While searching for something to do with my sourdough discards, I came across this recipe the other day. Although it uses all purpose flour, I thought I'd try it and see if I could eventually make a whole wheat version. But first try, I wanted to bake it with the ingredients the recipe called for.
Unfortunately, that is about all I did, in terms of following the recipe. This recipe calls for a slow fermentation in the refrigerator, and I didn't have the time. I knew that this meant the flavours would not develop completely, but I was still hoping that the English Muffins I was making would have a nice rise. The last time I tried this with sourdough discards, I was using baking powder to make English Crumpets. This method uses yeast and a long refrigerated fermentation for English Muffins. Since I was using neither, how could I expect these to turn into nice holey English Muffins?
I decided to play with the recipe as well, because I had another idea in the back of my mind for another bread. So I doubled the recipe and would use half for my English Muffins and half for my latest idea. It was to be a day of pure dough play.
The original recipe is here, thank you homesteading blogspot. It uses only 1 cup of sourdough (that is why I thought I'd double it, otherwise I was going to be tossing a cup each of rye and whole wheat). I reproduce it here for my own use, but anyone else should see the original.
- 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, (sourdough starter), water, molasses, oil and salt.
Wait five minutes and then add 1/2 the flour, stirring until smooth.
Continue to add flour until it won't stir.
Then turn it out on a floured countertop to incorporate the rest by kneading.
Once it is smooth and springy, place in an oiled bowl and cover it.
Original instructions are to refrigerate it 4-6 hours.
Then take it out and divide into 3 oz or 85g portions.
Form them into mini boules, dip in corn meal and place on baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal.
Let rest until doubled, about an hour.
Fry the muffins in a skillet preheated 10 minutes, set between low and medium heat.
Fry the muffins in the pan 6-8 minutes on one side, then 6-8 minutes on the other side.
Remove the muffins and pile them up under foil so that they continue to cook their insides.
To eat, slice them and toast them or fry them.
The changes I made to the recipe:
It isn't clear from the original recipe when to add the starter. I added it with the yeast and water, in other words right away. I also didn't add warm water, I added cold water. Needless to say, there was no foaming action in this wetness, not even after 5 minutes. Something was happening under the oil layer, though. I didn't think to snap a picture because I was using all purpose and it didn't seem to fit into the blog. Later though, I changed my mind and began snapping a few photos.
It has been so long since I made an all purpose loaf, I was once again surprised by how quickly the gluten forms, and how well the dough holds together because of it. No wonder home bakers generally avoid whole wheat. It just doesn't perform the same way at all. So you think you are failing all the time.
I let the double recipe rise in an oiled bowl about an hour and a half. At that point, I divided it, and set aside one half for my other experiment this morning, and continued on with the half recipe to make these 'muffins'.
I measured out the first 85g piece of dough, but after that, I just guessed, so some of the tiny boules I was forming are either a little bit heavy or a little bit light. And I didn't have any corn meal, so instead I just dusted my little buns/muffins with corn flour.
They rose in about an hour, and then I fried them. I found it difficult to get the right heat. Medium on our stove is too hot, and the corn flour burned until I turned it down a bit. And of coure, there were never any of the actual English Muffin style holes in the crumb. These tasted like English Muffins on the crust, but they were really just buns.
But the smell of them baking was making my wife hungry, so I toasted a couple of them, still warm, and she had them with honey. I asked her how she liked it. "Tastes good, but there is all this flour on the outside of them that is too thick." She was out on the deck, try ing to brush off the corn flour.
Notes to Myself
- Try this again using the recipe. Use delayed fermentation in the fridge; use cornmeal.
- Try this again using some whole wheat and some rye flours. You probably will need to keep about 50% of it at least all purpose though.
- Heat the skillet to somewhere between low and medium.