Breakfast will always hold my heart. I love every meal of the day, don’t get me wrong, but the meal I get the most excited about eating is breakfast. Call me crazy, but when I menu plan I include breakfast too. I can’t handle eating the same thing every day for breakfast. There are too many yummy things to eat at this time of day. You get to enjoy them along with a cup of tea or coffee, when the world is still quiet and the busyness of the day hasn’t started yet. It’s a time to quiet your mind and enjoy those bites to their full potential.
I know you must be wondering how I can possibly talk this way about breakfast when I have two little mouths to feed. I have a secret to tell you. I don’t eat breakfast with them. The mornings are rushed getting Max ready for school and this time of day is so important to me that I get them fed while preparing for the day and wait to eat my own breakfast once we’re back home and the house is still. It’s like a reset button after starting the day so harried. While I think it’s very important to share meals together as a family I have been loving this routine. I don’t do it every day but when I can I savour it to it’s fullest.
English muffins are a beautiful blank canvas to top with whatever you are feeling that day. I’ve made them quite a few times before but it always felt like a little too much effort to be made on a regular basis. Since I’m whole wheating everything up these days I decided to take another crack at it. I’m so happy I did because these will now be a regular in our home.
This starts with a whole wheat sourdough base (I use this sourdough starter, it is so, so easy. And this time I used whole wheat in place of regular flour – it worked great!), it sits overnight to get bubbly, then you stir in some honey, salt and baking soda, give it a quick knead, pat it down and cut out circles.
After that you let it rise before giving it a quick pan fry on the stove top and finishing it off in the oven. Baking them in the oven after the initial pan fry ensures that you are not standing at the oven for what feels like forever and helps the english muffins to cook through without browning too much in the pan. The dough is soft and sticky but as long as you keep things well floured it is very easy to work with.
The results give the perfect consistency. Crisp on the outside with a nice chew on the inside. The nooks and crannies aren’t quite as big as the commercial ones but they are there! The telling sign? When you split them with a fork, when they give way through the outer layer of crust, it’s as if they hit a pocket of air. Swoon!
We enjoy them the most as breakfast sandwiches, for breakfast or lunch. When I get home I drop an egg in the frying pan, top it with cheese and slice of ham, sandwich it between two mayonnaised, toasted, english muffins and my day starts on a high note.
How do you breakfast?
- ½ cup sourdough starter*
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon liquid honey (or creamed honey, melted)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- cornmeal, for dusting
- Stir together starter and milk. Stir in whole wheat flour until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 hours, or overnight.
- In the morning, stir in honey, salt and baking soda, with a spoon. The mixture will be sticky and loose. Transfer to a well floured surface and knead for two minutes. Adding flour as necessary. You do not want to add too much flour as you want the mixture to stay loose. Add just enough to keep it from getting too sticky while kneading. (your fingers will get dough on them, just wash them off before proceeding to the next step)
- Dust the surface with additional flour, dust the top of the dough with flour. Using your fingers flatten the dough to approximately ¾" thick. Using a jar or round cutter cut out circles of dough (you may need to dust the cutter with flour to keep from sticking). I found after cutting, moving the cutter around in a circular motion to help release the dough formed the best english muffin shape. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Gather dough scraps and continue shaping until all of dough is used. Dust tops lightly with additional cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes to one hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 325ºF. Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Carefully transfer muffins to the preheated skillet (I use a spatula, which works great to slide under if you have coated the sheet well with cornmeal). Cook until golden brown on the bottom (2-4 minutes). Flip and cook on the other side until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and continue process until all muffins are browned, adjusting heat as necessary to avoid over browning. Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool completely before splitting with a fork and toasting.
- Split the english muffins before freezing so they can be pulled out and popped straight into the toaster.
*Here is a recipe for sourdough starter. I made mine with whole wheat flour.
Adapted from The Fresh Loaf.