Yes, I know, English muffins are "supposed to be" cooked on a griddle or in a skillet. These aren't, and they "taste like an English muffin," according to my husband. The little breads are baked, which makes the process far easier and faster than cooking the English muffins on a griddle. A dozen or so English muffins bake while you do other things in the kitchen. How do the little breads taste? As my husband said, "like an English muffin." They have a slight sourdough tang, which is tempered with a little sugar and honey in the dough. The recipe incorporates whole-wheat flour for nutrition and to give the little breads a nice, slightly nutty taste. If you're looking for deep brown tops and bottoms on the English muffins, no problem. When you're ready to eat the little breads, pop them in the toaster. The tops and bottoms brown quite nicely. How about the nooks and crannies? They have those, too, although not so many as to cause your jam to ooze through onto your fingers. Is it worth making them? Well, I think so. The English muffins are fresh, you know what you put in them--no weird chemicals/preservatives that you don't want--and they're great to have on hand for breakfast. Smeared with peanut butter, they also make a quick, healthy snack.
Easier Baked Sourdough English Muffins -- Makes about 12
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
2 tablespoons of canola oil
3 tablespoons of milk powder (yes, the dried, powdered stuff)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 cup of warm water
1 cup of whole-wheat flour
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients listed above until everything is well combined. Let the mixture sit on your counter for 3-5 hours. It will about double in volume, but don't worry about it. You just want to let the sourdough process do its thing and give yourself time to do other things as well (like work? or work out?). When you're ready, add the following:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
Mix the flour and salt into the first mixture until everything is well incorporated. You'll need to to knead (yes!) the dough a few minutes, but you can do this in the bowl. Dust a piece of baking parchment (cut it to fit your baking sheet) with cornmeal (1-2 tablespoons). With your hands, tear off pieces of the dough and form small dough balls, each a little larger than a golf ball, rolling the balls in your hands until they're fairly smooth (think good thoughts while you're doing this--kind of like dough therapy). Roll the balls in the cornmeal to coat them. Repeat the process, making about 12 dough balls. Space the dough balls an equal distance apart on the baking parchment (at least a couple of inches apart), slide the parchment onto a baking sheet, and flatten the balls slightly with your hand (you don't want them skittering off when you slide the baking sheet into the oven--trust me, you don't). Let the dough balls rise for an hour or two or until about doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the dough balls for 8-9 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and with a spatula, GENTLY push down on each partially baked dough ball. You want to FLATTEN the dough balls until they're about an inch thick (or a smidge more, you don't need to measure, just eyeball them). Put the baking sheet back in the oven and bake the English muffins for another 8-10 minutes or until they are firm and just a little brown. Remove the English muffins from the oven and let them cool completely. When you're ready to eat the English muffins, toast them in the toaster, split them, and then slather them with butter, jam, or whatever you'd like.