Whole Wheat Sourdough English Muffins

by Lauren Matthies


I said I can be obsessive, right?  Well, even though Henry and I are definitely in the throws of a (his first) cold, we had to keep playing with our sourdough starter, so this morning was English muffin day.

Like the pancakes, these require a night before start too.  Mix together your starter, milk, and whole wheat flour.  I decided that after 3 weeks, my starter is ready for storage in the refrigerator.  It has grown strong enough and I can't keep up with the discard without throwing it away.  So, I took my discard from this evening's feeding and used it for the muffins and then fed my starter and put it the the refrigerator.

After mixing all my ingredients, I noticed that the dough was a little dry and not coming together all the way.  I decided to add an extra 1/3 a cup of milk and once I mixed it together it was very moist (see below).  Depending upon the amount of hydration in your starter you may need more or less milk.  I started with 2 cups and then ended up with 2 1/3 cups.  If you add the milk slowly, just add enough to get a consistency similar to this:

I used organic nonfat milk, but I would think you could use any type of milk, even nondairy.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out.  

Cover and leave out overnight (at room temperature).

The next morning, stir in the honey, salt, and baking soda.  I mixed it just a little bit with a spoon and then went to my hands. I wanted to kneed it a little bit anyways, and mixing while kneeding with my hands was easier.  It was still very moist.

From here, take your dough and flatten it out until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick.  I used my hands for this and only flattened a bit at a time.  I would flatten, cut out some muffins, combine the dough, flatten again, cut out some more, and repeat until all the dough was used.  I ended up having enough extra for 1 to 2 more muffins, but just tossed it because I didn't have space or time.  I ended up with 24 muffins total.  You can always half the recipe if you want less.  I made more so that I could freeze them (I'll talk about storage a little later).

To cut my muffins, I used the top of a drinking class.  Feel free to use a glass, a cookie cutter, or a biscuit cutter.

After cutting all your muffins put them on a baking sheet lined with cornmeal, cover, and let them rise for 45 minutes to an hour.  My second batch rose a little longer because I was making my first.  They ended up slightly thicker.  I am not sure if that was due to the longer rise or the fact that I cooked them at a slightly lower temperature on the griddle (I think the latter because they looked the same post-rise, pre-griddle).

To bake them, spray your griddle and heat it to a medium high temperature.  My first batch I baked at about 350 degrees.  My second one I started around 300 and then turned it up after a while.

I cooked them for between 3-5 minutes before flipping the first time, but went back and forth a couple times for a total of about 6-10 minutes on each side.  My main concern was making sure the inside was cooked.  It definitely looked softer then the tops and bottoms, but that's what you want.  To test, I used my finger nail to "knock" on each side of the muffin until I had a nice tap and hollow sound.  I also cut one open when  I thought they were done to check.

Here's some more pictures of the cooking process.  You may be able to see that my second batch is slightly thicker.

I ate two right off the bat while they were still warm.  I also plan to make little almond butter and jelly sandwiches with them and try mini English muffin pizzas.  

I read that English muffins are supposed to be cut open with a fork rather than a knife, so I did that.  I cut each one, wrapped them individually in aluminum foil, and then put them in a freezer storage bag.  English muffins are known for freezing well, so I am keeping them there (with a couple left at room temperature).

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup starter
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Cornmeal for dusting

Instructions:

  1. The night before, mix your starter, milk, and flour.  Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next morning, mix in the honey, salt, and baking soda and kneed until a dough forms.
  3. Dust two baking pans with cornmeal.
  4. Spread out the dough into a 3/4 inch thick sheet and cut dough into 24-26 round biscuit shapes.
  5. Place your biscuit rounds onto the cornmeal dusted baking sheets, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Heat your greased griddle to a medium high temperature.
  7. Place English muffins onto griddle and cook until browned on both sides and cooked in middle (approximately 7 minutes on each side)
  8. Cut muffins in half with a fork, and either store or serve.