Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sourdough English Muffins

Remember at the start of summer when I left my sourdough starter on the kitchen counter on the day I flew back to Singapore? I took quite a while to get over that, and got a new one going, and surprisingly it was doing really well, maybe because of Singapore's warm weather. This time, for my flight back to London, I didn't forget it, but I didn't manage to sneak it past the customs. You should see her face when she opened the jar and smelt it, and when I weakly tried to explain what a starter was ("It's.. food?"). Ok next time it just goes into my check-in luggage, double-wrapped.

These sourdough english muffins were made in Singapore, just to test the new-- now gone-- starter.

Sourdough English Muffins
Makes 8-10 muffins, adapted from Wild Yeast blog
I've used weight instead of the approximate cups value, because flours and such all weigh very differently, and the best way to make sure you've happy results is by weight and ratios.

110g ripe starter (feed it in a 1:1 water:flour ratio, get it healthy and bubbly, and give it one feed again about 6 hours before you use it)
260g white whole wheat flour
275g whole full-fat milk, preferably grassfed

the sponge
75g plain white flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp raw honey

some semolina
muffin tins (this, I realised only after. for a budget alternative, try tuna cans with top and base removed)
griddle or frying pan
parchment paper

1. The night before, in a large non-reactive bowl, mix the sponge ingredients until just combined. Cover and let rest about 8 hours.
2. The next morning, add the rest of the ingredients.

3. Turn onto counter and knead (with oiled hands) about 8 min or so. It'll go from having a really sticky and craggy texture to a smooth surface, but overall, the dough will still be quite wet and sticky.

That's what I mean by sticky

4. Form 10 blobs of dough on a sheet of semolina-dusted parchment paper. Dust the top with semolina too. Cover and let proof at room temperature for about 45 min to 1 hr.
5. Heat the pan over medium low heat, with the muffin tins, and flip the dough into the tins. Cook on 1 side for about 5 min, and after it has risen nicely, flip to cook on the other side until lightly browned and sides are firm.

I was really worried when I saw the muffins wouldn't "form", but then I realised that wet sticky dough is the key. See below (description after recipe).

This is why I suggest muffin tins. I got better at shaping them sans tins towards the end though. Btw though ugly, these were yummy.

6. To eat, dig into the sides and split with a fork before toasting the halves. If you want to freeze them for easy breakfasts, also split them first.

I got the tip from Nigella Lawson, who insists on a fork to get the best ragged holes.

The sourdough english muffins had just a slight tanginess and complexity you wouldn't normally find in an english muffin, but the same spongy chewy texture and all those nooks and crannies to catch all that melted butter and jam. To me, that's what's an english muffin is about. And to get that, the dough has to be wet enough to warrant muffin tins. Though not perfectly shaped, the muffins were delicious, especially slathered with jam and butter!

If you were wondering about the green jam, it's kaya, a Nonya pandan coconut curd jam.

Ah, I'd better be off now to feed my sourdough starter The Third, boo.


  1. Nice - I'm still meaning to get a sourdough starter going myself but keep putting it off :( Plus I love english muffins - with a bit of butter and blackberry jam... yum!

  2. I love English Muffins, with butter they're divine!
    Have a nice week end

  3. I see you're still having a strong relationship with your sourdough starter, albeit it bing the third one! Glad though, because these sourdough muffins (are they like crumpets?) look gorgeous!

    I've missed coming over here, Shu Han. Now got to look around...

  4. I love this! (And love that you took your starter all the way to Singapore!)

  5. Hilarious! I would love to be there and see the custom's officer's face! I have never had English muffins, but yours look excellent! Kaya will haunt me until I taste it or make it.

  6. charles: thanks, start one! it's actually not difficult at all, though it requires patience.

    manu: thanks! yup hot, buttered muffins!!

    foodiva: thanks for dropping by again! (:

    susan: alas, it didn't make it ):

    anna: thanks!

    sissi: haha go get it or make it!

  7. I've never made my own English muffins before, yours look like they came out perfectly! That is so sad that they took your starter :-( I can just imagine it now!

  8. Also, I have an award for you :-) It's waiting here:

  9. Hi There
    Dom has paired us for the next random recipe challenge so I thought I'd pop on over and say hi. I'm very pleased he has paired us up - loving your blog!
    my email is when you've counted up your recipe books drop me an email ;0)
    PS - Loving the idea of sourdough english muffins. I can imagine they are scrummy.

  10. katherine: Thanks, they could be abit higher and circle-r to be honest, do use muffin tins if you ever decide to do them! I'm sad about my starter, but The Third is hopefully going to turn out alright!

    chele: Hi chele! Going to hop over to yours now too, I can't do the challenge though unfortunately, will tell you the reason at your blog, so sorry! ):

  11. These turned out great, Shu Han! I think you should just call them rustic and enjoy the fact they don't all match. :)