The Hoppy Okapi

Occasional posts about hiking and other stuff

Adventures in Sourdough IV: English Muffins January 24, 2009

Filed under: baking,bread,sourdough — Amanda @ 17:32
Tags: , , ,
Sourdough English Muffins

Sourdough English Muffins

Chuck and I are big fans of homemade “Egg McMuffins” and I recently bought some English Muffin Rings from King Arthur,  so these were high on the sourdough to-do list. It was the first time I’ve made homemade english muffins of any sort, and also the first time I’d refrigerated my starter for more than a week between uses, so I was ready for adventure when I tried these out.

I took the starter (it’s approx. 100% hydration) out the fridge in the evening and fed it, and was happy to see that it had become active overnight.

sourdoigh starter just after feeding

sourdough starter just after feeding

starter after overnight activation

starter after overnight activation

I’m really fond of the two quart measuring cup that I got recently – between the graduations on the cup and a piece of masking tape to mark the initial level of starter/dough, it’s really easy to see exactly how the dough has changed in volume.

I was using the recipe from Ed Wood’s Classic Sourdoughs as a guide, and with the help of his “Consistency Template” in an appendix I was able to convert the recipe, which called for 1/2 cup of sponge (stiffer) starter into a recipe for my liquid starter – it’s quite a handy feature of the book! For the initial rise, I took 3/4 c of my activated starter and mixed it with 7oz of flour and 6 oz of water, then let it sit for about five hours:

starter, flour, water

starter, flour, water

five hours later, ready for the final ingredients

five hours later, ready for the final ingredients

At this point, I added a cup of warm milk with 3Tbs melted butter, some salt, and four more cups of flour; then I kneaded the dough and cut it into circles using one of my English Muffin rings.

proto-muffins, at start of final rise

proto-muffins, at start of final rise

I put them onto cornmeal-covered parchment and let them rise for about an hour (they probably could have gone longer, but I was a bit time-crunched, and they ended up with some skillet-spring, so it all worked out in the end).

slightly puffy, one hour later

slightly puffy, one hour later

Cooking the muffins actually took quite a while – I don’t have the recommended electric skillet, and I didn’t want to bake them (feeling that a skillet would be more authentic), so I could only cook four or five at a time in our largest skillet. The instructions were to brown the bottoms for two minutes at 400 degrees, then turn the muffins over to cook the tops at 325 for 8 minutes, and then flip again to cook the bottoms for 6 minutes over the lower temperature. Without the tempurature control an electric skillet offers, I pretty much guessed at the temperature ranges and adjusted my gas burner flame frequently, so my muffins are rather unevenly browned.

first batch of muffins, bottoms lightly browned

first batch of muffins, bottoms lightly browned

muffin tops, lightly browned

muffin tops, lightly browned

After flipping the first batch of muffins for the final time, I was excited – they actually look like English Muffins! As soon as the last muffins finished (it took a little over an hour of muffin-flipping to get through them all), I sliced one of the cooler muffins and served it lightly toasted with butter and salt as an afternoon snack – yum! They don’t quite have the same nooks and crannies as the ones we get at the store (probably baking soda acheives that better than sourdough for these guys, but that’s another experiment altogether!), but they were fabulously tasty and the cornmeal crunch helps make them seem english muffin-y. The best part is, the recipe makes enough to enjoy for a few days AND freeze for later, so we still have some left to enjoy.

Another batch, better-browned than the first

another batch, better-browned than the first

Check out Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast for other fabulous baking ideas! This is my first submission, but I’m looking forward to adding more as my Adventures In Sourdough continue!


6 Responses to “Adventures in Sourdough IV: English Muffins”

  1. limeandlemon Says:

    Looks delicious .. nicely done .. Laila ..

  2. Perfect perfect English muffins. Thanks for joining YeastSpotting!

  3. […] Sourdough English Muffins […]

  4. Elle Says:

    These look so good! I’d love to find out what does make those ‘nooks and crannies’ like the ones in the store. Beautiful use of sourdough for the muffins!

  5. I am so impressed you attempted these! I started a wild yeast starter a few days ago. It’s getting active so I’m searching for things to make. These look perfect!

  6. Janie Says:

    Regarding those nooks and crannies-home made English Muffins tend not to have them…They resemble some of the more expensive ones sold. But it is possible to make them with nooks and crannies. The recipes I have seen are made without sour dough and yeast is used.
    Some recipes have bread flour mixed with regular flour and some just use regular flour. (seems to me a long time ago I read that they use an ingredient to make those nooks and crannies but I don’t remember what it was now…so maybe it is a quest for someone here to figure it out)

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