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Jan 8, 2021

Deli Rye English Muffins

These deli rye English muffins take the nook and cranny-ness of English muffins and combine it with the flavors of your favorite deli rye bread. 

Deli Rye English Muffins


These English muffins are wonderful fork split, toasted, buttered and topped with an over easy fried egg for breakfast. They are also delicious toasted for your favorite deli-style sandwich for lunch. 

The dough for these rye English muffins is a revelation. Typically, for English muffins, you have a dough that you shape that is a little thicker, but less nooks and crannies, or you have a dough that is practically liquid that you pour into English muffin rings on a griddle. 

This dough is "in between." Soft and sticky, but doesn't require special equipment. Plus, you can split them with a fork! 

Rye Engish Muffins in a pan

A few months ago, I thought I was buying 5 pounds of rye flour via mail order, but evidently, probably due to "user error," 15 pounds of rye flour arrived on my door step. Since then, I've done everything I can to use the flour. Some of my bakes include light rye sourdough, apple blueberry rye muffins, marbled rye bagels, and even rye chocolate cookies

And I'm still working on my first 5 pound bag. 

With few exceptions, you typically combine rye with wheat flour, because rye flour does not provide structure and can get pretty gummy when kneaded. I've tried making 100% rye bread, and it was pretty much my least favorite loaf. 

Deli Rye English Muffins stacked

These deli rye English muffins were super easy to make. Granted, I have become used to work with sticky dough. 

Tips for Making these Deli Rye English Muffins:

First, don't be tempted to add more flour to the dough, as much as you might be tempted. The dough will be sticky, but if you lightly flour your work surface, you will be able to handle the dough. You can also lightly flour your hands. 

Second, be sure to use a heavy skillet to brown these English muffins. If you have a cast iron pan, even better. Be sure to lightly oil the skillet, just enough so that the muffins don't stick, but not so much that they fry. 

For the corn meal called for in the recipe for sprinkling on the outside of the English muffins, I used a medium grind. Any corn meal will do. You could also use polenta flour or semolina flour. 

Finally, an instant read thermometer is great if you aren't sure whether or not your muffins are done in the middle. If the they reach 190 degrees or more, they are definitely ready. 

Deli Rye English Muffins in a cast iron pan

To make these English muffins, once you've shaped the risen dough and have let it rest, you brown them in a hot skillet, and then finish them in the oven set at 250 degrees F. 

The resulting English muffins are crispy on the outside and soft and nook and cranny-ish on the inside, and ready to be toasted. 

I used bread flour for the wheat flour in this recipe, but you could also use a higher protein unbleached all-purpose flour such as King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill. 

Deli Rye English Muffins with butter

These muffins, toasted and buttered, are good enough on their own. 

Or you can make a turkey sandwich with avocado, lettuce, and mayo! 

If you'd like to cut back on the deli rye flavor, don't cut back on the rye flour. Just use less caraway seeds. The caraway seeds give deli rye breads their strong flavor, not the rye flour. 

Deli Rye English Muffins sandwich

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman. 

There are so many amazing recipes in this book, including breakfasts, snacks, soups, stews, sandwiches, veggie main dishes, meat main dishes, and lots of sweets. I bought my copy back when it first came out, and have since given it as a gift several times. 

Substitution for Buttermilk

If you don't have buttermilk, you can use regular milk. 

I actually used buttermilk powder. 

I whisked the buttermilk powder into the dry ingredients and added water in the same volume as called for in buttermilk to the wet ingredients rather than trying to reconstitute buttermilk with butter milk powder, which never works for me. 

Deli Rye English Muffins

Deli Rye English Muffins
Yield: 8 muffins
Author: Karen Kerr
These deli rye English muffins take the nook and cranny-ness of English muffins and combine it with the flavors of your favorite deli rye bread.


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (about 90 degrees F)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) dark rye flour
  • 175 grams (1 1/3 cups) bread flour or high protein all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling on your work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • Oil for coating the cast iron skillet and the dough rising bucket
  • Cornmeal for sprinkling


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water. 
  2. In another bowl, warm the buttermilk, butter, and sugar to lukewarm in the microwave to lukewarm (90 degrees F), 15 seconds at a time. Add the mixture to the stand mixer bowl. 
  3. Add the flours, salt, and caraway seeds. 
  4. Mix with the dough hook on low until you have a rough dough, and then continue to mix on low for 5 minutes more. The dough will be stretchy but will not clear the bowl. 
  5. Scrape the dough into an oiled dough rising bucket or bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour in a warm spot, until almost doubled. 
  6. Spray a half sheet pan with spray oil and sprinkle it with corn meal. 
  7. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. Spray a bench scraper or bowl scraper with spray oil and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. 
  8. Form the pieces into balls and place them on the baking sheet. With floured hands, gently press the balls into disks about 3/4 inches thick. 
  9. Spray the tops of the dough with spray oil and sprinkle the tops with more corn meal. 
  10. Cover the baking sheet with oiled plastic wrap and let proof for 30 minutes. 
  11. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F with a half sheet pan on the middle rack. 
  12. Warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet over low heat for about 5 minutes. Wipe the skillet with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Add half of the shaped dough to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn them over with a spatula and cook the other side for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. If the sides are uneven, you can continute turn them until evenly browned. 
  13. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. 
  14. Place the browned muffins onto the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the interior of the muffins reaches about 195 degrees F. 
  15. Cool on a wire rack and then split with a fork. 
english muffins, rye
Breakfast, Bread
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Brilliant. I love rye. And this reminds me I need to order more, because I am going through it wonderfully quickly!

    1. I have been having fun exploring using it!

  2. We also LOVE rye. We have a local Italian bakery that makes GREAT rye bread that we often toast for breakfast.

    Do you think a bread machine on dough cycle would work until the shaping step?


    1. I do. Just be prepared for a very sticky dough.

  3. They look amazing!! I recently learned that it's the caraway seeds I don't like, not rye. I like to use some rye flour in bread but haven't tried things like cookies. Will check out your chocolate rye cookie recipe :)

    1. That's exactly right! Skip the caraway seeds!

  4. Very good! This was my first try making english muffins, and since I had rye flour and caraway seeds I decided to give this a try. I love these! I'll make these again very soon, because they don't sell rye english muffins at the store, and I like them better than the typical sourdough or wheat ones.


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