The English Muffin found its way on to the American table more than 135 years ago when entrepreneur Samuel Bath Thomas moved to America from Plymouth, England. The flat, yeast-leavened “muffin” that was baked on a griddle was a Thomas’ version of the popular bread that was peddled door to door in the early morning in 19th century England, hence the “muffin man”. Though the introduction in America of the English Muffin is attributed to Samuel Thomas, he was likely very familiar with the local bread before he moved to America from Plymouth in 1875. In 1880, Thomas opened his first bakery in New your City calling his new breakfast treat an English Muffin to distinguish it from the more cake like American muffins.
Using a sourdough culture as the leavening for English Muffins lends itself perfectly to the distinctive flavor and texture often missing in traditional yeast leavened breads. You are sure to enjoy these easy to make, delicious Sourdough English Muffins. Just remember to feed your starter culture about 8-12 hours before you are ready to make these.
Using a sourdough starter gives these English Muffins the flavor boost often missing in homemade versions.
Remember to prepare your needed starter the night before.
- ¾ cup sourdough starter
- 2-2 ½ cups of freshly milled flour (I used hard white)
- ¾ cup milk
- 4 Tablespoons freshly ground cornmeal (I used white popcorn)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Cornmeal for sprinkling
The night before or about 6-8 hours ahead, in a medium bowl, combine starter, ¾ cup of flour and milk. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.
The next day, add cornmeal, salt, baking soda and 1 – 1 ½ cups of flour until a soft dough forms. Knead 2-3 minutes on a floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky.
Roll out to about a 3/8 inch thickness and cut with desired sized biscuit cutter. Lightly sprinkle parchment or wax paper or mat with cornmeal. Place muffins on the prepared paper, turning to lightly coat both sides with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in warm place until light, or for about 1 hour.
Preheat electric griddle or fry pan or skillet to 275F. Lightly grease the griddle. Using a spatula carefully lift the muffins onto the griddle. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan to cooling rack. To serve, split cooled muffins and toast.