I recently made English muffins for the very first time, and at that first warm, crunchy, buttery bite, asked myself, "Why did I ever wait so long?"

I suppose I imagined they would be too much of a bother, for something I could pick up from the grocery store easily enough. 

Was I ever wrong. These recipes are all simple, easy and fast (if you don't include the overnight resting times.) This is also a great way to use up that sourdough starter we're still taking care of from our pandemic baking adventures.

So stop buying your English muffins, or just keep these recipes on hand for the next time you run out. 

Sourdough English Muffins Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Little Spoon Farm

I am not a morning person — putting this dough together the night before and only having to rest them while I drink my morning tea, before popping them on the skillet is perfect for my slow-to-rise lifestyle. 

Sourdough English Muffins

Ingredients:

50 grams, or around 1/4 cup active sourdough starter

10 grams, or around 1/2 tablespoon honey

120 grams, or around 1/2 cup milk

180 grams, or around 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

cornmeal for sprinkling

Directions:

Add the starter and the rest of the ingredients (except corn meal) to a large bowl and mix until well combined. Cover and let rest 30 to 60 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes. (A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment can be used on the lowest speed.)

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and let ferment on the counter at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour the top of the dough and press it out using your fingertips until it is 1-inch in thickness. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet that's been sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops with cornmeal, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.

Tip: Don't have a cutter? Split the dough into 5 balls of the same size, then press them gently to 1-inch thickness before resting.

Preheat your non-stick skillet over low heat. Place muffins into the skillet spaced 2 inches apart, cover and cook the first side for 4 minutes. Turn the muffins over and cook for an additional 4 minutes. When done, the center of a muffin should register about 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Makes about 5 muffins.

Note: My stove runs a little low, so I cooked the first couple of muffins over medium-low heat, for 4 minutes each side, keeping them covered, then shifted them to the outer edges of the pan to heat for another 4 minutes while I started the next two muffins. Just keep an eye on your temperatures.

Whole Wheat Sourdough English Muffins

From An Oregon Cottage

These muffins are lovely, dark and malty. It can be slightly more difficult to gauge whether a dough this dark is cooked through, so your thermometer is your best friend with these. 

Sourdough Wheat English Muffins

Ingredients:

For the overnight sponge:

50 grams, or around 1/4 cup sourdough unfed starter (discard)

10 grams, or around 1/2 tablespoon honey

120 grams milk, or about 1/2 cup

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120 grams whole wheat flour, or about a cup

For the muffins: 

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

30 grams, or 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (more for kneading)

cornmeal for sprinkling

Directions:

The night before, mix the starter, honey, milk, and 120 grams of flour in an bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

In the morning, transfer the sponge to the bowl of a mixer (or large mixing bowl to be made by hand). Add the baking soda, salt and half of the rest of the flour. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix together, then switch to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, adding the rest of the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is just tacky to the touch, clears the sides of the bowl, but still sticks to the bottom. If too much dough sticks to your finger when pressed, you can add another tablespoon of flour. If making by hand, stir the ingredients together well, turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes, adding the flour until it's tacky but doesn't stick to your fingers.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times into a round shape — just shape if kneaded by hand. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into rounds with a 3-inch biscuit cutter.

Place the muffin rounds on a baking sheet sprinkled with a dusting of cornmeal. Let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours. 

Heat a griddle to a medium-low setting. Transfer the muffins, one at a time, to the ungreased heated griddle or pan and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on one side. Flip the muffins, flatten slightly with the back of the spatula, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the other side until both sides are nicely browned. Makes about 5 muffins. 

English muffins

English muffins are cooked for 4 to 5 minutes per side on a non-stick pan. 

English Muffins

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Baking Company

Because this recipe uses yeast, these muffins come together the quickest. Just mix and knead in the morning, then they are ready to shape and brown in a couple of hours — no need for an overnight rest. These did take me slightly longer to cook, but I was able to get them up to 200 degrees without burning them and without having to put them in the oven. Slow and steady with these. 

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk

3 tablespoons softened butter

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

semolina flour or farina, for sprinkling the griddle or pan

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients (except the semolina or farina) in a mixing bowl, or the bucket of your bread machine. This is a very soft dough, so you'll need to treat it a bit differently than most yeast doughs. If you have a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny; this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift up the beater, the dough will be very stretchy. If you have a bread machine, simply use the dough cycle, or knead by hand for 5 minutes.

Let the dough rise in a bowl until it's nice and puffy; this will take 1 to 2 hours or so.

Sprinkle your griddle or pan heavily with semolina or farina. If you're using a griddle or frying pan that's not well-seasoned (or non-stick), spray it with non-stick vegetable oil spray first, before adding the semolina or farina.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they're about 3-to 3-1/2-inches in diameter. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional semolina or farina. Cover the muffins and let them rest for 20 minutes to puff a bit.

Cook the muffins over low heat for 7 to 15 minutes per side, until their crust is golden brown, and their interior is cooked through. When done, the center of a muffin should register about 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If you find the muffins have browned before they're cooked all the way through, place them into a preheated 350-degrees oven for about 10 minutes or so, or until they're thoroughly cooked. Makes 16 muffins. 

Meggie Baker can be reached at mbaker@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6207. 

Digital Products Manager for News

Meggie Baker is digital products manager for news for the Berkshire Eagle.