Updated: Nov 30, 2022
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True sourdough is made with only flour, water and salt. Sounds simple, right? Bread made with culture (probiotic) is completely different from bread made without the combination of yeast and bacteria. It’s hard to believe that such a simple combination has such flavor and character.
To make sourdough, you have to have a starter, which is often called “The Mother.” As I write this post, I’m waiting for my “Mother” starter to become bubbly. Every morning I love to check on my starter and see if it’s ready to work. Temperature has a big impact on starter, and if it’s warm, the starter can get very bubbly very quickly (bubbles are good!). I love my starter. It’s like my pet; always needing a little attention! Even when I travel, I try to take care of “her”. When Hurricane Matthew came to our area a few years ago and we had to evacuate, I even took “her” with me just in case.
Sourdough bread has a unique taste that varies by location, mainly due to the lactic acid content produced by the bacteria during the fermentation process before baking. The taste of your homemade sourdough will even taste a little different than your neighbor’s because of the different bacteria and wild yeasts that exist in your kitchens. The more I make sourdough, the more I love it. Each loaf of bread makes me a smile. I remember my very first loaf was Russian rye bread, and that unbelievable experience was a miracle to me. I could not believe it worked with NO yeast! That loaf wasn’t the best I’ve made over the years, but that’s not what I thought in that moment 8 years ago.
Back then I didn’t even know what sourdough bread was. I had no idea that it had so many health benefits or why people had been making it for hundreds of years. In the US before the 1950s, most bread bakeries had two different shifts because the dough fermented throughout the night with a slow process using the culture that contained the lactobacillus bacteria. This absolutely must be processed for bread to be properly digested. If not processed correctly, it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods. About 90% of the phytic acid remains in bread made with instant yeast unless it is sprouted or bread made with sourdough starter. During this long process complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible forms, and protein is broken down into amino acids and enzymes develop during rising. This fermentation also allows for a bread that is lower on the glycemic index, making it better for those with blood sugar issues. Fermentation also produces vitamin C and can increase the content of B vitamins, such as B2, B5, and B6.
There are so many reasons to like fermented baked goods! I hope you give this recipe a try and keep an eye out for my Bold Sourdough Bread recipe coming soon! In the meantime, leave me a note to know how much you like these sourdough English muffins.
Prep Time: 20 minutes + 3-4 hours rising
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4-5 hours
Yield: 16 English Muffins (85-95 grams each)
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
1¾ cups bread flour or all - purpose flour
Half of one envelope of active dry yeast
1¼ cups warm water or whey
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 cup unfed sourdough starter, very bubbly and ready to go
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 egg whites
2½ cups whole wheat flour
Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes with the hook attachment.
Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until the dough has doubled in size.
Using a kitchen scale, divide dough into balls weighing 85-95 grams.
Transfer the balls onto a pan lined with parchment paper and flatten them a little.
Cover the balls again until they are doubled in size and slightly bubbly.
Fry them on a cast iron pan for about 6-7 minutes each side (or until cooked through) over medium heat in coconut oil or clarified butter. Please be generous in adding fat for frying.
Let cool completely before serving. This is important because they continue to cook on the inside while they cool.
Slice them open and serve with butter and jam.
These muffins can be frozen for up to three months. Simply put them in a freezer bag and store them in your freezer. When you're ready, warm one up in the microwave for one minute, then slice and toast!
If you're in the mood for a savory topping instead of something sweet like jam, check out my Eggs Benedict recipe.