This Sourdough English Muffins Recipe makes delicious, light, and rich english muffins. Enjoy them with eggs, ham, cheese and bacon for a complete breakfast!
Still don’t have a sourdough starter? Learn how to make your own sourdough culture!
This recipe is very easy to follow. You don’t really need anything but a round cutter to make them and a hot cast iron skillet.
Don’t have a round cutter? Use a glass cup or anything round - or just open the dough and cut them into squares with a sharp knife.
You can also substitute an iron skillet for a normal frying pan.
Active sourdough starter. You'll need an active sourdough starter for this recipe. I've tried making these with my sourdough discard, but the final result were dense, heavy english muffins that didn't really pleased me. I use a 100% hydration starter for this recipe.
Sugar. Use white or brown sugar.
Butter. For this recipe, you can use unsalted or salted butter. Melt it first. This ingredient can be replaced for vegetable or coconut oil for a vegan version.
Milk. I use whole milk, but it can be replaced for partially or skimmed milk. Use any plant-based milk for a vegan english muffin.
All-purpose flour. I usually make this recipe using white all-purpose flour only. If you want to add more fiber to your diet and make it with whole wheat, substitute 1 cup of white flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Don't use whole wheat only: it will make too dense english muffins.
Salt. Use fine sea salt. Don't skip this ingredient, salt plays an important role in fermentation!
Cornmeal. Cornmeal is optional, but using it for dusting will give these english muffins a crunchier texture at bottom and top.
How to make them
The night before:
It’s not difficult at all to make overnight sourdough english muffins! You just need to mix all the ingredients the night before, and then shape the muffins the next morning.
- Make sure your sourdough starter is active. We need an active starter for this recipe. Feed yours about 6 to 8 hours prior to making the dough.
- Make the dough. Use your hands or a stand mixer to mix the dough. You don’t have to knead the dough: just mix until it incorporates all the ingredients and you can't see any dry spot.
- Bulk fermentation. I leave the dough resting overnight outside the fridge during cold winter days. If your place is warm, or it's summer/spring, I recommend storing inside the fridge for an overnight cold fermentation. Make sure to leave the dough outside the fridge for about 2-3 hours (it will rise about 50% of its size), then cover with plastic or beeswax wrap and place inside the fridge for the cold fermentation.
If you’re asking if it’s safe to leave a dough with milk on it outside your fridge for the bulk fermentation: don’t worry, it is. Just make sure your milk is pasteurized.
The next day:
- Check windowpane and rise. Does the dough have a good windowpane? Did it almost double in size? Yay, time to shape your english muffins!
- Open the dough. Use a rolling pin, wine bottle, or your hands. Don’t forget to flour lightly the surface you’re using and press the dough open with your fingers. You can flour with cornmeal to get a crispier exterior.
- For cutting, use a round cutter or a round glass. If you don’t mind not having a round shape, cut them into squares with a sharp knife after opening the dough.
- Second rise/proofing. Place each shaped english muffin on a floured (use cornmeal or all-purpose flour) lined baking sheet for proofing. Second rise takes 1 hour and a half to 2 hours. They will be taller by the end of 2 hours, but won’t exactly double, so don’t worry too much about it. When picking them up, the muffins will feel lighter than before.
- Preheat skillet/frying pan before starting. That’s really important! Don’t start cooking them in a cold pan. Also, cook them over medium-low or low heat. They need 8 minutes on each side for the interior to be well cooked.
Now comes the hard part: wait for them to cool before slicing and toasting!
You don't need to toast an english muffin before eating. However, slicing and toasting your muffin will give it an extra crunch. It will also develop a bit more flavor from the browning.
Tips for success
- Avoid using cold ingredients. Use milk and butter at room temperature. Cold ingredients can make your starter dormant. If that happens, the dough will take significantly longer to ferment/rise;
- Use a 100% hydration starter. That’s a starter made/feed with equal parts of water and flour;
- Always make sure sourdough starter is active before making these english muffins;
- You need to cook sourdough english muffins over low heat or their exterior will burn;
- Always preheat cast iron skillet or frying pan.
One last thing: if you’re afraid 8 minutes on each side is too little, or unsure if you’re using the right temperature, before starting, preheat your oven over 350°F. After cooking 8 minutes each side, place your english muffins into a lined baking sheet and bake for 5 additional minutes.
Storing and freezing
Sourdough English Muffins will keep for 4 to 5 days if stored inside an airtight container on room temperature.
Avoid storing them in the fridge. If you're not eating them right away, prefer freezing to refrigerating any kind of bread. Refrigerating english muffins compromises their flavor and freshness, and will make them dry out quickly.
For freezing, let sourdough english muffins cool completely, then place them inside an airtight container or a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat frozen english muffins, microwave each for 40 seconds, split and toast.
Questions you’ve asked me
Can I make this recipe using whole wheat flour?
Yes, you can! Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour. I don’t recommend substituting all the all-purpose for whole wheat. Doing so might make a denser, tougher sourdough english muffin.
How to get large nooks and crannies when making sourdough english muffins?
For the best nooks and crannies, wait for them to cool and use a fork to split the english muffin: use the fork to poke in a circle all the way around its side and it’s done!
Can I make this recipe using sourdough discard?
I don’t recommend using sourdough discard for this recipe. First time I tried with discard I didn’t get the result I was aiming for. Texture, taste and rise were much better when using an active sourdough starter.
Why my sourdough english muffins didn’t rise?
If the dough didn’t rise after 12 hours, your starter probably wasn’t active enough to be used in a recipe. Remember: you need an active starter for this one. Also, check if you used cold ingredients: they can slow down and even inactivate fermentation.
One more thing: these sourdough english muffins need a second rise after shaped to be extra soft inside and to have a good rise while cooking. Don’t skip it or you might end up with a denser english muffin.
Can I make it vegan?
This recipe can be adapted to a vegan version. Substitute butter for vegan butter, vegetable oil or coconut oil, and cow milk for any plant-based milk.
My english muffins are burning at the bottom, what am I doing wrong?
First, check the temperature. Is it low? The lowest it can get in your stove? Try to switch to a smaller burner.
Now, about your pan: are you using a normal frying pan? Is it too thin? It might influence the final result if you have a very strong/hot stove. Try to use a more heavy-bottom pan to cook them.
What to eat with
Sourdough english muffins are the perfect bread for your mornings! Split in two with a fork for even more nooks and crannies, put on your toaster and spread some butter for a simple delicious breakfast.
These are also the best choice for Eggs Benedict! Toast them, and don’t forget to spread some butter while they’re hot.
Try spreading cream cheese and homemade berry jam: breakfast perfection.
More Bread Recipes for Breakfast
- ⅓ cup (75g) active sourdough starter, 100% hydration
- 1 tbsp (12g) sugar
- 1 tbsp (14g) butter, melted
- 1 cup (240g) milk, room temperature
- 3 cups (380g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (6g) salt
- Make sure your starter is active by checking if it has doubled and if it's bubbly. Perform the floating test to be sure. Add a teaspoon of the starter into a glass full with cold water: if it floats, it’s ready.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
- Mix and knead lightly for about 2 minutes until the dough is formed, with all the ingredients well combined and no dry spots remain visible. Use a stand mixer or your hands to do it.
- Cover the dough with plastic or beeswax wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Store inside the fridge after that time, for 10 to 14 hours. You dough should almost double and pass the windowpane test.
- Flour lightly the surface you’ll be working on your dough. Stretch gently the dough, pressing with your fingers until about 0.5 to 1 inch thick. Don’t make it thicker than 1 inch, or the muffin might not cook properly in the middle.
- Using a round cutter, a glass cup, cut the dough and place the muffins into a floured and lined baking sheet for the second rise. Re-open and cut the remaining scraps. Repeat until there’s no dough left. If you don’t mind the shape and are looking for less work, you can just cut the dough into squares with a sharp knife.
- Cover shaped sourdough muffins with a damp towel or plastic/beeswax wrap and let them rise until light and puffy, 1 hour and a half to 2 hours.
- Preheat a skillet/frying pan. Transfer carefully each muffin to the heated pan and cook them for 8 minutes on each side, on low heat.
- Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool over a cooling rack. Repeat until every sourdough english muffin is cooked.
- After cooled, store english muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- For the best result, open them with a fork and toast before serving.
Don't add cold ingredients to the dough. Work with room temperature ingredients.
You need to cook your sourdough english muffins over low heat or they might burn at the bottoms.
If you're afraid 8 minutes each side is too little, or unsure if you're using the right temperature, before starting preheat your oven over 350°F. After cooking 8 minutes each side, place your muffins into a lined baking sheet and bake for 5 additional minutes.
You can make it vegan: use vegan butter/coconut or vegetable oil, and any plant-based milk.
Making with whole wheat flour: substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g