Exploring vegan, vegetarian and sustainable cooking

Sourdough English muffins (recipe)

The North American breakfast sandwich has made the English muffin a breakfast staple. (On this side of the Atlantic, we call it the English muffin to differentiate it from the cupcake-like item that we normally call a muffin. In the UK, it’s reversed, where they call the cupcake-like muffin an American muffin.)

While commercial English muffins are fine, you’ll develop a better appreciation for them after making your own sourdough English muffins at home. These are much more moist and flavourful than their packaged counterparts.

Warm-out-of-the-oven muffins are delicious with just some butter. Or they can be toasted with butter and jam. Or use them for the best-ever eggs Benedict.

Splitting a freshly-baked sourdough English muffin
Splitting a freshly-baked sourdough English muffin

This sourdough muffin recipe needs to be started about a week before you plan on baking them. None of the steps are complicated, and the only time-consuming part is cooking the muffins on an electric griddle. But since they cook for 10 minutes on each side, you’ll have plenty of time to multitask while they cook. (An electric griddle is really ideal, because it keeps the temperature consistent and makes the cooking fool-proof.)

Easy sourdough starter

1/8 oz active dry yeast (1/2 package)
3/4 cups warm water
1 cup flour

In a medium or large bowl, mix the yeast and water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast. Whisk in the flour until completely combined. (The batter will be very wet.) Cover with plastic wrap and let the batter sit at room temperature for 3-5 days. (The longer, the stronger the sourdough flavour.)

Sourdough English muffins

Makes 2 dozen English muffins.

4 cups + 1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt

The evening before cooking the English muffins, add 4 cups flour and the milk to the starter mixture. Mix to combine, cover, and let sit at room temperature overnight.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, sugar and salt to the starter mixture. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and only slightly tacky, adding more flour as required.

Divide the dough into 24 equally-sized pieces, by first dividing into 2, then 2 again, then 2 again. You’ll now have 8 pieces; divide each of these pieces into 3.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten into a disc 3/4-inch thick. Set on a sheet of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. Once all the discs have been shaped, sprinkle the tops with cornmeal, cover with parchment paper and a dish towel. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

Cook the English muffins on a lightly-oiled electric griddle at 275°F (or a stovetop griddle on medium heat) for 10 minutes on each side, or until a nice golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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