Sourdough English Muffin Recipe

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4.64 from 19 votes

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Put that sourdough starter to good use and make your own sourdough English muffins from scratch, with all the nooks and crannies you love about the store-bought ones!

sourdough english muffins on a cooling rack

Raise your hand if you started a sourdough starter during stay-at-home orders.

Ok, now raise your other hand if you haven’t made anything with it other than a loaf of sourdough bread, if that.

Mmmkay, so there may be some of you with one hand up, probably very likely two, and you two-handers is who I’m here for today.

sourdough english muffins on a cooling rack

Everyone else, I’m here for you, too… But if you’ve yet to actually use the sourdough starter you so enthusiastically brought to fruition, today is your day, one thousand percent.

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But before I get to the goods, we’ve got to establish a couple of things, and the first thing on that list is addressing exactly what a sourdough starter is, for those of you who may not actually know or those of you who got here and are like “uhh… A what?”

WHAT IS A SOURDOUGH STARTER?

A sourdough starter is a living culture of naturally occurring yeast and bacteria that you can use to leaven, or give rise to, bread.

You can purchase a starter or start one yourself from scratch, which is what manyyyy folks decided to do in the last few months because HELLO, stuck inside and HELLO, fun.

sourdough english muffins on a cooling rack in the background of a sourdough english muffin sitting on a white plate

Cultivating a starter from scratch is fairly simple and straightforward, and the basic principle involves combining flour and water.

Because there are naturally occurring yeast and bacteria already present in flour and in the air, adding water to the flour + bacteria allows the bacteria to begin feeding on the starches in the flour.

sourdough english muffin on a cooling rack

This is called fermentation, and by feeding fresh flour + water to this combination, we can create a strong culture of wild yeast that can then be used in place of traditional dry yeast to leaven our bread.

If you are looking for a good tutorial on how to make a sourdough starter, my friend Kristin has a wonderful one.

She also has an awesome video that covers all the ins and outs of what’s happening in a starter and why we do certain things throughout the process of cultivating and maintaining a starter, which I’ve included below.

YouTube video

My sourdough starter, Carly, was born on January 6, 2020! And you can follow along in my Insta highlight to watch her go from nothing to everything.

So Carly is who I’m working with in these photos. Say hiiiiiiii!

sourdough starter in a glass jar

Though I did make many sourdough loaves with my starter, I really wanted to do something different, and I also wanted to present other recipes for those of you out there looking to use your sourdough starters in something else, too.

Because as much as we loveeeee sourdough loaves in this house, we don’t need one every week.

Enter: my sourdough English muffin recipe.

aerial photo of sourdough english muffins on cooling rack

Sourdough English Muffin Ingredients

As far as bread making goes, this recipe is pretty straightforward. While we aren’t using any traditional yeast, we’ll still be using a portion of our starter as the leavening component, and nothing in the rest of the recipe is out of the ordinary.

For these sourdough English muffins, you’ll need 80 grams of a fed starter, which is a little more than 1/3 of a cup.

Remember, you don’t want to use up all of your starter, so make sure you feed your starter enough food so that you are left with enough for a feed the next day.

  • fed sourdough starter
  • warm water
  • all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • egg
  • salt
  • corn meal

How to Make Sourdough English Muffins?

You’ll want to feed your starter about 8 to 10 hours before you want to start your dough. We’re looking to use a portion of the starter when it’s nice and bubbly and active.

STEP #1 In a large bowl, whisk together the starter and the water until starter is dissipated. Add the flour, sugar, butter, egg, and salt and stir to combine. Once the dough becomes less sticky, use your hands to bring everything together to form a shaggy dough.

feeding a sourdough starter in a glass jar

STEP #2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough becomes smooth (about 5-8 minutes).

STEP #3 Coat the bowl with oil or nonstick spray, then place the dough back into the bowl, turning and flipping it to coat it. Cover bowl with a kitchen cloth and set in a warm spot until doubled in volume, approximately 3-4 hours.

STEP #4 When you are ready to work with the dough again, dust a baking sheet generously with corn meal. Set aside.

STEP #5 Dust your surface with more flour and a little corn meal. Gently roll the dough out to about ½ inch (1.5cm) thickness. Using a 3 inch (8cm) cookie cutter or rim of a glass, cut out rounds of dough. You can gently re-roll the dough one time to cut more circles, but refrain from working the dough too much or it will become too tough. You should get about 8-10 rounds of dough.

STEP #6 Place the cut rounds on the dusted pan and cover with plastic film. Let rounds sit in a warm spot until they have puffed up slightly, about 1 hour.

sourdough english muffin dough sitting on a baking sheet with cornmeal ready to cook

STEP #7 When you are ready to cook the muffins, pre-heat a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Place 2-3 muffins in the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip the muffins to cook the other side, about 3-4 additional minutes, or until an instant-read digital thermometer reads 190ºF (88ºC) inside each muffin. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and continue with remaining muffins.

spatula flipping over a sourdough english muffin in a skillet

Crack ’em open with a fork, just like you would a classic English muffin, and you’re on your way to a delightful little piece of heaven straight from the sourdough gods.

Aren’t they so cute, too?

Sourdough English Muffin Recipe Tips

  1. Be sure you’re using a fed starter. This is not a discard recipe. If you’re looking for discard recipes, check out my collection of 40+ sourdough discard recipes.
  2. If your dough doesn’t seem to be rising, let it rise for another hour or so in a warmer spot or environment. Sourdough can be sluggish, especially in a cooler climate or kitchen.
  3. Make sure your pan isn’t too warm when you go to cook the muffins. They can burn easily and you only want them browned, not burned, and to allow for the insides to cook fully.
stack of sourdough english muffins on a cooling rack

We were in love with these sourdough English muffins. The slight tang was perfect for slathering with butter, jam, or almond butter, and we had a few sandwiches on them, too.

It was so fun to use my starter for something other than a traditional sourdough loaf, and I think this recipe has put a lightbulb in my head to experiment with more recipes that use starter in place of traditional yeast.

So tell me– will you be making your own sourdough English muffins? Sticking to your basic sourdough loaves? Have you been inspired to start a starter if you don’t already have one?

sourdough english muffin cut and on a white plate with butter melting on it

Don’t forget to tag me on Insta (@freshaprilflours / #freshaprilflours) so I can see your starters in use!

Sourdough English Muffins: Put that sourdough starter to good use and make your own sourdough English muffins from scratch, with all the nooks and crannies you love about the store-bought ones!
4.64 from 19 votes
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Sourdough English Muffins

Put that sourdough starter to good use and make your own sourdough English muffins from scratch, with all the nooks and crannies you love about the store-bought ones!
Prep Time15 minutes
Bake Time8 minutes
Resting Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours 23 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 8 muffins

Ingredients

  • 80 grams fed sourdough starter (100% hydration) a little more than ⅓ cup
  • ½ cup (120g) warm water
  • 2 and ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoon salt
  • corn meal for rolling/dusting pan

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the starter and the water until starter is dissipated. Add the flour, sugar, butter, egg, and salt and stir to combine. Once the dough becomes less sticky, use your hands to bring everything together to form a shaggy dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough becomes smooth (about 5-8 minutes).
  • Coat the bowl with oil or nonstick spray, then place the dough back into the bowl, turning and flipping it to coat it. Cover bowl with a kitchen cloth and set in a warm spot until doubled in volume, approximately 3-4 hours.
  • When you are ready to work with the dough again, dust a baking sheet generously with corn meal. Set aside.
  • Dust your surface with more flour and a little corn meal. Gently roll the dough out to about ½ inch (1.5cm) thickness. Using a 3 inch (8cm) cookie cutter or rim of a glass, cut out rounds of dough. You can gently re-roll the dough one time to cut more circles, but refrain from working the dough too much or it will become too tough. You should get about 8-10 rounds of dough.
  • Place the cut rounds on the dusted pan and cover with plastic film. Let rounds sit in a warm spot until they have puffed up slightly, about 1 hour.
  • When you are ready to cook the muffins, pre-heat a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Place 2-3 muffins in the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip the muffins to cook the other side, about 3-4 additional minutes, or until an instant-read digital thermometer reads 190ºF (88ºC) inside each muffin. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and continue with remaining muffins.
  • When you are able to handle the muffins, they are ready to eat. Score around the perimeter with a fork to separate, or cut carefully with a serrated knife. Store muffins covered at room temperature up to 5 days. Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator or at room temperature.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 2mg
4.64 from 19 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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48 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    5 STARS – I got two great things from here: 1. A great recipe for English Muffins. 2. The idea to name my starter. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I CAN make English Muffins!

  2. Hello,

    The muffins look light and airy. Instead of hand kneading can you use the dough hook on the mixer?

  3. Sounds like a great recipe. Can I put the muffins in the fridge before baking for the night instead of placing them in a warm place for an hour? I would love to prep it in the evening and have fresh muffins in the morning. Thanks

  4. 5 stars
    Made these last night and turned them into egg and bacon sandwiches for my family this morning! They turned out perfectly and were much easier than I thought! My kids LOVED them.

  5. I love the English muffins! I’m a long time cook., The family Matriarch but never a baker. I am having a great time with Celeste ( my starter). She was gifted to me by a young friend. I’m making breads including heb breads and rye.

  6. 5 stars
    I messed up my timing a little and ended up having to put the dough in the refrigerator overnight before rolling and cutting, so when I took it out this morning to let it rise, it took way longer than I expected, and I was a little dubious as to how they were going to turn out. I shouldn’t of worried though, because they were turned out perfectly! They’re so fluffy inside, they’ve got all the little nooks and things, and I’m definitely making this recipe again. I think it’ll turn out even better if I don’t refrigerate the dough first!

    1. I’m so happy to hear this, Lauren! Sourdough can be finicky but it can also be really forgiving. Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  7. 4 stars
    These are delicious! Only thing I struggled with was some spots burning before they could fully cook. Tips?

  8. I’m trying these today for my first ever attempt at using my sourdough starter! I am excited and nervous! This seemed like a good, easy, beginner recipe. I can’t wait to sift through the rest of your good-looking recipes!

  9. 5 stars
    These are amazing! I’ve mDe so much with my starter since it was gifted to me a couple months ago. My family lives off sourdough bread now rather than store bread….I love it! Question: I want to make a batch of these for my sister but she’s vegan. What can I do to replace the egg?

    1. Hi, Jennie– I’m so glad you enjoy this recipe! Believe it or not you can use 1/4 carbonated water or 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon oil (source: my friend Amanda at iambaker.net). Let me know how it turns out!

    1. Bummer to hear that, Anthony! You can see these have had several positive reviews. Not sure where it went wrong.

    1. Hi, Amber– they won’t rise a ton, because they are supposed to be rather thin and will puff up when baked. I would not get rid of the dough and just proceed. However, if you’re really concerned about it, you may just need a warmer environment for rising.

  10. I’m in the middle of making these, following all directions perfectly (I thought), but I haven’t really gotten much rise and I’m not sure why. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi, Bethany– they won’t rise a ton, because they are meant to still be pretty thin. I’m not sure which step you’re at, but they will puff up more when you pan bake them.

    1. Hi, Ann– you can pop it in the fridge in step 3. When you are ready to let it rise and work with it again, resume with step 3 and let it rise at room temperature. Hope that helps!

  11. 4 stars
    I real looked forward to making this recipe, something different to use my starter with besides bread. My dough was very heavy and dry once I mixed all the ingredients together. I did keep going. I cut out the muffins toilet the rise. They never really rised. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Hi, Tracy– sourdough takes a LONG time to rise, and especially in cold weather, it can have a harder time. It’s possible you just didn’t have a warm enough environment for them. I’d try putting them closer to a heat source next time. In the winter, I let my breads (sourdough and traditional yeast) rise covered on the floor near a heating vent.

  12. Hi! I’m new to having a sourdough starter and haven’t gotten a big rise out of the dough from this recipe. I see below you said it may not rise a lot. But also, once I made the 3 inch cuts and let them sit one more hour, they rose in height but shrunk in diameter.. not sure what I did wrong? They came out small and a dense but at least they still taste great!

    1. Hi, Rebekah– it sounds like you may not have kneaded your dough enough to encourage gluten development. Under-kneading is usually the culprit when the result is dense. Hope that helps!

  13. 4 stars
    Are we supposed to grease the pan before we cook them? It doesn’t say in the article or in the recipe that I can find.

    1. Hi, Sarah– I would not advise leaving them out. Definitely refrigerate covered until you need the dough!