Sourdough English Muffins stacked
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5 from 1 vote

Sourdough English Muffins

Crunchy, tangy, and so easy to make...these Sourdough English Muffins will bring a smile to your face and another use for your sourdough starter discard!
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time9 hrs 45 mins
Total Time10 hrs 45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, British
Keyword: English Muffins, King Arthur Flour, Rolls, Sourdough, Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Starter Discard, Yeast Bread
Servings: 24 muffins
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Special Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp sugar (25g)
  • 2 cups milk (16oz, 454g), scalded to 110°F-115°F (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 cup sourdough starter discard (8 oz, 227g), unfed, at room temperature (see Recipe Notes)
  • 7 cups flour, all-purpose (30oz, 843g)
  • 1/4 cup butter (4 Tbsp, 57g), at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • cornmeal or semolina, for coating

Procedure

Make the dough

  • Combine all the dough ingredients (except for the cornmeal or semolina) in a stand mixer bowl. Using the dough hook, knead to form a smooth dough (you can also knead the dough in a bread machine or by hand). The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky, so add additional flour if needed (use 1 Tbsp increments until you get the desired consistency…this is especially necessary if you’re baking on a humid day).
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (this is called retarding the dough…it allows the sourdough to ferment slowly and develop a more pronounced sour flavor). Let the dough chill for 8 hours (or up to 2 days). If you don’t want to cook the muffins on a separate day, just set the covered bowl aside to rise for about 1-1/2 hours, or until it's noticeably puffy.

Shape the muffins

  • 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. If you’ve retarded the dough in the refrigerator, allow the dough to rest for about an hour on the counter to warm to room temperature.
  • Option 1: Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll ½-inch thick, and cut in 3-inch rounds using a biscuit cutter. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  • Option 2: Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (I weighed the dough using a kitchen scale and divided by 24, then cut pieces to that weight). Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten each ball into a 3-inch round. For a somewhat more even rise as the muffins cook, flatten each ball slightly larger than 3 inches, and trim edges with a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or trim all around the edge with a pair of scissors). Muffins with cut (rather than flattened) sides will rise more evenly, and I used the trimmings to get 4 extra pieces. Win!
  • Place the rounds, evenly spaced, onto a cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled half sheet pan (12 per sheet). Sprinkle them with additional cornmeal or semolina, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise on the counter until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight and you didn’t let it come to room temperature first, the rise time will be about 2 hours.

Cook the muffins

  • Carefully transfer the rounds (as many as a time that will fit without crowding) to a large electric griddle preheated to 350°F, or to an ungreased griddle or frying pan that has been preheated over medium-low heat.
  • Cook the muffins for about 10 to 12 minutes on each side. For the best shape, cook muffins for about 5 minutes on their first side; then lay a quarter sheet pan, or similar flat (though not overly heavy) object atop them. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes or so; then remove the pan, turn muffins over, and finish cooking without the pan on top. This helps keep muffins flat across the top (rather than domed). They’re done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190°F. The edges may feel a bit soft; that's OK.
  • Remove the muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 4 or 5 days; freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is easily halved using 2 tsp yeast and ½ cup unfed sourdough starter. I used Trader Joes 1% milk that I scalded (brought to just a simmer). The original recipe called for 2 cups warm water with 1/2 cup (43g) nonfat dry milk, so that’s an option as well.
The original recipe noted that you can also use your ripe (fed) sourdough starter, and that it would give you a more vigorous rise. If I have ripe starter, I’m making sourdough bread...my sourdough starter discard rises quite well, thank you very much, so I prefer using the discard.
If you're having trouble getting the muffins to cook all the way through on the stove top, cook until golden brown on both sides, then transfer to a preheated 350°F oven and bake until the muffins' interior shows no sign of wet dough, about 10 minutes or so.