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Due to my love of sourdough, I've been wanting to make a sourdough version of English muffins for quite some time, but it's been one of those projects I just haven't gotten to.
However, when I finally made them for brunch a few months ago, I realized it's far from a “project.” It's just about the easiest bread baking I've ever done!
Making English muffins requires no oven and uses the “discarded” starter left over from your nightly sourdough feeding. (I'm always looking for ways to use the extra starter, since I don't want to actually throw it away. Hello… sustainable living, anyone?)
And these are scrumptious, especially slathered with butter and jam. Once you've made a batch, you'll want to make them again and again. Sourdough English muffins are homey comfort food at its best.
Oh, and I'm listing several of the ingredients by weight, merely because I find it's the best way to keep the results consistent, but the volume measurements certainly work as well.
Sourdough English Muffins
Makes approximately 18 muffins
For the sponge:
150 g (~ 1 1/2 cups) sourdough starter
260 g (~1 3/4 cups) spelt flour (if using all-purpose flour, use slightly more)
275 g (~1 1/8 cups) whole milk
For the dough:
100 g (~7/8 cup) spelt flour (if using all-purpose flour, use slightly less)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon raw honey
First make the sponge: In a medium glass or Pyrex bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sponge. The mixture will be rather shaggy. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 6-12 hours.
Make the muffins: Scrape the sponge into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and add the remaining dough ingredients. Alternatively, to mix by hand, combine everything in the bowl with the sponge. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes on low speed until the dough is very soft but no longer sticky.
(Optional: If you want extra nooks and crannies in your English muffins, let the dough rise at this point until it's doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours, then punch down and proceed.)
Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface and pat it until it's about 1/2″ inch thick. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter or decorative cookie cutter and cut the dough into circles. Place the circles on a sheet of parchment paper, silicone liner, or other non-stick surface.
Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat a dry griddle over medium-low heat until it's fully heated, about 5 minutes. Place as many muffins as fit comfortably on the griddle and cook for about 8 minutes, flipping every minute or two. The finished muffins will be nicely browned and the sides will be firm.
Slice with a serrated knife or split them open using a fork to get a more rustic texture.