Monday, May 20, 2013

Pip Pip Cheerio! English Muffins 2.0

I know I've posted about EnglishMuffins before. And I know I've posted about sourdough before. I can't help myself. I love all things sourdough (even cookies!) and when you add in the low level of effort it takes to get hot, fresh English Muffins on the weekend, there's just no way I can resist these.

The best part about these – other than eating them – is that almost all of the work happens overnight while I sleep, thanks to the magic of the sourdough starter. Also, unlike many other English Muffin recipes, these don't require any special equipment; the dough is thick enough that you don't need rings to contain and shape it.

This is a wet starter
This is also a wet starter.

Friday night, mix your starter, flour, and milk. The only complicated part of the recipe is judging how much milk to use. The original recipe for these calls for a difference depending on whether your starter is wet or stiff. Unfortunately, “wet” is a fairly broad term – my starter varies from a pancake batter consistency to something closer to muffin batter. Both qualify as “wet” starters.

Yep, beer time!
Basically, I eyeball it, adding a little more milk or flour until the resultant sponge comes together in a loose ball when I stir it, but it's still visibly wet and sticky.

Then, cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and go enjoy your evening. Your work is done for the next 8-12 hours.

Salt, baking soda, and honey.
In the morning, the sponge should be quite a bit thicker than it was when you went to bed, but still fairly loose. Mix in the last three ingredients: salt, baking soda, and honey (or molasses). Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and sprinkle some cornmeal on it.

Seriously, don't skimp.  This stuff is sticky.

Now you are ready to cut out your English Muffins. Due to the consistency of the dough, it is essential to put down a good layer of flour on the counter. Use more than you think you need and cover a larger area than you think you should. Trust me on this. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and flatten out to 3/4” thick. Cut out in 3-inch rounds, using whatever you have on hand: biscuit cutter, water glass, mason jar ring, etc. Re-form the scraps to cut out more (make sure there's more flour underneath the dough!) until you've used all the dough.

Place the rounds on the oiled cookie sheet and sprinkle more cornmeal on top. Cover them with a towel and go drink coffee for an hour or so. You've earned it!

Just after cutting out
Nice and poofy!
After the muffins have rested and risen for about an hour, it's time to cook them. Heat a griddle to 350 or a skillet to medium-high (I turn the dial to 7). Once it's heated, cook the muffins for 4-5 minutes per side. They are done when the sides are firm and they are browned on both sides. You'll notice that these poof up quite a bit while they cook. Mine usually deflate once they cool off, but retain the soft, chewy texture they get from their griddle “spring”.

While you are cooking the English Muffins, fry up some eggs and bacon to stuff inside that little bit of deliciousness. Or skip the protien and go for butter and jam, which is Zoey's favorite. Breakfast is served!
A perfect breakfast sandwich, complete with Tapatio!
These are also a great size to use for hamburgers if you don't have buns.  I rarely have hamburger buns, and I'm still trying to find a recipe that I can consistently get good results from.  These, however, I almost always have on hand, and they work wonderfully!

½ cup active sourdough starter
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup milk (if using a stiff starter, use 1 ¼ cup milk)
1 T honey
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
cornmeal for dusting

  1. Mix starter, flour, and milk until a loose dough forms. Cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  2. In the morning, add honey, baking soda, and salt and mix well.
  3. Turn out onto a floured board, sprinkling more flour on top of the dough
  4. With your hands, flatten the dough to ¾” and cut out 3” rounds
  5. Place rounds on an oiled cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal, dusting the top with more cornmeal.
  6. Cover and let rise for about an hour
  7. Cook on skillet or griddle heated to medium-high (350 degrees or turn dial to 7) for 4-5 minutes on each side

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