muffin without burning the outside.
7. Transfer the muffins, one at a time, to the heated griddle (dry- do not grease for even browning) and cook for about 4 minutes on one side. Flip the muffins, flatten slightly with the back of the spatula, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the other side until both sides are nicely browned.
8. Cool on a rack. Split and toast or use for Eggs Benedict with Easy Hollandaise Sauce!
Makes about 12 or 13, depending on thickness.