These Sourdough English Muffins are surprisingly easy to prepare, and ever so much better than store-bought!

stack of homemade english muffins on cutting board

I have loved English muffins since I was a little girl. Mom used to serve them several different ways – she would toast them up with butter and her homemade jam for breakfast, or even broil them with butter and Parmesan cheese for dinner. A few weeks ago at our neighborhood farmer’s market, I tasted a scrumptious egg sandwich on a homemade English muffin. The fellow in the booth said the muffins were super easy to make. Really? And they were so good!

King Arthur Sourdough English Muffins

So, I came home and started researching recipes. Not surprisingly, on my favorite bread/baking website, kingarthurflour.com, I found a sourdough English muffin recipe that seemed similar to how the fellow at the market made his muffins. [Sidebar: I find King Arthur’s recipes to be clear and well tested; plus, if you have a question, you can call them!] The best part: their recipe calls for a sourdough starter, and I love anything with sourdough. I have a starter that was originally created by my grandmother in 1933! My family almost lost it – but that’s another story, that you can read about in The Saga of the Sourdough Starter if you are interested.

What makes English muffins bread different?

English muffins are round, usually 3 to 4 inches in diameter, with a chewy texture. Inside, they are full of air pockets. They contain less flour and sugar than most breads, and are cooked on a griddle instead of the oven.

Sourdough Starter English Muffins

cutting board with a stack of Sourdough English Muffins

How long before baking should I feed my sourdough starter?

For this recipe, you can use unfed or fed starter. If you want a more vigorous rise, then feed your starter the day before. Then it will have time to double in bulk. If you’re using unfed and store your starter in the refrigerator, make sure to let it sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Ingredients for Homemade Sourdough English Muffins

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these delightful muffins:

  • Sourdough starter, fed or unfed – fed and ripe will give you a more vigorous rise
  • Active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Dry buttermilk (or nonfat milk)
  • Granulated sugar sugar
  • Table salt
  • Butter
  • Cornmeal
Sliced toasted english muffin with orange marmalade

How to Make This Sourdough English Muffins Recipe

And, here is the step by step instructions for making these delicious muffins:

  1. Proof yeast.
    In a small dish, combine sugar, water (105 – 110 degrees), and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes. It should turn bubbly – this confirms your yeast is active (called “proofing the yeast”).
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, dry buttermilk, salt and remaining sugar. Set aside.
  3. Combine starter, butter, yeast, and water.
    In a large bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the sourdough starter, softened butter, proofed yeast, and remaining 3/4 cup of warm water (110 – 115 degrees).
  4. Add dry ingredients.
    Using a dough hook and keeping the machine on speed 2, add dry ingredients and beat for around 2 to 3 minutes, or until dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough shouldn’t be particularly sticky; add additional flour if needed.
  5. Knead dough; let rise.
    Remove dough from the bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times by hand to confirm the texture is correct (it should feel like your earlobe or a baby’s bottom). Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy and doubled in size.
  6. Cut out rounds.
    Sprinkle a large (half-sheet) rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal. Gently punch down dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Roll 1/2-inch thick, cut into 3-inch rounds and place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pan. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps to get 12 rounds.
  7. Let rise.
    Sprinkle cornmeal on top of muffins, cover with plastic wrap (no need to grease), and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  8. Prep griddle.
    Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees (note: if your griddle is black, preheat to 310 degrees). Alternatively, heat an ungreased skillet over medium-low heat.
  9. Cook muffins on one side.
    Carefully transfer the muffins right-side-up to preheated griddle/skillet – make sure they aren’t touching each other. Cook for about 5 minutes, then place a smallish cookie sheet on top (can also use a light baking dish). Continue for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until muffin bottoms are a golden brown color.
  10. Flip muffins.
    Remove cookie sheet, flip muffins over, and continue cooking (without cookie sheet) for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown on the second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190 degrees.
  11. Remove and cool.
    Remove muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack.

Storing & Reheating This Sourdough English Muffin Recipe

Cooked muffins can be stored in a sealed container (like a ziptop baggie) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Can you freeze sourdough English muffins?

Yes, you can freeze these muffins. Place them in an airtight container (a freezer ziptop baggie works well) and they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Popular Ways to Eat Sourdough English Muffins

You can serve these muffins toasted with butter and jam, as mom used to do, or as part of an egg sandwich, or with Eggs Benedict with Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce!

Here is my favorite way to eat these English muffins:

  • in Breakfast Sandwiches with Egg, with Eggs Benedict with Easy Blender Hollandaise.
  • toasted with butter and jam, as my mom used to do, or
  • slathered with butter, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and garlic salt, and toasted until under the broiler until the cheese melts (great with any pasta dish!).

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Sliced toasted english muffin with orange marmalade

Sourdough English Muffin Recipe

  • Author: (Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s “Sourdough Engish Muffins”)
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Rise time: 145 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: One dozen
  • Category: bread, baking, breakfast and brunch, side dishes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These muffins are delicious toasted with butter and jam, as mom used to do, or as part of an egg sandwich, or with Eggs Benedict with Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups (just shy of 15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry buttermilk (or nonfat milk), fluffed with a fork (see Note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed; fed and ripe (doubled in size) will give you a more vigorous rise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • cornmeal, for coating

Instructions

  1. In a small dish, combine 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup water (105 – 110 degrees) and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes. It should turn bubbly – this confirms your yeast is active (called “proofing the yeast”).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, dry buttermilk, salt and remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the sourdough starter, softened butter, proofed yeast, and remaining 3/4 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees).
  4. Using a dough hook and keeping machine on speed 2, add dry ingredients and beat for around 2 to 3 minutes, or until dough clings to the hook and cleans sides of the bowl. Knead an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Dough shouldn’t be particularly sticky; add additional flour if needed.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times by hand to confirm texture is correct (it should feel like your earlobe or a baby’s bottom). Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, turning once to coat surface. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy and doubled in size.
  6. Sprinkle a large (half-sheet) rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal.
  7. Gently punch down dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Roll 1/2-inch thick, cut into 3-inch rounds and place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pan. Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps to get 12 rounds.
  8. Sprinkle cornmeal on top of muffins, cover with plastic wrap (no need to grease), and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees (note: if your griddle is black, preheat to 310 degrees). Alternatively, heat an ungreased skillet over medium-low heat.
  10. Carefully transfer the muffins right-side up to preheated griddle/skillet – make sure they aren’t touching each other. Cook for about 5 minutes, then place a smallish cookie sheet on top (can also use a light baking dish). Continue for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until muffin bottoms are a golden brown color.
  11. Remove cookie sheet, flip muffins over, and continue cooking (without cookie sheet) for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown on second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190 degrees.
  12. Remove muffins from the griddle, and cool on a rack. Store in a zip top baggie at room temperature up to 4 days; can also be frozen.

Notes

Note on dry buttermilk: Buttermilk powder (or buttermilk blend) can be found in major grocery stores or specialty stores, usually in the baking aisle. It is also available online.

Keywords: sourdough starter, breakfast muffins, make ahead

Lee Clayton Roper

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I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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