Anyhow I set out to make these English muffins, with a twist of my own. I wanted them to be sourdough and I absolutely did not want to buy any gadgets. The answer for me was simply weighing out my dough into equal portions. It yielded slightly irregular muffins but they were pretty perfect no less. Stephen even proclaimed, “Hey they look like English muffins”. The interior was so much softer and chewier than any store bought muffin and most importantly skillet cooking reminded me of summers camping with my dad, toasting English muffins on the camp stove! They were similar to my Irish Soda Farls but with an obviously different character, the yeast and sourdough flavor did offer a lot. Although its like comparing apples and oranges they both really are reminiscent of my childhood summer camping trips (only without mosquito bites and poison ivy). The final piece to the puzzle was my home made cherry and blueberry preserves from pick your own seasons last summer. I think my favorite is still home made strawberry jam since thats what I’ve always had as a kid, its a much more robust flavor. Our blueberries here are not like the Maine bush blueberries so its almost too mild of a flavor for jam, its still remarkable in comparison to store bought anything thats for sure. Another simple breakfast made remarkable if I do say so myself!
Probably about six months back I saw a Good Eats episode on English muffins. (yes yes I know constant reference to Alton Brown but its literally the only food show I can convince Stephen to watch with me.) I immediately was in awe of the idea, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them around on King Arthur Flour’s website but honestly I was convinced it was just a ploy to con people into buying those little muffin rings. I do only buy king Arthur flour however, I’m really not a fan of all the kitchen bling per say, I buy what I need and try to avoid wasting precious cabinet space. (not to mention the shipping costs are ridiculous)
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons molasses or sugar
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
In a larger bowl combine yeast, water, molasses, oil and salt. Allow to foam and bubble, using a spoon or spatula combine about half of the flour. Stir until smooth and gently add remaining flour. (Depending on the moisture and humidity in your area you may need a little more or less) Knead on a clean surface 5-7 minutes until its smooth and springy. Place in a lightly oiled vented container such as a plastic container with a hole poked in it, or simply cover the bowl gently with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator 4-6 hours. Take dough out of the fridge and divide dough into 3 ounce portions. I only made 6 at a time and reserved the rest of the dough for another use. Using the palm of your hand flatten the dough on a clean surface and pinch this dough up into a ball. Place each portion on a cooking sheet sprinkled with corn meal dust both sides of the balls in the corn meal and place them seam side down on the pan. I used A LOT of corn meal, my house is very humid this time of year and I did not want to risk over proofed dough being melted to a pan.
Allow dough to rest at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour is usually perfect. Once your ready to fry your muffins place a cast iron skillet or large non stick pan on a burner set to medium heat. Allow the pan to heat at least 10 minutes, unless you have a griddle that you can place to 350, then by all means utilize something like that and start when your device says its reached the proper temperature. I prefer my cast iron skillet. Place 3-4 muffins in the pan at a time, you dont want to over crowd them or they will stick together. Fry the muffins about 6-8 minutes then flip them over and fry the other side 6-8 minutes. You will want to watch them carefully so they do not over brown however only flip them once or you will squish out all of those precious nooks and crannies!
Remove from the pan and tent with foil for approximately 10 minutes. This will allow them to further cooking on the inside. If you’d like you can place them in the oven but my goal with this recipe was to avoid the heat from my oven at all costs and honestly theres no point. I like to split my muffins and toast them in a skillet with butter so even if they are just slightly under done they will toast in the pan. Serve ASAP!