Full of nooks and crannies (for collecting butter…mmmm), this easy homemade sourdough English muffin recipe is so simple to make, you’ll never want to buy store bought again!
Why Make Sourdough English Muffins?
Unique Flavor Profile: Sourdough English muffins have a distinct tangy flavor and aroma, thanks to the fermentation process of the sourdough starter. This unique taste sets them apart from commercially produced muffins.
Natural Leavening: Sourdough is a natural leavening agent that uses wild yeast and bacteria. It provides a satisfying rise to the muffins without the need for commercial yeast, resulting in a light and airy texture.
Control Over Ingredients: By making them at home, you have complete control over the ingredients used in the recipe. You can choose high-quality, organic, or locally sourced ingredients for a healthier and more personalized outcome.
Customization: Making Sourdough English Muffins allows you to get creative and customize the flavors to your liking. You can add various ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, herbs, or spices to create unique variations.
No Preservatives: Homemade Sourdough English Muffins are free from preservatives and additives commonly found in store-bought options, making them a healthier choice.
Freshness: Enjoying warm and freshly made Sourdough English Muffins right from your kitchen is a delightful experience. They are perfect for breakfast or as a snack any time of day.
Baking Adventure: Making sourdough products can be a fun baking adventure. Working with the sourdough starter, watching the fermentation process, and achieving those signature nooks and crannies can be a source of pride.
Sustainability: Baking at home reduces packaging waste and the carbon footprint associated with commercial production and transportation.
Family Activity: Making Sourdough English Muffins can be a family activity, involving children or loved ones in the baking process and creating special memories together.
Sharing with Others: Homemade Sourdough English Muffins make thoughtful gifts for friends and family, showing them that you put effort and care into creating something delicious.
Ingredients for Making
Sourdough Starter: A mixture of flour and water that has fermented and captured wild yeast and bacteria. It serves as a natural leavening agent, providing rise and the characteristic tangy flavor to the muffins.
Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the tanginess of the sourdough and enhance the overall flavor.
Milk: Provides moisture and richness to the dough, contributing to the tender texture of the muffins.
Flour: The main ingredient that forms the structure of the muffins. All-purpose flour is commonly used.
Baking Soda: An alkaline leavening agent that reacts with the acidity in the sourdough to help the muffins rise further during cooking.
Salt: Enhances the flavor of the muffins and balances the sweetness.
Cornmeal: Used for dusting the griddle or pan to prevent sticking during cooking. It also adds a nice crunch to the muffin’s exterior.
Brief Overview of Process
In a mixing bowl, combine the active sourdough starter with the honey, milk, and approximately 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
Mix the ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but not overly wet.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it sit at room temperature overnight or for at least 8-10 hours. The dough should rise and become bubbly.
Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the risen dough in the mixing bowl and then add 1 cup of flour.
Gently fold and knead the dough until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. If the dough is too sticky, add up to 1 more cup of flour until it becomes manageable.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch.
Using a round cutter or a glass about 3 inches in diameter, cut out English muffins from the dough. You can re-roll the scraps and cut more muffins until you use up the dough.
Alternately, you can divide the dough evenly into 18 balls for small English muffins or 9 larger balls for large English muffins (I like to use a scale to weigh the dough and then divide by the number I’m making to get them nice and even).
Place the muffins on a cornmeal-dusted tray and let rise, covered, for about 1 hour. If you chose to divide the dough, shape the balls, let them rest about 10 minutes and then pat them down gently.
When the hour is almost passed, preheat a griddle or pan on medium low heat.
Cook each muffin for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. It helps to cover them if using a large pan but I have used a griddle with success. Check the bottoms after a minute or 2 to make sure they’re not browing too quickly.
Once done, transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy your homemade sourdough English muffins toasted with butter, jam, or any topping of your choice!
Blueberry Lemon: Add fresh or dried blueberries to the dough and a hint of lemon zest for a refreshing and fruity twist.
Cheddar and Jalapeno: Incorporate shredded cheddar cheese and finely chopped jalapeno peppers for a savory and slightly spicy kick.
Apple Cinnamon: Mix in diced apples and ground cinnamon for a cozy and comforting flavor reminiscent of apple pie.
Maple Pecan: Fold in chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup for a delightful combination of nutty and sweet flavors.
Chocolate Chip: Introduce mini chocolate chips to the dough for a delightful treat perfect for any time of day.
Fig and Goat Cheese: Add chopped dried figs and crumbled goat cheese for an elegant and sophisticated flavor profile.
Sun-dried Tomato and Basil: Mix in sun-dried tomatoes and freshly chopped basil leaves for a Mediterranean-inspired twist.
Almond and Orange Zest: Incorporate almond slivers and orange zest for a delightful combination of nutty and citrusy flavors.
Cranberry Orange: Fold in dried cranberries and orange zest for a tart and zesty taste.
Herb and Garlic: Add a combination of dried herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano) and garlic powder for a savory and aromatic muffin.
Triple Berry: Use a mix of fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries for a burst of berry goodness.
Pumpkin Spice: Mix in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice for a fall-inspired treat.
Banana Walnut: Add mashed ripe bananas and chopped walnuts for a delicious and satisfying flavor combination.
Cardamom and Pear: Incorporate ground cardamom and diced fresh pears for a unique and aromatic muffin.
Honey Lavender: Mix in dried culinary lavender buds and a drizzle of honey for a delicate and floral flavor.
English Muffins Breakfast Ideas
Classic Bacon, Egg, and Cheese: Crispy bacon, a fried or scrambled egg, and melted cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or any favorite cheese).
Sausage and Egg: Breakfast sausage patty or links with a fried or scrambled egg.
Ham, Egg, and Cheese: Sliced ham, a fried or poached egg, and your choice of cheese.
Veggie Delight: Sautéed spinach, sliced tomatoes, avocado, and a fried or poached egg with optional cheese.
Breakfast BLT: Bacon, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and mayonnaise with a fried or scrambled egg.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese: Smoked salmon, cream cheese, sliced red onions, and capers.
Egg and Avocado: Sliced ripe avocado with a fried or poached egg and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Peanut Butter and Banana: Spread peanut butter on the muffin and add sliced bananas.
Huevos Rancheros: Refried beans, fried or scrambled eggs, salsa, and shredded cheese.
Mushroom and Swiss: Sautéed mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, and a fried or poached egg.
Turkey and Egg: Sliced turkey, a fried or scrambled egg, and a dollop of cranberry sauce.
Pesto and Tomato: Spread pesto sauce on the muffin and add sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Egg and Canadian Bacon: Canadian bacon, a fried or poached egg, and optional cheese.
Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries: Spread Greek yogurt on the muffin and add a mix of fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).
Breakfast Quesadilla: Scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, and diced bell peppers between two halves of an English muffin.
Avoid Disturbing the Bubbles: During the final fermentation and when transferring the muffins to the griddle, handle them gently to preserve the air bubbles created during the first fermentation. These bubbles contribute to the muffins’ light and airy texture.
Test for Doneness: To ensure the muffins are fully cooked inside, you can use a food thermometer to check their internal temperature. It should reach around 190°F (88°C).
Adjusting Cooking Time: If you find that the muffins are browning too quickly on the outside but remain undercooked on the inside, you can finish cooking them in the oven. After searing both sides on the griddle, transfer them to a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for a few minutes to complete the cooking process.
Store Properly: Once cooled, store any leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. If you want to keep them longer, freeze the muffins individually and thaw them before toasting.
Experiment with Flavors: Don’t hesitate to play with flavors and add-ins. You can incorporate ingredients like cinnamon, grated cheese, herbs, or even diced cooked bacon to the dough for a unique twist.
Storage and Make Ahead
Storage: Once the sourdough English muffins have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Make sure they are completely cooled before sealing the container to prevent moisture from building up.
Freezing: To store the muffins for an extended period, you can freeze them. Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a resealable freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sourdough English muffins made with whole and natural ingredients, like in the homemade version, can be a healthier option compared to some commercial muffins that may contain preservatives, additives, and high levels of sugar. Homemade sourdough muffins are typically lower in sugar and provide the benefits of fermentation, which may improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
Homemade sourdough English muffins are best enjoyed on the day they are made. However, they can stay fresh for up to two days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different flavors and add-ins to customize your sourdough English muffins. You can add ingredients like herbs, dried fruits, grated cheese, or cooked bacon to the dough for added flavor.
Yes, you can freeze the sourdough English muffins. Allow them to cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. To enjoy them later, thaw them at room temperature and toast before serving.
The nooks and crannies in English muffins are a result of the unique cooking process. To achieve them, make sure not to overwork the dough, use a griddle or non-stick pan, and let the muffins ferment for an adequate time before cooking.
Cornmeal is traditional for dusting the griddle because it adds a nice texture to the muffins. However, if you don’t have cornmeal, you can use semolina flour or regular flour to dust the griddle instead.
Yes, you can substitute the milk with a non-dairy alternative like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or any other milk substitute of your choice. Just ensure that it’s unsweetened and unflavored.
The process typically takes around 12-14 hours. The night before making the muffins, you prepare the dough and let it ferment overnight. The next morning, you mix in the additional ingredients, shape the muffins, and cook them on the griddle.
A sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that has fermented and captured wild yeast and bacteria. It’s used as a natural leavening agent in sourdough baking. Yes, you need a sourdough starter to make sourdough English muffins. It provides the rise and distinctive tangy flavor characteristic of sourdough.
Yes! You can make these with sourdough discard by eliminating the baking soda and adding 2 to 3 teaspoons of instant yeast. Mix the dough in one day and let rise for about 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen, shape the English muffins, place on a cornmeal dusted tray, cover them with plastic wrap loosely, and let rise for about 30 to 45 minutes until they are nice and puffy.
Homemade English Muffins
The Night Before (8 hours before)
- 1 cup (180 g) active sourdough starter 100% hydration*
- 2 tablespoons (42 g) honey
- 2 cups (488 g) milk
- 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour, unbleached
- 1 teaspoons (4 g) baking soda
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
- 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour, unbleached up to 2 cups
To Cook the English Muffins
- Cornmeal for dusting griddle or semolina or farina
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the sourdough starter, milk, honey, and flour.
- Cover the bowl and place on counter for several hours or overnight (depending on how active starter is, estimated 8 to 10 hours).
- The next morning, or after 8 hours, add the remaining ingredients by sprinkling on the baking soda and salt, and then 1 cup of the flour.
- Knead the dough until smooth (about 5 minutes using a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand) and add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Rest the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes and then roll it out to about 1/2 thickness.
- Using a 3 to 4 inch circle cutter or round glass, cut circles from the dough and place on a lightly greased baking sheet that has been dusted with cornflour.
- You can rer-oll the scraps and get up to about 18 English muffins or divide the dough by 9 to make big English muffins.
- Allow the muffins to rise for about 1 hour, covered lightly with sprayed/oiled plastic wrap.
- When the muffins have risen, place then a few at a time, on a preheated griddle (325℉) for about 5 to 6 minutes per side or over medium-low heat for the same about of time. If in a pan, it helps to cover the pan.
- Split these muffins with a fork, not a knife, in order to get the most nooks and crannies.
- The center of the muffin should register 190 degrees when finished (using an instant read thermometer).
- You can use an electric griddle, stovetop griddle, frying pan, (anything with a wide flat surface) to cook these.
- Make sure to sprinkle the griddle/pan generously with fine cornmeal (you can also use semolina or farina.)
- If the cooking surface isn’t non-stick, make sure to spray it with vegetable oil spray (before adding the cornmeal).
- Check the bottoms after 2 to 3 minutes or so using a spatula to make sure your temperature isn’t too high and you’re not burning your English muffins.
- These freeze well – freeze leftovers in sealed plastic bag or container for up to one month.
Recipe first published in 2014; updated in 2020 with improved photos, step by step and ingredient photos, and tips for making.