I'm pretty sure I can not get any lazier at this point. It's only a couple of weeks into summer (unofficially summer begins in March here in Phoenix IMHO) and the triple digits are making me tired and cranky. Even a trip to the store gives my such a bad headache I have to lay down for 20 minutes when I get back. Crazy. You'd think I would have gotten accustomed to the heat after living here for 30 some odd years. Nope and nope.
I did manage to make a quick batch of sour dough English muffins the other day for breakfast and decided they are my new favorite thing. The smell of sour dough baking is almost as good as that first bite into the warm bread. Almost.
Making my own English muffins has been on my bucket baking list for way too long. I've heard how easy they are to make but buying the at the store is even easier right? Right, buuuuut the taste comparison is in huge favor of the home made variety. When I came across this recipe that called for making them on the stove top in under 10 minutes instead of heating up the house by using the oven I knew it was time to get busy.
I've had a batch of sour dough starter given to me by my mom for over 10 years now. Those of you who aren't familiar with sour dough starter might be all like, "ewwwww, 10 year old dough starter?" and those of you who are familiar with it know the older the sour dough starter, the better it is. Liquid gold in fermentation form.
What is sour dough starter and how do you get your hands on some?
I'm glad you asked. It's basically a mixture of flour and water that has been set out on the counter top for several days and ferments thanks to wild yeast which is found in the air all around you.
Sooooo, why doesn't the mixture get gross and moldy if it's left out on the counter top for a week?
Another great question!
The starch in bread flour is something that not a lot of bacteria can easily handle, while sugar is. Yeast, on the other hand, creates special enzymes to deal with starch. The yeast and lactobacilli also destroy the culture with the alcohol and lactic acid they produce, and that keeps other bacteria out.
Why does wild yeasted bread have such a complex flavor compared to bread leavened with commercial yeast? I thought you'd never ask! When flour and water are left out for several days, naturally occurring yeast in the air and the flour, usually saccharomyces exiguus and bacteria, mostly lactobacillus and acetobacillus feed off the sugars released by the enzymes in the dough. Lactobacillus and acetobacillus create the sour flavor in the form of lactic and acetic acids. Around the San Francisco Bay Area, a naturally occurring bacteria called lacobacillus san francisco is responsible for the sourdough flavor.
So if your not lucky enough to have had some sour dough starter passed down to you, you can easily make your own. It takes just 2 ingredients and a few days of patiently waiting and VOILA you have your very own sour dough starter! When ever you take out a cup or two for baking bread, pancakes or these Sour Dough English Muffins you simply add more flour and water, mix and let it sit out on the counter top for a few more days. After 3-5 days when it gets little fizzy bubbles going on you stick it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.
For a great, step by step guide on how to get a sour dough starter started click here.
I'll never buy store bought English muffins again! These are so easy peasy to make.
Mix up your dough in an electric mixer, roll it out, cut into circles (I used a 1 cup measuring cup), let rise for 1 hour on a cookie sheet dusted with corn meal, transfer to a skillet brushed with coconut oil and cook on each side for 5 minutes. That's it.
recipe adapted from The Woks of Life
TIME 1 HOUR (RISING) 20 MINUTES YIELDS 2 DOZEN MUFFINS
4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup luke warm water
2/3 cup plain yogurt
* 1 cup sour dough starter
fine corn meal for dusting
coconut oil for brushing on pan
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add water, sour dough starter and yogurt, and mix into a soft dough. Using your dough attachment, knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time until it is not sticky and forms a ball. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
On a clean surface dusted with flour, roll dough out to a thickness of about ¾ inch. Cut out circles with a 3 inch round cutter. Sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal, and place the circles on it. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.
Heat a flat griddle pan until hot and brush with oil. Add the muffins and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes, six minutes on each side, until firm and golden brown. Turn only once. Serve with butter and jam.
*No packaged yeast is needed because the sour dough starter has wild yeast in it.
This can be made without sour dough starter by adding 1 more cup of water and 1/2 less cup of flour plus 1 package of quick rising yeast.
We used these the next day for breakfast sandwiches, YUM! They will be great for Eggs Benedict too.
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