Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sourdough Honey Whole-Wheat English Muffins

This recipe is not a lot of work, but it does require a bit of a commitment, so if you're a commitment-phobe, you might just want to buy a package of whole wheat English muffins and be done with it.

Ah, but where's the fun in that, especially when you can make your own sour dough starter and then cook up a fresh batch of whole wheat English muffins that will have your family and friends saying, "You made these?"

So, bear with me here (or, if you prefer, just go ahead and laugh at me and move on!).  The biggest commitment comes with creating the sour dough starter, which takes three days.  Once you have the starter established, you can keep it going in your fridge and, with a little thinking ahead, can whip up a lovely plate of English muffins that are so much better (and likely better for you) than store bought.

The recipe for the sourdough starter and the English muffins both come from Vegetarian Times.  You'll find more sourdough recipes there, too!

Sourdough Starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon quick-rise (not regular) yeast

Use a quart glass jar with a wide mouth.  Stir the flour and yeast together and then add 1 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees).  Place the lid loosely on the jar and let sit a warmish (70+) spot for 12 hours.

Stir the starter and discard half (or, if you're ambitious, use the half you'd toss out to start another jar).  To the remaining starter, add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup lukewarm water and stir to combine.  Repeat this step every 12 hours for the next three days (72 hours).  (Hey! I said it was a commitment!)

The starter is now ready to use for the English muffin recipe.  Any remaining starter can be put in the refrigerator.  It should be fed and/or used within a week.  To feed the starter, stir it down and then remove half (use this starter in a recipe or discard).  If you have 1 cup of starter left, then stir in 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water and put it back in the fridge.  (If you have 1/2 cup starter left, stir in 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water.)

Sourdough Honey Whole-Wheat English Muffins
The dough for this recipe needs to sit overnight to develop, so it takes a little planning ahead (that is, once you've made the sourdough starter).
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt.
cornmeal for dusting (the finer the cornmeal, the better, but use what you have)

In a large bowl, stir the starter, whole-wheat flour, honey and water until well combined.  Cover loosely and let sit overnight.  This mixture will get very bubbly!

The next day, stir together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.  Add this to the whole-wheat dough.  Stir until well combined.  Add more of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticky.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured board to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out muffins using about a 3-inch round cutter (I used the top of a large, wide glass).  Depending upon the size of your cutter, you should get between 6 and 8 muffins.  Dust tops and bottoms with cornmeal, cover loosely and let sit for about an hour until the muffins are a bit puffy.

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat for about a minute.  Lightly spray with cooking oil and turn heat down to medium.  Cook muffins about 3 to 5 minutes per side, until they're nicely browned on both sides.  You'll be surprised by how much they rise while they're cooking!  Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  Makes between 6 and 8 muffins.

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