Long Fermented Sourdough English Muffins
This recipe is a modification of the Naturally Leavened Sourdough Bread by Susan Miller on the King Arthur Baking Company site using the technique from “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book”.
Makes 16 English muffins
- 2 cups ripe (fed) sourdough starter (454g)
- 6 cups of bread flour (685g)
- 1 3/4 cups room temperature water (70 to 80 degrees F)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- More flour as needed to kneed dough
- More water for dough, as needed
- 1/4 cup of plain corn meal, may need more or less
- Small amount of oil, 2 teaspoons
Griddle (cast iron or electric), large bowl, dough scraper bench knife, parchment paper, 2 half sheet pans, something to cover the large bowl with (I often use a plate or plastic wrap.), spatula cooling racks
- If you’re measuring the sourdough starter using volume rather than weight, stir it down before measuring.* I find it is easier to get the sourdough starter out after stirring it down even if I am measuring by weight.
- Combine the starter, flours, and water in a large bowl and mix well, until all of the flour is moistened and the dough has formed a cohesive mass. Add extra water or flour if needed to form a soft, tacky dough*
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes. This rest, known as an autolyse, allows the flour to absorb the water, which starts the dough’s gluten formation, and makes it easier to knead.*
- After the rest, add the salt and knead the dough until it’s smooth and supple, though still somewhat soft and tacky.* This took about 10 minutes
- When fully kneaded, place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour.*
- Give the dough a fold: Turn it out onto a floured surface and, using a bowl scraper or bench knife, fold it like a business letter. Turn the dough 90° (a quarter turn). Gently flatten it a bit, and repeat the letter fold. Return the dough to the bowl and cover.* The King Arthur Recipe calls for letting the dough rise rise for another hour here. Instead, I put the dough in the fridge overnight, about 12 hours.
- In the morning, I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divided it into two halves using my dough scraper bench knife. I left the dough covered for 30 minutes.
- Cover the half sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle cornmeal over it. The cornmeal should have some spaces between the grains. Repeat this step with the second sheet pan.
- Divide one half of the dough into 2 even halves. Divide each half into even quarters. Repeat on the second half of the dough.
- Round the 8 pieces and place the on the cornmeal covered parchment sheet, well separated. I made 2 rows of 4. Sprinkle cornmeal on top of the rounds, then cover with a damp kitchen towel or another sheet of parchment paper. Repeat for the other 8 pieces of dough and second cornmeal covered parchment on a sheet pan.
- Let rise at room temperature until when you gently press on a round it doesn’t spring back. This takes between 3 to 4 hours since the dough came out of the fridge.
- Once the rounds are ready, heat your griddle to the same temperature you use to cook pancakes. Lightly oil the griddle once it is hot. (1 teaspoon spread over the griddle with a paper towel.)
- While griddle is heating, gently flatten 8 rounds of dough to about a 1/2 inch or a little flatter and sprinkle more cornmeal on the flattened rounds, if you want. I used my hands to press the dough down to flatten it.
- Gently place the flattened rounds on the lightly oiled hot griddle. Cook until the bottom is golden browned. Flip over with a spatula and and cook until the other side is golden browned. (If you have an instant read thermometer, the inside of the English muffin will read 202 degrees F when done. It was fine with a temperature up to 206 degrees F.)
- Place on a cooling rack when done.
- After flipping the first eight English muffins on the griddle, gently flatten the second batch.
- Once the first batch has finished cooking, carefully lightly oil the hot griddle. Repeat steps 14 and 15th r the second batch.
- Once English muffins have cooled, you can cut them in half and toast them.
- You can put them in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.
*Original instructions from King Arthur Baking Company website.
If you only want to make 8 English Muffins and a loaf of bread, you can take half the dough from step 9, round it and let and let rise until doubled on a covered on parchment sheet. Preheat the oven to 450 F with a Dutch oven in it. Heat the Dutch oven with the lid for 40 minutes. Carefully take the Dutch oven out of the oven and place the parchment sheet with the bread on it inside. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and put the Dutch oven back into the oven. After 20 minutes, carefully remove the Dutch oven lid. Let the bread bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until a deep brown. Turn off the oven. Remove the Dutch oven and carefully remove the bread. Let it cool in the oven with the door cracked or just on a cooling rack.