King Arthur Flour Helps You Go Sourdough

Money can’t buy the feeling you get when something you’ve struggled with finally comes together and exceeds your expectations. But $8.95 can help you get a little bit closer.

Sourdough Starter Kit

You may recall that Kate of Food Babbles and I, in our first year of First on the First, attempted sourdough, with quite abysmal results. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I intended to give it another go, but the project had been pushed aside so many times that eventually I forgot about it. Until now.

When the King Arthur Flour catalog arrives in the mail, it’s almost like Christmas. I grab a glass of wine and a ball point pen, ready to start making my wish list. Ink soon fills the catalog, plans forming of what I could do with all this baking booty. Now all I need is Santa Claus to make those dreams come true… or a sugar daddy.

Sourdough Starter

In a recent edition, I noticed something… different. It may have been there before, but I must not have been paying attention. Regardless, King Arthur Flour had the answer to my prayers… my long forgotten prayers. There, so innocently nestled on the page, was a simple little plastic container filled with what could change my life–sourdough starter. Fresh, no less. I was aware of powdered varieties that could be mail ordered, but this was the first time I saw live, thriving, juicy, wet starter that could be delivered directly to my door. This surely would be the solution to my sourdough problems!

Bubbling Sourdough Starter

Bubbling Sourdough Starter

The folks at King Arthur Flour so generously hooked me up with some and I got to work. I have a history of issues with keeping things alive that do not vocalize their needs, but I was determined this time would be different. I could handle a little water and flour once or twice a day, right? I even had a nifty little sourdough crock in which to store it, so it wouldn’t get lost in the refrigerator. The logo would remind me of the contents, and therefore reduce the likelihood of it withering away in neglect. Piece of cake.

getting ready to bake

King Arthur Flour takes their customers seriously. Their relationship doesn’t end when the order is in your hands. They include instructions to help you get off to the right start, and their website hosts a plethora of additional information to help you along the way. There are even videos, in case you’re a more visual learner. If all else fails, you can always utilize live chat support or a quick telephone call–it’s that simple. They’re there to guarantee your success.

I kept my handy-dandy sourdough starter instructions on the counter during the 3 weeks I worked with my starter, just to be sure I was following protocol. For the first couple of days, I only fed it (and dumped, as directed–which I hate doing, as it seems so wasteful, but you must do it in the beginning). Once my starter was thriving, I was able to refrigerate it between feedings. This is a necessity for the busy person working full-time outside the home. While I love baking, I don’t have as much time during the week to indulge in it. Luckily, my sourdough starter was there waiting for me when I was ready, only asking for a bit of flour and water and a little bit of time to be at its best.

Rustic Sourdough Bread

Rustic Sourdough Bread

I started with the Rustic Sourdough Bread recipe, which is included in the instructions that come with the starter. This could not have been easier! Since I already possessed a baguette pan, I lined it with parchment paper and let the shaped loaves rise in it before baking them in the same pan. They weren’t quite so rustic in shape, but with 3 of them to share, they were eagerly eaten. Many commented that this was the kind of sourdough bread you share with those who are put off by the sourness; that it’s a great introduction to sourdough with a much milder tang.

Classic Sourdough Waffles

Classic Sourdough Waffles

Next I moved on to recipes utilizing what you’d normally discard when feeding. I hate throwing away anything that’s perfectly good. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the Classic Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes. You need to start it the night before you plan on baking, but there is no waste. The waffles bake up light and fluffy with a satisfying crunchy exterior–I’ve never had anything quite like them. A little bit of tang so you know they’re sourdough, but not overpowering. And they freeze and reheat well (which is excellent because I ended up with 22 of them!). The kids enjoyed the leftovers as breakfast on school days, a rare treat.

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust is another way to use discarded sourdough starter. We had enough dough for 2 thin-crusted rectangle pizzas and it was a dream to work with. I’ve always had problems working with pizza dough, having it tear before I could work it to the right thickness. I learned that you need to give it a couple rest periods to let the gluten relax, and then it will be so much more cooperative when you’re stretching the dough. The verdict? Crispy, crunchy, with a pleasant mild tang. Probably the best pizza dough I’ve had yet.

Bread Machine Sourdough Bread

One of the times I fed my starter, I took the discarded portion and used it to produce a second starter. I’ll admit it was due to a fear of messing up my initial starter, but this turned out to be most fortuitous. I fed it with rye flour for the first feeding, then switched back to all-purpose flour. The rye starter developed a much more potent tang, much like what I’d expect from traditional sourdough bakery bread. I used this starter to make the Bread Machine Sourdough Bread and it was amazing! It was only supposed to be a 1.5-pound loaf without any doming, but it rose to fill the pan completely and even domed. Both times I made it. The second time I prepared it was after work. I removed my starter from its slumber in the fridge in the morning, fed it, and left it on the counter, so it would be ready when I returned home. Upon arrival home, I threw the ingredients into the bread machine and was well on my way to fresh bread. Nothing like the smell of baking bread to ease the stress of a long work day.

Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins

I could go on and on about all the successes I’ve had–Buttery Sourdough Buns, Sourdough English Muffins, Sourdough Cinnamon Buns–but I think I’m going to give you a chance to reap the same rewards at home instead. Because I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit by now, wondering when you can get started on your own sourdough success. And this sourdough starter will ensure that you have it!

King Arthur Flour has graciously offered to send one of my readers their very own Sourdough Starter, King Arthur Flour Stoneware Crock, and a coupon for a free bag of flour–a starter sourdough kit, if you will. Then you, too, can see how easy sourdough can be!! This is a fantastic set that will set you up for a lifetime of sourdough happiness.

The giveaway will be open from today, April 3, 2013, through 12 midnight on April 10, 2013 (the start of the day) and is open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, now that we have that squared away, how about those Sourdough English Muffins? Have you never had homemade English muffins? Then you’re in for a treat! They freeze quite well, so you can make a big batch and have breakfast ready for the family for the week…or two. And, like I said, you won’t have to discard your discard (ha!) because this will let you use it up nicely. Perhaps this will be the first recipe you make when you win? Good luck!

Sourdough English Muffins

4.6 from 5 reviews
Sourdough English Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 30
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (110°F-115°F)
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 1 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed; fed will give you a more vigorous rise
  • 7 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Himalayan pink salt
  • semolina for coating
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients, except the semolina, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. Mix to form a smooth dough, but watch your electric mixer carefully; it was a tough load on mine. The dough should be soft and elastic, but not particularly sticky; add additional flour if necessary.
  3. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1½ hours, or until it's noticeably puffy. (I use my enameled cast iron for this; the lid is a perfect cover and it conducts heat well, so if you rise in a warm oven, it works even better.)
  4. For most pronounced sour flavor, cover the bowl, and immediately place it in the refrigerator (without rising first), allowing the dough to chill for 24 hours; this will develop a more intense sour flavor.
  5. After the dough has risen, gently deflate it, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and cover it, letting it sit for a few minutes to relax the gluten.
  6. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough in half.
  7. Working with one piece at a time, roll it out to ½" thickness and cut in 3" rounds. (If you don't have biscuit cutters, you can use a drinking glass dipped in flour.) Re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  8. Line a rimmed baking sheet with semolina and evenly place the rounds on it (12 per sheet). Sprinkle them with additional semolina, cover with plastic wrap, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 45 to 60 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated overnight, the rise time will be about 2 hours.
  9. Heat an ungreased skillet (cast iron works great for this!) on the stove over medium heat and carefully transfer the rounds (as many as will fit without crowding) right-side up (small rounds allowed for 5 to cook at a time; larger ones limited me to 4).
  10. Cook the muffins for about 5-7 minutes on each side. The edges may feel a bit soft, but that's OK. Be sure to flatten with a pancake turner after each side has cooked for 1-2 minutes, to keep them from puffing up too much.
  11. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 4 or 5 days; freeze for longer storage.
It took nowhere nearly as long to cook the English muffins as noted in the original recipe (10 minutes per side); I would guess more like 5 minutes per side.


Disclosure: King Arthur Flour provided me with a sourdough starter, stoneware crock, and coupon for a free bag of flour for review. They will be providing the same to the winner of the giveaway. All opinions and photos remain mine, unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Looks like you had a ton of fun testing this out! I’d have to go for the classic sourdough bread to start.

  2. OMGosh, Carrie… You made some really wonderful treats with that starter! GREAT JOB! Sort of reminds me of feeding a plant…which I have NO talent with. Let’s hope that if I win, my starter and I have a loving relationship. I need those waffles in my mouth! 🙂

    1. I kill all my plants, so I totally understand. The sourdough is more forgiving than they are!

  3. Yum. I love sourdough bread. I never tried sourdough waffles but that sounds tasty.

  4. I need to amp up my baking skills, I get scared to bake bread. This would be a great opportunity to try!

    1. Nothing to be afraid of! Once you give it a go, you’ll see that it’s really no work at all!

  5. What I find fascinating is that you were able to utilize the leftovers to bake other items. Very resouceful!

    1. Waste not, want not. Or something like that. 😉 I grew up as a part of the clean plate club generation–throwing perfectly good food away stresses me out!

    • Kristen G on April 3, 2013 at 11:58 am
    • Reply

    I’d love to make the english muffins!

    • Leslie W on April 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm
    • Reply

    Definitely would have to try the sourdough waffles. They look and sound delish!

    • Jamie D Stanley on April 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm
    • Reply

    I would like to make a pepperoni chees loaf!

    1. That sounds delicious! I may just have to try that!

  6. I’ve killed every sourdough starter I’ve attempted to start on my own! It completely alludes me. I’m so intrigued by sourdough waffles & pancakes. I’d love to be able to try them. Even if I don’t win this kit, I think I need to just buck up and order a sourdough starter!

    1. Maybe it’s just the wild yeast process? I had success with it once 5 or 6 years ago, but never again. I’m thinking it’s not worth the stress if you can get a perfectly viable starter elsewhere. 😉

    • Michelle Brennan on April 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm
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    The waflles look fab. Need to create some time for baking!

  7. Pizza dough! I love pizza and this dough looks fabulous!

  8. Gorgeous pics! I LOVE sourdough. Those waffles look great & the rustic roll. I think I’d try one of those first.

    • Jonathan Xiang on April 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply

    Getting hungry just looking at these…

  9. it is a toss up between the classic sour dough and the pizza crust. I have been dying to try a sour dough starter…thank you for the intro to this great product!!!

    • Sue on April 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm
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    My husband and I love homemade pizza – so I think ;that would have to be it!

    • Kate on April 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm
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    I think I’d make the pizza dough – yours looks so delish!

  10. I am German, so sourdough is in my blood. I would probably make a nice crackly loaf of sourdough bread and scarf it down with some plain butter and a beer. Excellent post, btw, and great photos!

    • Ellen B on April 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm
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    sourdough bread

    • gina on April 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm
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    I LOVE Sourdough. The last place that I worked, I made the breads for the restaurant and left them with my baby (Sourdough starter) I learned that they neglected to feed it and let it die! How sad! Now I have to start all over again.

    1. That’s so sad! It’s like losing a piece of you! The KAF Sourdough Starter will at least make it a lot easier to start all over again.

    • Wendy on April 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm
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    I would make Sourdough Pizza crust. You make it look so good

    • Kaylie on April 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm
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    I’ve never been able to get a starter going properly either- so happy to hear the fresh starter is available!

    1. Sounds like this is exactly what you need!

      1. I don’t have dry milk? Substitute?

        1. If you use milk instead of water, you should be fine. Dry milk is sometimes used in bread machine recipes because it sits out for a while, but I’ve never had a problem using plain ole milk instead. Let me know how it works out!

  11. Sourdough bread, toasted, with butter and peanut butter!

    • Holly Williams on April 3, 2013 at 8:26 pm
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    I would defiantly start with some simple classic sourdough bread

    • linda salamacha on April 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm
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    I would make the bread first.

    • amy rouse on April 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm
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    ooooh I like the English Muffin recipe!

  12. I’ve always been intimidated by sourdough breads. I make all of my bread at home, but I’ve never tried sour dough. The starter sure makes it seem easy, though! I would love to try making sourdough waffles. YUM!

    1. Sourdough can be quite intimidating, but the fresh starter takes most of the worry out of it. Once you get it going, it’s really not all that needy, especially if you refrigerate between baking.

  13. Oh wow…I love sour dough! I had no idea you could do so much with it! If I don’t win this…I’ll have to order some because I’d love to make these English Muffins…and the pizza…and the waffles…and those beautiful baguettes… 🙂

    1. Definitely worth every penny! There are 48 recipes on King Arthur Flour’s website, if I recall correctly, for sourdough. Plus all the other options out there on the internet. Infinite possibilities!

  14. Holy cow!!! You’re new title is now “Sourdough Queen!” I dub thee. Seriously, you went sourdough crazy and clearly you now have no sourdough issues at all whatsoever. I am SO impressed! I am due to feed my starter tomorrow cause I haven’t used it in about a week and a half. I’m thinking Sourdough English Muffins are in order!

    1. I told you we both had sourdough on the mind! 😉 I’ve really been enjoying using it in alternative ways. And the starter was a huge help in getting off on the right foot this time.

    • Nicole on April 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm
    • Reply

    I’m definatly going to try this!

    • spacemonkey1138 on April 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm
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    The rustic sourdough bread is all I need to be happy (with butter).

    • Mary on April 3, 2013 at 11:26 pm
    • Reply

    Sounds good

    • Maley on April 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm
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    I’d definitely make those English muffins to start; they look great.

    • Michael on April 4, 2013 at 1:32 am
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    I’d make sourdough brioche! Rich, indulgent, soft, buttery, sweet, delightful…

    1. Now there’s something I hadn’t thought of before! Sourdough brioche sounds intriguing!

    • Susan on April 4, 2013 at 1:39 am
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    • joyce on April 4, 2013 at 1:54 am
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    The english muffins–they look so yummy. Love the little sourdough crock too.

    • Denisha on April 4, 2013 at 1:56 am
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    I love that the flour comes with instructions! Just what I need!

    • Sarah L. on April 4, 2013 at 3:42 am
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    I’d begin with a nice, old-fashioned loaf! I love baking bread and cannot believe I haven’t yet learned to do sourdough–it’s my favorite.

    • Annette on April 4, 2013 at 5:13 am
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    The Sourdough English muffins would be my first recipe to try. They look delicious.

    • Gayle on April 4, 2013 at 8:32 am
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    I love bread baking but have also been so intimidated by sourdough. You make it sound (and look) so easy! Thanks for sharing.

    • Bebe on April 4, 2013 at 8:33 am
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    Definitely the english muffins!

  15. Oh those English muffins looks so good!

    • Nicole G on April 4, 2013 at 9:16 am
    • Reply

    As someone who is petrified of yeast I would totally make sourdough bread (laaaaaame, i know) but the giveaway would take the risk if it all goes cabbash

    1. That’s the great part about it, isn’t it? A confidence boost so you can throw caution to the wind and just go for it!

    • Jan on April 4, 2013 at 9:38 am
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    I’d make the waffles first

    • JanetinMaine on April 4, 2013 at 10:12 am
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    I miss the good SF sourdough bread so I would start with a loaf of sourdough bread. Can’t get good sourdough in Maine for some reason.

  16. The first thing I would make a huge, gloriously tangy sourdough boule that would be sliced and slathered shamelessly with butter at the first chance. Ohmygoodnessgracious I hope I win this!!

    Thanks for a terrific giveaway! ~La

    1. That sounds simply divine! I’m pretty sure I could live off of homemade bread and really good butter exclusively!

    • Maia on April 4, 2013 at 10:36 am
    • Reply

    Those sourdough waffles make my stomach ache, but gosh what I wouldn’t give to make my own sourdough pizza crust!

    • Claudia on April 4, 2013 at 11:35 am
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    I’d love to have a chance to create my own sourdough breads, pizza and/or waffles.

    • Julie on April 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm
    • Reply

    the english muffins

    • Rosebud on April 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm
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    I just cleaned out a crock of starter that didn’t work. My family and I really love sourdough. Years ago I had a beautiful one given to me by a baker and I made everything with it. I lost it in a move and have never been able to get that wonderful taste again. Even the stores can’t match it. And I liked your idea of adding some rye flour to what would otherwise have been thrown out to make a stronger sour taste. That sounds really, really good. I’m trying to find a type of bread that we used to have when I was a child growing up in Germany. My father was in the Army. Their breads were so wonderful, so unlike what I’ve been able to find around here.
    Thank you for the opportunity to perhaps try the King Arthur way. Their recipes are super wonderful, that I know.

    1. I’ve also read that the longer your starter sits between use, the more sour it will be. Perhaps that will help in replicating the starter you lost? Rye flour will also help with that, though I wouldn’t recommend changing over entirely to rye. Good luck!

  17. I would love to try the sourdough waffles!

    • Linda S. on April 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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    I’d make traditional sourdough bread.

    • Carrie Hunter on April 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm
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    I love English muffins. always wanted to try making them. these look delicious 🙂

  18. I would love to try those sourdough English Muffins-Yummy!

    • Jeffrey on April 5, 2013 at 8:28 am
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    I’d go with the Rustic Sourdough loaf and serve it up with some pasta!

    • Andrea on April 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm
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    I will try the Rustic Sourdough Bread first.
    I love their flour, I always use the bread one.

  19. I think the first thing i would want to make is a classic sourdough bread 🙂

    • karen on April 6, 2013 at 2:01 am
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    I would make pizza, I love sourdough pizza!

    • Shannon C on April 6, 2013 at 10:14 am
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    I’d probably start with a basic sourdough loaf, since I’ve never made one before!

    • Bree on April 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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    I’ve always wanted to try making the sourdough english muffins…

    • Rachael on April 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm
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    Looks fantastic! Love the English muffins and the rye flour idea. My first starter failed too, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing. This looks way easier!

    • Amanda Thompson on April 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm
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    I can’t decide between trying the Rustic Sourdough Bread or the Sourdough Pizza Crust first!

    1. Guess you’ll just have to have a marathon baking session and make both!

    • Sami on April 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm
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    I think I’m totally drawn to the sourdough waffles – how fun do they look. I also love the idea of making a bunch and freezing them for the rest of the week.

    1. So much better than the frozen waffles you can buy in the grocery store! Good luck!

    • Arlene @FlourOnMyFace on April 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm
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    I have my own wild grown sourdough starter for about 4 years now but I have wanted to try the King Arthur sourdough starter for a long time.I would try your sourdough english muffin first. Matter of fact I am going to pull my starter out and feed it right now so I can make them in the morning.

    1. Ah, an experienced entrant! 🙂 It’s good to branch out and try new things though, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Gina Lo on April 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm
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    I have been wanting to make homemade pizza crust, and this seems like the perfect opportunity!

    • Mayra on April 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm
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    I’ve always wanted to try making sourdough. Maybe I’ll finally do it.

    • Carmen on April 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm
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    I’d make the English muffins – they sound so wonderful!

  20. I recently visited San Francisco and fell in love with sourdough bread all over again. I’ve never made English muffins but I would love to try.

    • rachel on April 9, 2013 at 10:15 am
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    Probably a loaf of bread but those waffles look awesome.

  21. Mmm… English Muffins!

    • Margot C on April 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm
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    I would start with the bread! How wonderful. I have always wanted to do this.

    • Christy Spurlock on April 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm
    • Reply

    Cinnamon Bread/Rolls

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