I sometimes make recipes just to see if the effort is worth it, in other words is the homemade version that much better than store bought?
As I was making these I was discussing it with my son and he said why not just buy them at the store? Or better yet forget the English muffins, and just get a loaf of bread. He’s kind of a poop though (actually he’s amazing, just 16).
According to King Arthur, you can use either sourdough discard or fed sourdough. I chose to use discard.
This recipe also calls for a lot of commercial yeast. So you know it’s going to rise like anything. The sourdough is there more or less for flavor (and it works).
This part is easy. Combine everything in you mixing bowl.
And mix and knead for 6-7 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn once.
Allow to rise for about an hour until doubled. I use the Breville Air Fry Smart Oven. This thing is amazing because of all the different functions it has (one of them being the proofing function).
Then to develop the sourdough flavor more fully, I put the dough in an oiled gallon bag, and left the bag in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, I pulled the dough bag out of the refrigerator and put it in a warm bowl of water (still in the bag) and allowed it to come to room temperature. I then rolled and cut them. Here’s where the chaos starts.
I set up my cookie sheets with some parchment and cornmeal and prepared to roll and cut my muffins. And here’s where I experimented/failed. I rolled out the dough to the recommended 1/2 inch. That seemed really flat to me. I cut them to 3 inches as recommended, and it seemed a bit small. So then…
I made some that were like 3/4 of an inch thick but still cut to 3 inches. These turned out to be ginormous and thick. GRR. But what are you going to do. It happens.
This part is time-consuming but easy. Heat your electric griddle to 350 degrees. Place the English muffins on the griddle. In this picture I put the corn meal side down, that’s the wrong way to do it. Place the top side down first (the ugly side, as you can see).
I cooked them for 5 minutes. That was right. I then placed a 9X13 baking pan on top of them (something with a flat bottom that isn’t too heavy). Cook for another 7 minutes.
And actually not too bad in spite of all my ridiculous shenanigans. I did cook some of the ginormous ones in the oven at 200 while I finished the rest but I’m not sure that’s totally necessary.
So did it pass the “time to make homemade vs flavor against store bought” test?
I’m going to say yes. Ok so I didn’t get my “nooks and crannies” (maybe next time). But the FLAVOR. Even after all the flack my son gave me, he ate two. Of the ginormous ones. My son doesn’t eat jelly (he’s a bit freakish about what he eats and doesn’t). So he had honey.
And for my daughter. She loves jam (cause who doesn’t) and particularly this blueberry. I bought these little mini jams and jellies. The kids absolutely love them, and otherwise we have 3 jars of jam in the fridge that tend to get nasty. Plus, they’re adorable and I feel like I’m at a hotel having room service.
And Aaron and I of course had Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce. It was amazing.
Some takeaways I had: overnight cold rise is the way to go (flavor was amazing), still not sure how to get nooks and crannies (didn’t really matter in final flavor), when you’re baking put the top side down first (ugly side) for two reasons, 1. it flattens out the ugly part, 2. the cornmeal being upside prevents the pan that you put on top from sticking. Definitely use the pan technique for preventing doming, that worked great. Next time I will roll to about 3/4 of an inch, and cut with a 4 inch cutter. That would probably have produced a size that was very close to store-bought size.
King Arthur Flour Sourdough English Muffins
- 2 tablespoons 25g sugar
- 2 cups 454g warm water (110°F-115°F)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 1 cup 227g sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard; ripe will give you a more vigorous rise
- 7 cups 843g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup 43g Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
- 1/4 cup 4 tablespoons, 57g butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon salt
- semolina or cornmeal for coating
- Add all ingredients to mixer and mix and knead with a dough hook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should cleanly clear the bowl. Allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled. Punch down and place in an oiled gallon bag. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Roll out to ½ inch thickness on a floured board. Cut into four inch rounds and place on cookie sheet (with parchment and cornmeal scattered on it). Allow to rise until about doubled, 30 minutes to an hour. Heat electric griddle to 350 degrees. Place muffins (ugly side down to flatten out) and cook for 5 minutes. Place flat bottomed but not too heavy pan on top (the side that has the cornmeal, likely) and cook for 7 minutes more on same side. Then finally flip and cook 7 minutes on the uncooked side.