The summer wind is gently rustling the leaves in the trees, and the puffy clouds are quietly moving across the sky. It’s four o’clock, and time for afternoon tea. What’s waiting for you is lovely black tea with warm milk and sugar and toasted English muffins. You are just waiting to slather the muffins in butter and jam. This is my sourdough English muffins recipe.
You may think that English muffins are quintessential English, but they were invented in America. What’s eaten for afternoon tea in England is crumpets.
Americans eat large amounts of English muffins daily, but most are from factories. Like almost anything else, making them at home makes them so much better.
Luckily, this recipe for sourdough English muffins is both simple and easy to make.
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The history of English muffins
While English muffins sound like something that comes out of England. they are an American invention. An English emigrant invented them by the name of Samuel Bath Thomas.
He had a New York City bakery where he’d make the muffins using his mother’s recipe around 1880.
The muffins were soft and spongy, just like a regular cake-type muffin, but were cooked on a griddle instead of the oven.
They were pre-cut, so they could easily be pulled apart using your hands. That gave them their toastable surface with lots of “nooks and crannies.” After that, the term fork-split became the description for this way of dividing the muffin.
The company that Thomas founded still exists today and is one of the biggest brands in the United States.
In America, they said that English muffins are called muffins in England. While that’s a great story, it is simply not true.
The regular muffin may be referred to as American-style muffins or sweet muffins in England. Although commonly, the word muffin is used for both kinds.
The dough in this sourdough english muffins recipe
It’s a slightly enriched dough used for these sourdough English muffins.: milk is used as the liquid, and a bit of sugar is added.
The flour used is all-purpose flour with about 11% protein, so the muffins are still pretty soft and not chewy.
I have estimated the hydration of the dough at about 68%. I have used my new system in the Bread Calculator to estimate hydration when using fluids other than water. A pretty wet dough.
The salt content is at about 2%. That is pretty much the standard for any bread.
|200g||skim milk (0.5%)||69.0%|
|100g||starter (100% hydration)||34.5%|
You can play around with the recipe or scale it here in my Bread Calculator.
The conclusion of this sourdough english muffins recipe
These English muffins are as close to perfection as you can get.
Deliciously caramelized, soft and fluffy, slightly tangy.
When split into halves using a fork, they toast up perfectly with all the nooks and crannies.
You can freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. You can defrost them in the fridge or give them a minute in the microwave on the defrost setting. Then they are ready for toasting.
What are you waiting for? Make these.
Sourdough english muffins recipe ideas
My perfect use for an English muffin is for Egg Benedict. Follow the link for my recipe for perfect eggs benedict.
The rest of this section is different ideas on how to use your sourdough English muffins. Be prepared to be amazed.
English Muffin Huevos Rancheros – Mexican style
Split the muffin and toast them.
Heat some refried beans in the microwave and add them to the muffins.
Add half a chopped avocado on top.
Fry two eggs sunny side up to perfection and place them on top of the muffins. Season with salt and pepper, and add salsa until your heart is content.
Smoked Salmon English Muffin – Scandinavian style
Split the muffin and toast them.
Beat an egg with a dash of milk and season with salt and pepper.
Scramble the egg. Add to each muffin.
Top with rocket and some fresh dill. Top with smoked salmon.
Drizzle the salmon with fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
English Muffin Pizza – Italian style
Halve the muffin.
Top with tomato sauce, chopped artichoke hearts, some baby spinach leaves and, fresh basil, a good slice of fresh mozzarella.
Bake in the oven at 180C/350F for about 12 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
English Muffin Hawaiian Pizza – Pizza heretic style
Split the muffin, and add tomato sauce to each slice.
Top with grated mozzarella cheese and chopped pineapple.
Sprinkle with oregano.
Bake in the oven at 180C/350F for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
English Muffin Panini – Italian style
Split the muffin.
Top each muffin with green pesto.
Add slices of goat’s cheese to each muffin.
Put a thick slice of tomato on each muffin.
Prepare on a grill pan (by weighing them down a smaller skillet), or if you are lucky enough to have a panini press, you should use that.
Cinnamon Sugar English Muffin – American style #1
Mix cinnamon sugar and butter.
Split the muffin and spread butter on both muffins.
Bake in the oven at 180C/350F for about 10 minutes.
English Muffin French Toast – American style #2
Mix 50 ml/¼ cup milk with 1 tsp of sugar and some vanilla.
Split the muffin and soak both halves in the mixture.
Heat a skillet with a good amount of oil.
Brown the muffins in the skillet for 30 seconds on each side.
Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, and fresh berries.
Peanut Butter Cup English Muffin – American style #3
Split the muffin and toast it.
Add a good amount of your favorite peanut butter on each half.
Top with a dollop of honey.
Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top.
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This is my recipe for sourdough English muffins. If you like the recipe, please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.
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Sourdough English Muffins Recipe
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- Tea towel
- Non-stick skillet with cover
- 8 cm/3 inch round cutter
- 290 g all-purpose flour
- 200 g milk
- 100 g sourdough starter well fed and risen to its peak
- 15 g sugar
- 6 g table salt
- 40 g cornmeal
Make the dough
- Add 290 grams of flour, 15 grams of sugar and 6 grams of table salt to a bowl.
- Mix it well with your hands.
- Then add 200 grams of milk and 100 grams of sourdough starter.
- Then mix it until it comes together.
- Once it gets too stiff, move the dough to your kitchen counter. Knead it until you've incorporated all the flour into the dough.
- Then cover the dough and leave to ferment for 8 hours. If it’s hot you may want to shorten that time.
Shape the muffins
- Grab a baking sheet lined with parchment paper when you've finished fermenting the dough. Dust the parchment with cornflour or semolina.
- Flour your kitchen counter liberally and dump the dough out onto the counter.
- Start flattening the dough and tease it out into a square. It should be about 1 cm/half an inch thick.
- Use a 8 cm/3 inch round cutter to cut muffins out of the dough. Put the muffins onto the baking sheet. Press the rest of the dough out and cut it into muffins.
- You should be able to make about 10 of them out of this dough.
- Sprinkle the dough with more cornflour. Cover the sheet with a dish towel and let the muffins rise for an hour.
Cook the muffins
- Put a pan on medium-high heat and let it come up to temperature.
- Put as many muffins as you can so that they don’t touch each other
- Put a lid over the top so that the muffins can steam themselves.
- Cook for about 7-10 minutes until the muffins are golden brown.
- Then take off the lid and flip the muffins over and cook them for 7-10 minutes on the other side.
- Put the muffins on a wire rack and let them cool.
Hi Sune, thankyou so much for your wonderful recipe. In case I mix it and leave it to proof overnight which means about 10 hrs should I put the dough in the fridge ? Will that help in slowing it down? So I can then cook them for breakfast at 8 am.
Yes, leave it out for at least 5 hours and then you can put the dough in the fridge until you need it 🙂
“In America, they said that English muffins are simply called muffins in the England. While that’s a great story, it is simply not true.”
We do call them muffins, they aren’t crumpets, and I’ve eaten them all my life. Still on sale in all good supermarkets.
The usage of muffin, meaning a flatbread, goes back to at least 1703 in England.
There is also the children’s nursery song, The Muffin Man, and it is talking about the flatbread. I certainly understood that to be what I was singing about as a child in the 1960s.
So as an Englishman, I think, like the Americans, that Mr Samuel Bath Thomas was recreating for local consumption the flatbread long known as a muffin in England, and his name for it was quite accurate.
But linguistically the situation is unsustainable. The American muffin has now massively overtaken the flatbread muffin in popularity in England, probably 20 or 30 years ago. It is now also known as a muffin, unspecified. Some people now sell the flatbread muffin under some newly invented name like “toasting muffin”, or even “English muffin”, to avoid confusion. I suspect this is why your research turned up only American muffins when you tried finding out what English people ate as muffins.
It’s messy, like most other things in life. People will find a way of communicating about it.
Thanks for your insights 🙂
Sine, can you leave out the sugar?
You can. It make be a little less moist 🙂