The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Desperately seeking nooks and crannies - need advice

MommaT's picture

Desperately seeking nooks and crannies - need advice

Hello all,

Now that the kids are all in school, I'm turning to stocking the freezer with some staple items.

One of the items I'd like to make is English Muffins.  Not just any old recipe, but one with lots of big nooks and crannies.

I've attempted to sift through the recipes here and have not yet stumbled on any postings that boast the best nooks and crannies, so I'm turning to you all.

If you have an English Muffin recipe that reliably produces big, holey english muffins....I'd love to have it!    If at all possible, I'd like to make one that uses at least a portion whole wheat and also sourdough starter.  

Thanks, in advance, for your advice!




Edthebread's picture

Hi MommaT

I've had wonderful results with good nooks and crannies using this recipe for 100% wholewheat sourdough English muffins from JMonkey:

I'm sure you could also do a non-sourdough version with a small amount of dried yeast.

Good luck!

Nickisafoodie's picture


These seem to be exactly what you are looking for; good luck!

Janknitz's picture

Wild Yeast's recipe is the BEST.  My teen (who turns up her nose at most of my baked goods) can't get enough of these.  I've tried other forumlas, and none was this good.  My daughter asks specifically for the "one you have to do overnight"--referring to the sponge that ferments the night before making them. 

Don't forget to split with a fork.  It really makes a difference in the nooks and crannies.

MommaT's picture

Hi All,

Thanks for the pointers!  I'm eager to try a sourdough version because I'm convinced it will have the texture and holes I'm looking for.

This morning, I made the English Muffins from BBA and they were OK, but a bit overmixed (I think most of those recipes call for too much mixing).  

Will be back, hopefully with pics!



Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

A discussion on English muffins runs from page 259 to 261. I haven't tried this, but here's some of what they had to say...

...we can tell you how to make holey, moist, chewy muffins out of whatever bread dough you think would make your ideal muffin... After you knead the dough to perfection according to the recipe you choose, you can divide it and set aside half for making regular loaf bread, if you want to. In that case, with one loaf's worth of dough, you can make eight muffins.

The muffin dough must be slightly overkneaded and much wetter than regular bread dough, so keep wetting your hands as you work, and knead in as much water as you can. Stop when the dough is so soft that it is almost runny, and before the gluten falls apart. Finally, cover and set the dough to rise, following the instructions for whatever bread recipe you are making. The muffin dough will rise more quickly than its stiffer bread counterpart, however, because it is so wet...

If there aren't enough holes, and they aren't big enough for you, next time knead longer and add more water. If your dough was not kneaded fully in the first place, it may not have gotten overkneaded, as it has to, during the second kneading. If all this seems a bit much, you can use a cup of pastry or rye flour in place of bread flour when you mix up the dough; this will require less kneading to develop its guten fully. Or if you like sourdough muffins, use a sourdough recipe; the sour will break down the gluten too.

MommaT's picture

...I just took that book out of the library and read the same passage while waiting to fetch #1 son from school today!  

I'm a little dubious (or perhaps confused) though.  In a recent posting either here or on Wild Yeast, regarding baguettes, there was a description of the variability in baguette making.  Those with the most kneading had the finest crumb.  Those with little kneading (S&F instead) and lots of hydration fared best in the big holey crumb category.   When I read this passage in the Laurel Kitchen book it seemed like it was saying quite the opposite.  Perhaps the hydration they describe balances it out.

In any case, I will set up for the Wild Yeast English Muffins and let you all know how they turn out!!  

But then, perhaps, I should save this for Sunday morning breakfast...and take out the recent 40% rye from the freezer to have with my smoked, peppered bluefish for breakfast tomorrow....mmmmmmm!

Thanks for the help everyone!


Janknitz's picture

I made my weekly batch of WildYeast's sourdough english muffins this morning and I must confess that I add more flour than you are "supposed" to.  Her formula warns the reader to try not to add more flour but claims that the dough will start out sticky but get easy to work over time. 

I've found that it's just too wet as the formula is written--without some additional flour it never gets workable for me.  I knead in a good bit of flour to have a dough that can be handled, then let it rest for about 20 minutes before rolling out and cutting the muffins.  I thought I'd gone way overboard today with additional flour, but they came out fine.

I still get great nooks and crannies and a great crumb. despite the additional flour.  So don't be too intimidated--just go for it.