Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sourdough English Muffins

I was going to make sourdough bread but then I was perusing through one of my favorite blogs and she was making sourdough English muffins. They looked so appetizing that I copied her instructions and began mixing English Muffins instead.

The recipe fits me to a T as a majority of the ingredients are mixed the night before and let set. Then in the morning you stir the bubbling mixture down, add soda, salt, and knead in another cup of flour. With my extremely limited energy level that comes and goes, doing things in spurts is exactly my style.

After mixing the dough for five minutes. Well, maybe not five minutes but I'd mixed in the last cup of flour a little at a time and then kneaded the dough a while longer until it felt right. If you're not sure what that is then you can set a timer. When finished I rolled out the dough as instructed on the blog. I just love her instructions as she cooks just like I do. she said you could pat it or roll it (referring to the dough) out to a 1/2 inch thickness. I of course didn't measure. Then use a jar lid or tuna can to cut them out and if your really fancy you can use a biscuit cutter. I love it!!

Maybe I'm paranoid but for some reason as I write this blog, I feel my former home economics teacher staring disapprovingly over my shoulder. "No mam, I did not sift the flour into my measuring cup and then run a knife across the top so that I may achieve an accurate measurement." "No, I did not level my 2 teaspoons of salt or the teaspoon of soda with a knife." "Yes Mam, I know you resent the fact that my food turns out anyway, often better than the student's food who follow your instructions carefully." I always wanted to say to her and I'll admit stick my tongue out but didn't dare since she was a grown up and I just a Junior High school student. But by the end of the year, she didn't say much to me and just let me cook. After all, I'd already been making pies, cakes, cookies, candy, bread, biscuits etc. for several years. My best friend had six younger brothers and her mom let us have free rein in the kitchen, giving helpful advice when needed. I think she was just grateful for the help feeding that ever hungry bunch.

Though as I think back, she was just following protocol and trying to help. I wonder what she'd think of all the cooking shows on t.v. today? I've yet to see a knife cross their measuring cups. Then again, I haven't seen to many shows as we don't have satellite or cable.

Sorry, I'm off topic again. When Matronfly (that's what the blogs owner calls herself) said that she never could get the English muffins to cook right on her electric stove but instead made them on her wood burning cook stove because she felt the heat enveloped them better, my brain began to whirl. What I came up with was cooking them on an electric skillet with the glass lid on. Turning the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit I let it warm up and then gently lifted the risen muffins off the cornmeal scattered cookie sheet and onto the no-stick electric skillet to which I'd melted a little butter. The muffins fell slightly but the oven like atmosphere picked them right up again.

After cooking them on one side and gently flipping them, I set them to cool on metal cooling racks, all but one muffin that is that I spread with butter and ate. Delicious! Matronfly said the electric stove left the outsides done but the insides doughy. Not so with the electric skillet and lid. They were done to perfection.

You'll find her instructions come with a starter recipe. I have my own sourdough starters, one is a start from a culture made in the late 1800's by a miner, probably made from potatoes. The other one is made from grapes and was given to me by a friend, who got it from a friend in California. I've had my grape start at least ten years. I only wish I knew which one was which. One day I had them both on the kitchen counter feeding them and had to move the bowls. I got mixed up which was which and though I've kept both going separately I still haven't figured it out. My grape start is at least ten years old.

The flavor and aggressiveness is dramatically different from the start made with store yeast. Mine being the more aggressive and has a mellow, slightly sweet taste.

They are doing scientific studies using the good bacteria of sourdough to combat cancer and having good results. And here I just thought sourdough tasted good.

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