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Multi-Grain Muffins October 16, 2008

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, food porn, random stuff, Sourdough.
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You know, I don’t know why I gripe and complain so about fall. Well, yes I do. 🙄 But besides the leaves that need raking, the mountains of other yard work, and the thought of winter yet to come, autumn is pretty darn cool! Heh. I made a pun. rotfl.gif

Seriously, though, you may have noticed that one of my all-time favorite things is food. Cooking it, smelling it, eating it, I love food. And if there’s one thing that fall is great for is, it’s baking. And soups, roasts and stews, but that’s another show. 😀

And of course sourdough. yummy.gif Bread. Italian bread. Wheat bread. Potato bread. Rye bred. And pizza crust. But baking isn’t just done in the oven, though. Oh, no, no, no. 😆 You may remember a few months back when I experimented with the sourdough English muffins. All the baking is done right on the electric griddle. Well, the griddle and the toaster. But still. It’s a very hands-on sort of thing. 🙂

Anyway, we’ve taken the English muffins to the next level. Or something. 🙄

PhotobucketQuite a while back, we came across a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated magazine for an excellent multi-grain sandwich bread, using hot cereal. Basically, the cereal that you can pick up right in the grocery store is a bag of various grains – exactly what you want in your bread, and you save yourself the trouble of trying to assemble all the various grains individually. 😀 Well, not individually – that sounds like I’m trying to line up one grain at a time, and that would be silly. 😆

So anyway, we’ve made it a point since then to keep some sort of multi-grain cereal in the house all the time, not just for breakfast, but for bready applications, as well. 😉

And one of the things I so love about Cooks Illustrated (and their counterpart, America’s Test Kitchen, as well as Good Eats) is that it’s not just about the recipes – it’s about technique. Learning not just what, but how and why. So I’ve taken the knowledge I acquired while making the bread and applied it to my English muffins. I’m just that good. 😆

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First I substitute 1 cup of flour in the original recipe with 1 cup of the cereal. The 2 cups of milk will be reconstituted powdered milk.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, stir together 1 cup cereal with 1 cup boiling water. Give the boiling water a chance to soften the cereal and to cool a bit, then add a cup of cooler water. Let the mixture cool to “warmish” before adding, then stir:

  • 1 cup proofed starter
  • 3 Tbsp. molasses (Peeps actually prefers honey)
  • 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 2 cups (unbleached) flour (I like to use 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat)

PhotobucketI actually usually add the starter last, just to be on the safe side, but as long as you’ve thoroughly cooled the cereal mixture, it’s fine.

Then you just stir it together – it will be a wet, sticky mess – a “sponge.” Or maybe a “biga.” I can never remember which is which. 🙄

Either way, just throw a towel over it, and shove it to the back of the counter, and walk away.

Yup. Just leave it on the counter overnight. Really. 😯

Have I mentioned that this is a “weekend” project? Uh, yeah. You’re gonna want to wake up your yeasty beasties Friday morning, and put together the sponge (or biga) on Friday evening. 😳

Photobucket So, with the magic of internet time, it’s the next morning. 🙂

Take a peek under the towel, and Oh My Goodness! 😉

What was kind of a slimy liquidy mess last night is now, um, a puffy, oozy, BEAST! 😆

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We’re going to gently stir down the mixture – it’s not quite a “dough” yet, but I hesitate to call it a “batter,” either. 🙄 Work in a teaspoon of baking soda and about 2 to 2½ teaspoons of kosher salt. (Remember, though, if you use table salt, cut that down to about 1½ teaspoons!)

Knead in a cup of unbleached flour, and up to another, just until the dough is workable. It’s still going to be a fairly wet dough, but that’s why I’ve discovered how much I love using the stand mixer for this! 😆

Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, and (guess what) cover and shove in the fridge. Overnight. You don’t have to do another overnight wait, but you’ll be happy if you do. Or at least, if you like nice, sour sourdoughyness, you’ll be happy. Let’s just say you do and you will, OK? 🙂

PhotobucketSo here it is the next morning. What is it now, Sunday? 😆

The dough has risen – even in the fridge, it’s puffed right up, hasn’t it? 😯 And because it’s risen so slowly, it’s had plenty of time for some lovely sourdough action, and you’re going to have a much more tasty finished product. The idea is the same for bread, pizza crust, and even those refrigerator rolls that you’re supposed to be able to make a bunch of, shove in the fridge, and pull off as much or as little as you need when you need it. Slow rising = developed flavor = extra yummy.

Beyond this point, the multi-grain muffins are essentially the same as the original English muffins. Pat the dough to about half to three-quarters of an inch thick.

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Cut your dough into 3-4 inch rounds – I use the third-from-the-biggest size of my biscuit cutters. I’m not sure exactly what size it it, but it’s not too big, and it’s not too small – it’s just right. 😉

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Set the muffins on a corn meal-coated pan and cover with another towel. Actually, you can use the same towel that you used before, but just cover them and walk away – this time for just an hour or so. Give them a chance to rise. 🙂

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Once the muffins have risen nicely, grill at about 325° until the bottoms are nicely browned. I like to use the electric griddle – it holds the temperature nicely, and there’s lots of room. You could also use a big cast iron frying pan if you wanted – it would maintain a temperature about as well as anything else. Up to you. 🙂

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Anyway, once browned on the bottom, turn the muffins over and gently mash them with a spatula. 😯

By pressing down, you’re creating a “seam” – that line in the middle of the “fork split” muffins that tells you where to, well, split them. 😀

Keep cooking until the bottom is browned and the muffins are done through.

I stick an instant-read thermometer right in the middle – don’t be bashful! The hole is right where you’re going to cut it anyway, and honestly, I’d rather have a little hole in the side of my muffin and know it’s done than have the inside be . . . not done. Blech. yuck.gif Ultimately, it’s going to take, on a low heat, maybe 8-10 minutes to cook. Remember, though, they’re very thick, and by the time they’re cooked all the way through, the outside is going to be fairly well browned. If that bothers you, just don’t make them as thick, that’s all. 😉

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And that is it. Remove to a cooling rack, and as soon as you can handle them, split ’em, toast ’em, and enjoy! 😆 Tasty AND healthy – what more could you ask for? How about a printable version here. 😉

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1. Ramping Up For Spring « Dark Side of the Fridge - April 30, 2009

[…] what’s for breakfast?  How about a couple of multi-grain sourdough English muffins with scrambled ramp […]


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