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homemade sourdough english muffins

September 22, 2012

sourdough english muffins

I grew up calling them muffin splits. I get blank looks when I use that term here though. And apparently it doesn’t exist on google. Why does New Zealand take a normal thing, like an English Muffin and give it a new name? Kinda just makes us look stupid. Thanks Quality Bakers.

I use to devour these after school, with melting butter and Mãnuka honey filling the grooves of the freshly split, lightly toasted muffin.

just waiting for butter to melt into the grooves

I have fond memories of Saturday mornings in winter, driving through the drive-thru at McDonalds on the way home from netball where mum would treat me to a Bacon & Egg McMuffin. Being on the breakfast menu they were only available until 10am, and one Saturday morning our game finished later than usual. We ‘drove thru’ only to find the breakfast menu had finished. I probably threw a tantrum (I was one of those kids..) and you know what my mum did? She took me home and made her own. A lightly toasted muffin split, shaved ham – lightly pan fried, a perfectly poached egg to erupt when cut into, and a thin slice of cheese just softening on the warm muffin. A McMummy, as we affectionally called it.

We never went back through that drive-thru.

ham & egg mcmummy

I started up a sourdough again recently (my last one in New Zealand went strong for about 3 months) since stumbling upon Sourdough Surprises. The girls behind the blog walk you through the process of starting out your own sourdough, and each month hold a challenge for using the sourdough in a bread of some sort. This month it was English Muffins, and although I have been using sourdough in our usual loaves of bread and tortillas, I thought I’d use this opportunity to try something new and put the wild yeast to the test.

the sourdough bubbling away for english muffins

They were hugely successful and, although I adored the commercial muffin splits (especially the spiced fruit ones!) as a child, the taste and the texture of these is a whole different story – far better than how I remember them.

Fluffy centres, holes for the butter to pool in, cornmeal on the pan fried outsides, a solid bite, and a distinct flavor. The sourdough flavor is evident – it creates a wonderful tang and quite a chew. These are hearty muffin splits –  a far cry from the white cardboard that commercial muffin splits seem to resemble these days.

Sourdough English Muffins
Recipe adapted from that found on Baking Bites
Makes 8 large muffins

Note: this recipe requires preparation. The levain (sourdough and flour) will need about 8 hours of rest time. Overnight, or during work is a good time to let it sit. On return from work, simply cut the dough, pan fry, and enjoy McMummies for dinner.

1/2 cup sourdough starter (I fed mine the night before and left it to bubble on the bench before using it in the morning)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
cornmeal to sprinkle

In a large bowl combine the starter, water and 2 cups of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 or so hours.

To the bubbling levain, add the baking soda, salt, and sugar and gradually add in the remaining 1 cup of flour, a little at a time until the dough loses its stickiness. Do not overflour – it should still be a little tacky. Knead for about 5 minutes to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll until about 1/2″ thick.

Use a lightly floured biscuit cutter (or an empty tin can) and cut the dough into as many rounds as possible. Sprinkle cornmeal over a baking tray, and arrange the circles of dough on top. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cornmeal, cover with a dishtowel, and leave to rise for 45 minutes. *

Heat a lightly oiled skillet over high heat until very hot, then reduce the temperature to medium-high. Cook the muffins on each side for 5 minutes, turning only once. The muffins will reach a light or medium brown color on both the tops and bottoms. Make sure the sides start to look a little dry, like pancake, before flipping. Cool completely and, as I recently learnt, use a fork to create holes around the edge of the muffins and gently pull apart to split.

*Mine didn’t rise much, well barely at all, at this stage. I thought my yeast had died, yet as soon as they hit the hot pan they puffed up beautifully and turned out perfect. Whether yours rise during this time or not, don’t panic.

Note: Flavor them as you wish – add grated cheese for savory muffins, or, as I will try next time, a mix of spices and dried fruit for sweet breakfast muffins.

english muffins

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2012 7:49 pm

    So glad you posted! Your “muffin splits” look fantastic and and how good does that McMummy sound! Mine didn’t rise very much either when they were resting, but they definitely did in the pan. Cheese sounds like a great addition to the dough as well.

    • September 22, 2012 7:55 pm

      And PS, your photos are beautiful. So simple but just stunning.

      • September 22, 2012 9:09 pm

        Oh Korena thank you! I was just thinking the same about your last post – you inspired me to get my post up while is was still September! These are so blimmin’ good with sourdough. Unfortunately don’t think I can ever go back to Quality Bakers ones anymore!

      • September 23, 2012 9:05 pm

        Luckily these freeze really well so you can always have a supply of homemade on hand ;)

  2. September 23, 2012 5:52 am

    I love egg muffins – but I make them myself, never had one from McDonald’s. They are so lovely. Sourdough muffins are definitely something I have to try!

  3. September 26, 2012 3:39 pm

    I am so glad you decided to bake with us! Your english muffins turned out fabulously!! We always make breakfast sandwiches out of ours, too! We would love for you to add your link on our linky thingy (haha) http://www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com/2012/09/sourdough-english-muffins.html.
    Love your photography, so simple, so stunning! :)

    • September 26, 2012 7:23 pm

      Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement! I love your sourdough ideas and would love to join you again :)

  4. September 26, 2012 3:46 pm

    WOW – your English muffins are gorgeous!! And I’m with you – I don’t think we’ll be buying them from the store ever again!! Your egg muffin looks so delicious – make me wish it were breakfast time! Amazing job and thank you so much for baking with us!!

  5. September 26, 2012 10:50 pm

    Your muffins look perfect – so impressed! Oh – McMummies – I’d forgotten…

    • September 27, 2012 9:32 pm

      How could you forget Mummy. You will be making them for my kids after their Sat morning sports games!

  6. September 27, 2012 3:14 pm

    These look like real quality muffins (unlike the Quality Bakers’ ones which tend to have a stodginess about them, I think). I’m a Scot living in NZ – your website is lovely. I think I may have to try making English muffins but I am scared of two words – starter dough?!

    • September 27, 2012 9:30 pm

      You site is lovely too! I see you went to the NZ bloggers conference – how neat. I would love to attend when we are back in NZ again. Sourdough is super simple – just requires a little love. There are lots of good recipes out there. Serious Eats has a great walk through on the process, and the one linked here for Sourdough Surprises website is great too.

      In saying that, the muffin splits I made last time, without sourdough, were just as awesome. Give them a go!

  7. peasepudding permalink
    September 28, 2012 11:34 pm

    I love English muffins and I like the idea of using a sourdough starter instead

  8. Amanda permalink
    September 20, 2013 2:14 pm

    Love this recipe! Made them last night after seeing all your great posts via Sourdough Surprises and they were perfect. I subbed in half kefir for the water, but that’s about it. These were way easier than using the rings too (which I have, but the dough always seems to stick to). Can’t wait to make them into a sausage and egg sandwich, yum!

    • September 20, 2013 7:55 pm

      Hey Amanda – that’s so neat to hear! They are heavier than english muffins made with commercial yeast – but a much better flavour!

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