This week’s BBA Challenge was English Muffins. For some reason, my friends in Britain simply refer to these as “muffins”. (I wonder what they call the muffins we eat for breakfast, like blueberry muffins?) And what do the French call French toast? The Spanish, Spanish peanuts? The Irish, Irish stew? Ah, but I digress.
I had made this bread before, but to be honest, I don’t recall whether it was PR’s recipe or a different one. I don’t recall finishing the muffins in the oven, so I suspect it was another recipe.
I followed PR’s recipe, except for the following departures:
- I doubled the recipe. As others have pointed out, I knew six muffins wouldn’t last long around here.
- I substituted sourdough starter (actually discard) for part of the flour and water.
- I used water and buttermilk powder in place of the milk/buttermilk.
- Due to a Sunday afternoon nap, I overproofed the dough a bit.
Also, since I was doubling the recipe and had made muffins before, I decided to make six muffins and one loaf.
I used 15 ounces of sourdough starter discard in the recipe. Since I keep my starter at 100% hydration (the weight of flour and water are equal), I knew I was adding 7.5 ounces each of flour and water, so I adjusted my ingredients accordingly. As I mixed the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer, I could tell it was too sticky, so I added a bit of flour to make it tacky. After about 8 minutes of kneading, I put the dough in an oiled bowl to ferment.
At the end of the fermentation period, I weighed out dough into six 3-ounce muffins, rolled them into balls, and shaped the remaining dough into a loaf. That’s when I lay down for a nap. Luckily, I set the timer for 90 minutes. By the time it beeped, the dough looked like this:
I was surprised how much the dough in the loaf pan had risen. When I panned it, it barely reached the edges of the pan; after an hour-and-a-half, it had crested the pan. And the muffins had risen to the size of baseballs. The combination of the sourdough and yeast made for a very active dough. I thought the dough might have overproofed, but I couldn’t tell for sure until I started baking the muffins.
I preheated the griddle to 350 degrees F, oiled it lightly, and then placed the dough on it. After 8 minutes, I flipped the muffins. They had baked beautifully on the first side, but hadn’t started to flatten at all.
I baked them on the griddle for another 8 minutes. Again, they browned nicely but didn’t flatten. As noted above, I didn’t remember finishing the muffins in the oven the last time I made them, but these muffins would obviously require some oven time to finish baking through. By the time the muffins and loaf were done, they looked like this:
The muffins were baked through, although they were lacking the nooks and crevices you expect from English muffins. They had a definite sourdough flavor, which was really nice.
I enjoyed these muffins and will make them again. I would do them with sourdough again, too; but I’ll pay closer attention to keep them from overproofing.