That sounds like a mouthful, but they are easy to make, and full of flavor and nutrition!
When I was growing up, my mom made English muffins once in a while, but not as a regular part of her baking routine. She used tuna-fish cans as the mold to shape them, and as a kid I thought that was quite creative, still do! Her muffins turned out really big, but we loved them, especially with her homemade blackberry jam!
Let’s rethink these!
I think I made these once many years ago, using the tuna cans, and then sort of put them out of my mind. But, one cold November day, I found myself with sourdough starter discard to use, so I decided to revisit them with my own little twists.
It’s all about the flour
Mom made hers with white flour, white sugar, and melted butter. I jumped head-on into a total recreation to make these more heart healthy, and held my breath that it would work. 100% whole wheat bread flour would play the staring role. The brand I used was an organic bread flour from One Mighty Mill located in neighboring Massachusetts. This company stone grinds its flours on hand-carved stone mills which help to retain the natural nutrients, fiber, and flavor of the wheat. It’s pricy, but every loaf of bread I’ve made with it has had superb flavor so it is worth it! A good substitute is King Arthur organic white whole wheat flour, another recommended pantry favorite that is much easier to find, and it is also stone ground.
A little something sweet
Goodbye white sugar, I used honey instead, and actually bumped it up a tablespoon for flavor. My “house honey” of choice is from bees that have fertilized the produce on a neighboring farm. I love using this flavorful honey, and thinking of the work the bees do to feed us all, through their pollination of our produce. If you are a vegan, you may substitute a Vermont maple syrup.
The biggest change I made was adding the sourdough discard. I’ll do anything to avoid throwing it away! The extra moisture meant I needed to add a bit more flour, so I increased it by a third of a cup to compensate.
If you don’t have the discard, you can still make the muffins, just cut back on the flour to two cups. I made these with my sister and they came out great!
I didn’t have tuna cans on hand, so I used a broken quarter-cup measuring cup (I somehow snapped off the handle a while back but it’s still in my drawer) to measure out and shaped them the way my mom shaped dinner rolls, then pressed them down to flatten somewhat. The dough is pretty forgiving.
The first rise was just about an hour, the second about a half, so this was pretty quick to put together, and really easy.
Nutrition and flavor, who could ask for more?
Just 112 calories each, all whole grain, dairy free, 22 carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, no saturated fat, and a bit of potassium, iron, and calcium.
Such delicious flavor! I don’t think I want to buy English muffins ever again! Now, would someone please pass the blackberry jam?
Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough English Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ½ tsp. dry active yeast
- 1 cup sourdough starter*
- 2 tbsp. native honey or maple syrup
- 2 1/3 cup organic whole wheat flour, stone ground if available
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, starter if using, and honey. Let set for 15 minutes. You should see a little bubble action by then.
Add the flour, oil, and salt and using the dough hook, knead for about five minutes. Remove from the bowl and finish kneading by hand for a minute or so. The dough will still be just a bit sticky, so have the board floured. If kneading by hand, knead for around seven minutes. The dough will feel smooth and alive,
Place back in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a linen towel, and let rise until about double in size, or about an hour.
Prepare a baking tray by sprinkling with cornmeal. Remove the dough from bowl to gently deflate and start forming the muffins. You can use a bench scraper to divide the dough in half, guess, and continue halving to make 12. Or, use a quarter cup measuring cup to approximate the size. You can also weigh the dough, divide by 12, and portion accordingly.
Smooth the dough balls, stretching the sides under to the bottom, and using a cupped hand roll the bottom of the dough ball on an un-floured surface until it is nice and round. Place on the baking sheet and press down to flatten, and sprinkle with a little more cornmeal. Cover them all again and let rise for about a half hour.
Heat your griddle to medium high. I set mine at 350, but every griddle is different, so do a test muffin first, both for the heat and the timing. Grease the griddle, and place the muffins on to cook until the bottom is browned, then turn over. It will probably take about seven or eight minutes on the first side, and a little less on the second. Again, that test muffin will tell you all you need to know. Remember, as they cool, they will finish cooking.
You can also do this in batches in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Let cool, then split with a fork and enjoy! The fork split is essential if you want all those wonderful nooks and crannies! A bonus? They freeze nicely.
*Starter: No starter? That’s ok. Just cut back the flour to 2 cups and proceed with everything else the same.
Variation: Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon!
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