Rainy Day Baking

Hi there, how are you today? Oh, I’m so glad to have you hear with me on this dreary, soggy day.

I have an idea, let’s practice our baking. What’s that, you say? Your oven isn’t working? No matter, I have the perfect recipe for that: Sourdough English Muffins from King Arthur Flour.

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I like this recipe for a handful of reasons, it’s relatively straightforward and great for a lazy day around the house, to name two. I also like that it’s an excuse to discard some of my sourdough starter without guilt from throwing it away. If English muffins sound a bit scary, that’s ok, we’ll get through this together.

Sourdough English Muffins, recipe adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 12+ muffins

Tools & Gadgets:

  • Digital scale
  • Cast iron skillet, 12″ is great but any size will do
  • Digital thermometer

Ingredients:

  • 420 grams flour (I used half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
  • 225 grams water, lukewarm
  • 120 grams sourdough starter
  • 28 grams butter, room temperature
  • 22 g powdered goat milk
  • 12 grams sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast, active dry or instant, just shy of a packet
  • 1.5 tsp salt, kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp citric acid, optional (to increase sour flavor, I used this and didn’t notice much impact, so only use if you already happen to have it on hand)
  • Cornmeal, fine, for dusting skillet
  • Olive oil, for greasing bowl

Steps:

  • In a large bowl, mix sugar and water until sugar is dissolved, sprinkle in yeast and allow to stand until yeast appears foamy or bubbles form (we’re making sure that our yeast is viable). The yeast is responsible for making your muffins puff up, it does so by eating the sugars in the dough (sugar and flour) and releasing carbon dioxide gas. While we use sourdough starter in this recipe, it’s mostly for flavor and not so much puffiness.
  • Stir gently, then add remaining ingredients (except cornmeal), using your hands, gently combine ingredients, working from the outside edges into the center, until evenly wet, smooth dough forms, if it’s too sticky you might try adding a smidgen more flour. Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your fingers in, this will help keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rise and cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp dish towel. From here, you have 2 options: I placed my bowl directly in the fridge overnight to develop the sourdough flavor (you could leave up to 24 hours), or you could allow to rise at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours, until slightly puffy.
  • If removing dough from fridge, allow to rest on your counter until it reaches room temperature, about 2 hours, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into 1/2″ disc. If you let your dough rise on the counter, deflate and turn out onto lightly floured work surface, allow to rest another 10 minutes before rolling out.
  • Using a glass or round cutter about 3″ wide, cut out circles and place on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal to rise. Once you’ve cut all you can from the disc, combine scraps and roll out again, allow to rest a few minutes before cutting out another round of circles. I had to do this 3 times, but the final round I just split the dough in two and formed into 3″ round discs which worked fine, though these muffins rose less evenly and weren’t as pretty.
  • Allow muffins to rise on cornmeal dusted baking sheet until puffy, about an hour.
  • At the end of the rise, preheat your cast iron skillet on a large burner over med-low heat, sprinkle with cornmeal, and place muffins evenly spaced. Cook muffins about 10 minutes per side, allowing to develop some color and cook through. A digital thermometer inserted into the center should read 190 degrees fahrenheit or higher when done. Using my 12″ skillet I was able to cook my 15 muffins in 3 batches.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with butter and jam or whatever your heart desires.
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mise en place
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Sourdough starter (left) and yeast blooming (right)

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Straight out of the fridge
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Warmed to room temperature

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All puffed up

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It’s pretty apparent which muffin wasn’t rolled and cut out

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Whilst baking, first side
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After the flip

There you have it! English muffins? Sourdough? Not that scary after all.

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Delicious with butter and plum-kiwi jam

Until next time,
Dretta

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