It just doesn’t occur to people to make some things at home. English muffins are one of those things. But you should! They aren’t that hard, and unlike chocolate chip cookies, whom everyone in the world feels empowered to make at home, they are quite unusual which will make you feel Bad-A when you serve them up at brunch. These english muffins are don’t have any commercial yeast, instead they are leavened with my sourdough starter. They have a wonderful mild sourness, but are totally suitable to being eaten with a little jam or honey. They really are superior to Thomas’.
This recipe is based on Peter Reinhart’s excellent from “Artisan Breads Every Day”, but adapted to use my sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. The recipe has a few strange twists. For instance, adding baking soda to the batter after it has risen over night. The purpose of the baking soda is to give it a bit of extra lift, contributes to the characteristic pockets and crannies of a good english muffin, and to raise the pH of the batter, which enhances browning. The muffins are also cooked in a pan, not in the oven!
Sourdough English Muffins
Adapted from “Artisan Breads Every Day” by Peter Reinhart
- 1 cup (8 oz) lukewarm whole milk
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 cup (8 oz) sourdough starter (healthy and vigorous)
- 1 2/3 cup (8.3 oz) flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
On baking day:
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- cornmeal for dusting
Combine wet ingredients, plus starter. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix vigorously for 2 minutes to develop glutens. Let sit on counter for 2-3 hours to let the fermentation get going, then refrigerate overnight. If it’s winter, or cool in your house, you may want to leave it out all night. The next day, remove the batter from the refrigerator 2-3 hours before cooking to allow it to warm up. Dissolve baking soda in 3 Tbsp warm water, then gently fold into the batter. Do not over mix. While batter rests for 10 minutes preheat griddle (or cast iron pan) to 300º, just shy of smoking. Meanwhile, prepare rings by spraying or wiping with oil, then dusting them with cornmeal. Arrange the rings on the griddle, then dust the pan inside of each ring with cornmeal. Using an oiled measuring cup, pour roughly 1/3 cup batter into each ring. You want the rings roughly 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with a light dusting of cornmeal. Turn down the heat slightly, you want it no hotter than 300º, and if in doubt, lower is better than higher. Cook the muffins for about 12 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and the tops no longer look wet. Flip, then cook for about another 12 minutes. If it looks like your muffins will be too dark in 12 minutes of cooking, your griddle is too hot. When both sides are a nice golden brown, and the muffin is springy, not yielding to the touch, remove from the heat. When cool enough to handle, pop them out of the rings, and let cool completely . Split with a fork to enhance the nooks and crannies.