Recipes on March 1, 2013 by

Whole Wheat English Muffins

As promised, here is our recipe for Whole Wheat English Muffins. I had to try these out for myself before I shared them so I knew exactly what you were getting yourself into if you attempt these. First off, this recipe takes a serious time commitment. Second, this recipe is painfully easy to put together. With a little bit of planning, you can have fresh, chewy English muffins for breakfast one day (if you get up really, really early) and everyone will be so impressed with your baking skills.

Here’s what you need to know- the time commitment is primarily a matter of rising time. These babies start with a poolish that ferments overnight, then allowed to come to room temp for at least 3 hours. Then the dough is mixed and needs to rise for 45 minutes. The dough is folded and rises again for 15 minutes, then shaped into muffins and left to rise for a final 15 minutes… so maybe you have these more like noon (like we did at our house) or for dinner. While they are something akin to heaven straight from the oven, these are phenomenal the next day and the day after that. We didn’t have any make it past that to attest to their quality. I think my husband ate 3 of these straight from the oven. Fresh, they don’t even need butter to be amazing (but it certainly doesn’t hurt).English Muffins Whole Wheat

I’d consider myself a novice bread baker. Sure, I’ve made basic breads and pizza dough, but I was incredibly intimidated by this recipe. My advice to you: don’t be. It was easy to follow and, even when I flubbed a step, the results were divine.

A dab of butter, a slathering of jam, a smooth layer of peanut butter, a fried egg with a bit of cheese… whatever you opt to top these with will be worth it, I promise.

[A note about equipment and measurements. If you have them, English muffin rings are handy. If you don’t, a big biscuit cutter or even just a dough knife will work. The rings helped to make that perfect “English muffin” shape, but they really wouldn’t make or break the recipe. We’ve included household measurements here as a courtesy, but, as I’m learning a baking scale is a kitchen essential for serious bakers. Not only does it improve the outcome of your recipe when you weigh your ingredients, it makes you feel like a real baker! Scales are pretty affordable. We sell a good one, but you can also find quite a selection on Amazon, as well.]

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Recipe by Sarah House

Yield twelve 3 ½ oz muffins


  • 6 ¾ oz Water (110°F)
  • ¼ tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 ¾ oz (1 ½ cups + 3 Tbsp) Unbleached White Flour

Bread Dough

  • 14 oz Warm Water (110°)
  • 1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 13 ½ oz Poolish (entire recipe from above)
  • 1 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 15 ¼ oz (3 cups + 3 Tbsp) Unbleached White Flour
  • 5 oz (1 cup) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • Semolina Flour as needed


  1. In a large, non-reactive metal or glass bowl (only use plastic if it is clean and free of odors), proof yeast in water until “milky”, about 5 minutes.
  1. Add the flour and stir until a smooth, elastic batter has formed.
  1. Scrape down the sides and cover with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  1. (Optional) For the most sourdough-like flavor, transfer to the refrigerator and chill 8 – 24 hours. Skip step 5 if you do not refrigerate your poolish.
  1. Remove poolish from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 3 – 4 hours.  It should have tripled in volume.  Use within 4 hours, before it begins to deflate.

Bread Dough

  1. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let sit until the yeast looks “milky”, about 5 minutes then add the poolish.
  1. Meanwhile, combine the flours in a bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles sand.
  1. Add the sugar, salt and flour mixture to the yeast and mix until a dough forms (about 4 minutes on low with a dough hook), scraping down the sides of the bowl often.  Continue mixing until a wet and tacky dough has formed (about 2 additional minutes at medium speed).
  1. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat all sides and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel.  Let rise until an indentation remains when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 45 – 60 minutes.
  1. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and fold it into thirds like a letter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until an indentation remains when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 15 minutes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (use of a baking stone is useful but not necessary).  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  1. Uncover the dough and lightly dust both sides with semolina flour.  Gently roll or pat out the dough to about ½-inch thickness (take care not to deflate the dough too much).  Using English muffin rings or a pastry/pizza wheel, punch or cut to the desired shape (about 3-inches wide).
  1. Place the muffins on one prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Taking care not to crowd the pan, cook the muffins in batches until both sides are browned.  Place cooked muffins on clean prepared baking sheet.
  1. Bake muffins until the internal temperature reads 205°F, about 6 – 8 minutes.
  1. Remove from the hot baking sheet and let cool on a rack before slicing.


Melissa says:

I’m confused. Are you supposed to mix the poolish with the bread dough after the bread dough ingredients are mixed?

You will mix the poolish with the yeast and water in the first step under “bread dough,” then you’ll add the flour, salt and sugar to the mixture that contains the poolish and yeast. Hope this helps!

Cheyenne says:

In step 2 of the bread dough recipe, what temperature should the butter be? Do I want it cold like for pie dough, or soft like for cookies? Thanks.

It should be softer, like cookies, not cold. Room temperature would be ideal.

mike solomons says:

My first time making this recipe that is well versed. How can I achieve large holes in the crumb which is so indicative of english muffins? I have heard that an addition of bicarbonate of soda helps. What do you recommend?

jeff says:

For the poolish, does 6 3/4 ounces really mean 1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp? When I mix it to 6 3/4 ounces water (a bit more than 3/4 cup) I get a dough not a batter. What am I doing wrong?


Our test kitchen expert is out today, but we’ll try to get you an answer soon. I’ve followed this recipe with a lot of success, and knowing our test kitchen, the ounce measurement should work just fine. I’ll see if we can find out more for you.

Jeff, our test kitchen says the sponge will hydrate and loosen as it sits. You can add additional liquid if you feel more comfortable with the resulting consistency.

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