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Bread Baking: Sourdough English Muffins Recipe

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Sourdough starter discard can always be put to good use. Here it forms the flavor backbone of these easy, tender English muffins, adding a subtle sour tang that’s absolutely perfect with melted butter.

Why It Works

  • Bread flour contributes to an open crumb and those coveted nooks and crannies.
  • Sourdough starter lends a pleasant tangy flavor to the English muffins.

There’s something about the way butter melts into the nooks and crannies of English muffins, soaking between the crispy toasted bits into the soft interior. When you add leftover sourdough starter to the dough, English muffins get even better. That hint of tang is the perfect foil to sweet jelly, but still pairs well with cream cheese or peanut butter.

There are two basic methods for making English muffins. One is to make a dough, roll it out, cut it in rounds like you would for biscuits, and then bake it. The other is to prepare a batter-like dough that’s cooked on a griddle like a pancake, which is what this recipe calls for (you can find our griddle recommendations here). To keep the batter from spreading, you’ll need English muffin rings, round metal cookie cutters, or biscuit cutters. Or if you’re the DIY type, you can always cut the top and bottom out of small round cans, like the type that water chestnuts come in.

To get the proper craggy surface, split the English muffins open with a fork rather than cut them before you toast them. Simply insert the fork into the side of the muffin, going all the way around the circumference until it splits open, and you’ll have that perfect uneven interior.

  • 8 ounces bread flour (1 1/2 cups; 225g)
  • 8 ounces (1 cup; 225g) warm water, between 110°F-115°F
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup; 115g) leftover sourdough starter (unfed/discard, see note)
  • 1 ounce non-fat dry milk powder (1/4 cup; 30g)
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons; 30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 ounce granulated sugar (1 tablespoon; 15g)
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • Non-stick cooking spray, for greasing ring molds
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, water, sourdough starter, milk powder, butter, sugar, salt, and yeast until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until batter has roughly doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

  2. Heat griddle on medium heat (see note). Spray the inside of eight 3 1/2-inch English muffin rings or round ring molds with non-stick cooking spray and place on griddle. Without stirring the batter, use a 1/3 measuring cup to evenly portion it into the rings. Cover rings with a baking sheet, reduce heat to low, and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.

  3. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs to hold rings in place, slide a spatula underneath muffins and flip over to cook other side. Cover again, and cook 5 minutes longer.

  4. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs, remove rings from muffins and set aside. Using a spatula, transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Split English muffins by hand or with a fork. If desired, toast before serving.

Special equipment

Stovetop or electric griddle; 3 1/2-inch ring molds, English muffin rings, or other round metal form


You can use unfed/discarded starter that has been kept at room temperature or straight from the refrigerator. To read more about discarding, feeding, and maintaining a sourdough starter, please see our guide here.

If you don’t have an electric griddle, you can use a heavy-bottomed non-stick 10-inch skillet or a 10-inch cast iron pan. Using either option, you can make four muffins at a time.

Make-Ahead and Storage

English muffins are best served the same day. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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