Here’s an easy sourdough version of the famous English Muffin. Actually, the muffin is just a more bread-y form of the traditional crumpet. The Brits don’t call them English Muffins, only us American types do. They just call them muffins. This isn’t exactly the traditional version, it is a fairly easy sourdough variety that we like rather much. Goes very handily with Eggs Benedict, our primary use for them.
Figure a two day process. While the can be eaten fresh out of the pan, for toasted use (like the Eggs Benedict) they do better the day after. For weekend use I usually start a batch Friday night, cook them Saturday, use them Sunday for Eggs Benedict and freeze the rest. On the frozen jobbies I take them out the day before I want them and let them thaw in a plastic bag that is not sealed all the way – more like ¼ unsealed – we don’t want them soggy.
The Night Before:
90 g sourdough starter (1/2 cup)
15 g honey (1 Tbs)
240 g milk (1 cup)
290 g unbleached white flour (2 cups)
Mix starter, honey and milk in mixing bowl until smooth. Add flour and mix in. Cover with plastic and leave at room temperature in a draft free place.
The Next Morning:
1/2 tsp baking soda
180 g unbleached white flour (1 cup + or -)
1 tsp kosher salt
cornmeal for sprinkling
The Next Morning:
Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the surface of the dough. Add flour.
Mix on 1st speed 3 minutes. Mix on 2nd speed 3 minutes. Should be supple and slightly sticky. If you are doing this by hand just mix and knead until you get the right feel, probably around 10 minutes or so. You may need to adjust the flour up or down a bit until the feel is right.
Lightly roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick on a well-floured board. Take a 3 inch round cutter and cut rounds. An empty tuna can works ok if you don’t have the right sized cutter handy.
Put them on lightly greased sheet and cover with another lightly greased plastic sheet. Alternatively, use cornmeal sprinkled waxed paper for the bottom, sprinkle cornmeal over the top, cover with waxed paper. (The cornmeal routine is more traditional).
Rise an hour or more.
Preheat a griddle or large skillet with a light coating of butter, and heat until the butter sizzles. Use low heat or they will burn. Yeah, sure, you could use a non-stick skillet with no lube, but an iron skillet and butter makes for a better taste. Cook the first side for about 4 minutes and turn them over. About 4 minutes for the second side. Resist temptation! Only cook each side once. What you want is golden to dark brown but not burned. This can be fun to judge since you can’t see the bottom. At least I can’t, I seem to have misplaced my x-ray vision some years back.
This will make about 8 or so.
One of these days I’ll get around to writing up the traditional muffins. They are a bit more of a pain and involve a more liquid batter and proper muffin rings. I suppose I also ought to write up crumpets eventually. They are really very good.