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Sourdough English Muffins

Another recipe stolen from the net. This time, it's Jo-Ann who provided this stunning English Muffin Recipe. The taste is awesome. My son, who was about 10 when this happened and whoSourdough English Muffins didn't like English Muffins, had three of them for breakfast. The next day we made Eggs Benedict, and he announced he liked the English Muffins better "without all that stuff on them".

I kinda wonder where he is on the topic now.  We've made them recently, and should have photographed them - between the better muffins and a better camera, the picture would have looked much better.  More to the point, the home made ones were - as usual - SO much better than the store bought!  We were sad when we ran out, and it is clearly time to make more!

Most of the work is done the night before, so you can probably serve (or just eat) these about 2 hours after you get started on the second part.

The Night Before:
(This started as a recipe from: Bake Your Own Bread By Stan & Floss Dworkin, and it isn't clear how much is Stan and Floss, and how much is Jo-Ann.)

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage (4)
1 CupStarter260 Grams50%
2 TBSPHoney42 Grams8%
2 CupsMilk (1)484 Grams93%
4 CupsUnbleached All-Purpose Flour520 Grams100%

  1. I prefer fresh, whole milk.  You may use lower fat milks or non-dairy milks, but they won't be the same.  We tried reconstituted instant milk, and they were never as good, having a cooked milk flavor.

Mix starter, honey and milk in mixing bowl until smooth. Add the flour, 2 C at a time, and mix in. There's no need for gluten development now, so do not whip-just get all the flour thoroughly wet. Cover with clean towel and leave at room temperature in a draft free place.

The Next Morning:

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage (4)
All of itStarter from aboveAll of it - around 1,300 grams, though starters lose variable amounts of weight overnight1004%
1 tspBaking Soda4 Grams3%
1 CupUnbleached all-purpose flour130 Grams100%
2 tspSalt12 Grams9.2% (1)

  1. The amount of salt seems high, but remember there's a LOT of flour in the previous night's starter.  When you consider all the flour, it is closer to 1.5% salt, which is very reasonable.

You will also need some cornmeal to dust the English Muffins.

Stir down mixture from last night (it will have risen considerably). If it has risen too high and fallen, no problem, just stir down the rest of the way. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the surface of the dough and stir it in.

Flour your work surface with the flour (you may use twice as much, if needed) and knead until the dough is medium stiff - enough to roll out. Once you have enough flour in (I go by feel-never too dry and always moist) and the dough no longer sticks to your hands, give it another 5 minute kneading.

Get 2 baking sheets or jelly roll pans and line with baker's parchment sprinkled with corn meal.

Flour your work surface again and lightly roll dough to Sourdough English Muffins Nutritional Analysisabout 1/2-inch thick. Take a 3 inch round cutter (a bit larger diameter and different shapes are OK) and cut as many rounds as you can.  Roll the left over dough out and cut more until the dough is all used up. Try to keep them very uniform in thickness and diameter.

As you cut each round, place on waxed paper that has been sprinkled with corn meal - don't allow raw muffins to touch--they will stick. When all rounds are cut, sprinkle corn meal over tops of muffins.

Allow to rise in warm place, covered, for about an hour or until risen again.  This is a great place to do any other breakfast preparations, or go take the shower you put off so you could start making the muffins for breakfast.

Now Comes The FUN Part!
Preheat a griddle - I like a non-stick electric griddle for this - with a TINY bit of butter, until butter sizzles. Use a low flame or heat setting so the inside of the muffin bakes and outside does not burn. Cook one side for about 4 minutes and turn. The original recipe said to squish the muffin down a bit with a spatula after flipping it - I'm not sure that's a good idea.  Try doing it and not doing it and see which you prefer.  In any case, cook the other side for about 4 minutes. Turn only once so be sure the one side is cooked before turning. While you can skip the butter if you have a non-stick skillet, they won't taste as good without it!

They look like store bought, and taste supreme!

Enjoy and have fun.
Jo-Ann

Mike comments... while the muffins taste great, they don't have the texture I usually associate with English Muffins - no big holes. I figure, maybe it's me, so I'm still working on it.  I wonder if squishing the muffins is part of the problem?

It's 2008, if only barely, and I STILL haven't gotten back to this recipe. However, I have received a number of emails in regards to this recipe. And the common theme is, "don't be in a hurry, let the muffins rise a bit longer and you'll get the big holes you're looking for!" Another message I received was from an English lady who told me that in England the muffins don't have holes as large as I seem to be expecting, so the muffins are probably right on target.

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