Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sourdough English Muffins

I love English Muffins. There's something about the way butter melts into the nooks and crannies in a toasted muffin, with the soft interior and the crispy toasted bits. In some ways, English muffins are better than bread. Sure, you can toast bread, but it's not the same. Not at all.

When you add sourdough flavor to and English muffin, they're even better. That hint of tang is the perfect foil to sweet jelly, but at the same time, it pairs well with cream cheese or peanut butter.

There are two basic methods for making English muffins. One is to make a dough, roll it out, cut it in rounds like you would for biscuits, and then bake it.

These English muffins use a dough that is more batter-like, and it's cooked on a griddle, like a pancake. To keep the batter from spreading, you need English muffin rings. Round metal cookie cutters or biscuit cutters would also work. Or, if you're the do-it-yourself type, you can cut the top and bottom out of small round cans, like the type that water chestnuts come in.

To get the proper craggy surface, you have to split the English muffins open rather than cut them before you toast them. Insert a fork in the side of the muffin, going all the way around the circumference of the muffin until it splits open, and you'll have that perfect uneven interior.

When you're making these, keep in mind that they aren't really done until they're toasted. You don't want to brown them too much on the griddle since they'll brown more in the toaster.

Sourdough English Muffins

1/2 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) bread flour, divided
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon butter cut in several pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast (optional)

If your starter is refrigerated, take it out of the refrigerator the day before you will use it, feed enough so that you'll be able to take out 1/2 cup of starter the next day, and leave it unrefrigerated over night. If your starter is room temperature, you don't need to wait. Put 1/2 cup of starter, 1/2 cup of water, and about 1/3 of your flour into a bowl. Stir well to combine, cover the bowl, and set aside for 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup very hot tap water, dry milk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. The water should be hot enough to melt the butter. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

After the starter mixture has rested for 60 minutes it should be very active. If it isn't, you can let it sit longer, or add 1 teaspoon of instant yeast in the next step.

Combine your two mixtures. add the remaining flour (and instant yeast if you need it), and beat well with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, it should have risen in the bowl and be light and bubbly.

Heat a griddle on medium heat and place 8 English muffin rings on the griddle (or you can do this in a large frying pan, making 4 muffins at a time). Spray the interior of the rings with nonstick spray. Using a large disher, and without stirring the batter, divide it between the 8 rings. Cover the rings with a cookie sheet or large pot lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Using a pair of tongs, flip the rings over to cook on the other side. At this point, the muffins may already be shrinking away from the sides of the rings, so you may need a spatula underneath to help you flip. Cover the rings again, and cook for another 5 minutes. The muffins should be golden brown on both sides.

Move the muffins to a rack to cool. Split them with a fork, and toast before serving.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Sara said...

Look at those nooks and crannies! The promise of English muffins alone is enough to make me want to make a sourdough starter.

Adam said...

I've tried english muffins a couple times, but never had great success. Looks like I need to try this recipe. They look great.

shevon said...

Wow! great recipe! I have lots of levain starter I need to use up, I'm so glad I found this recipe! Thanks for posting

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