So the trouble with noveling is that it eats up my blogging time. I'm sure you guys have noticed. I have blog posts on my mind about my new year's resolutions, God, the problem with human knowledge, and the new home business I'm trying to start up. But all of these are long and involved posts, and since the kids are awake I'd better keep this one short and sweet. So: a recipe.
Awhile back I decided I needed to make actual breakfasts every day instead of just handing the kids and banana and trusting them to whine at me if they wanted something else. That just left me at 10 a.m. trying to figure out something they (I mean Marko really) could eat RIGHT NOW, and it always ended up being PBJ. Without PBJ my family would probably have starved waiting for me to get my act together.
So I made a schedule of seven good breakfasts that don't take too long to make. (For the curious: pancakes, hash browns, french toast, bacon, eggs, oatmeal, and "John makes it" for Sunday.) I stuck to it for ... a week? Maybe two. I hit Tuesday and thought, "But I don't WANT hash browns, they are too much work, and I don't even like them that much." So I put it off and made nothing and there I was making PBJ at 10 a.m. because bananas (Marko's wakeup food -- he must have it as soon as his eyes open or wailing ensues) just don't cut it.
This recipe is the cure. You can make it every day. I know because I do make it every day. It's sourdough English muffins. I know you could BUY English muffins, but I'm sure these are healthier and I don't think we could afford to buy a dozen English muffins a day, which is about how many we eat. I got the recipe from here but have changed it a lot to make it even simpler.
You have to have a sourdough starter that's at least moderately active for this. Of course if you make it every day, that works out great. You make the dough and then just feed it the same amount as you took out, or a bit more so you can have some for other projects.
Start the night before. In a bowl, mix together 2 cups flour (white or wheat -- both are great), 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Then pour in 1/2 cup sourdough starter and roughly 1 cup milk. (Do one cup the first time, and if it ends up too wet, experiment to see what's best. I use about 7/8 cup I think.) You can also replace the milk with some other liquid -- water, kefir, rice milk, basically anything. Experiment.
Mix together until it forms a dough you can handle. If it's more of a batter, add more flour. If it won't pick up all the flour, add more liquid (just a tiny bit!). The exact consistency isn't important. If it's softish or stickyish, it doesn't matter. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap. (I use the same piece every time cause I'm Scottish like that. (Is that an ethnic slur? I'm 1/4 Scotch Irish and I do fit the frugal stereotype.)) And just leave it overnight.
In the morning, heat up your skillet or griddle. I use a cast-iron skillet and set the burner to 2 (it goes low-sim-2-4-6-hi), which is the temperature I use to brown ground beef and a little higher than what I use for eggs. You're just going too have to experiment. Pour a little oil on a clean cookie sheet, silicone mat, or counter, and oil your hands. Get the dough, which will be spongy after rising all night, and pull off little golf-ball-sized globs of it. Smoosh them between your oiled hands into a flat disk, and lay them on the cookie sheet/mat/counter. You should get between 8 and 12. If you feel patient or the kids aren't up yet, let them rise for five minutes or so; otherwise just start plopping them on the skillet. It should take 5-10 minutes for them to get brown on the bottom; if they are browning too fast, turn the pan down. They'll also puff up a bit. Flip them over and get the other side brown, and then they're done and you can do the rest of the batch. I can fit four in my pan at once, so I just do three rounds. I start eating as the first ones come off, though!
You can jazz these up all kinds of ways. You can add pretty much anything to the dough you like -- flax seed, sesame seeds, nuts, raisins, different flours. And once they're done you can top them with anything you like: jam, butter, cream cheese, lox, sour cream, smoked Gouda, ham, savory cranberry chutney*, cinnamon sugar, poached eggs and hollandaise (for Eggs Benedict), sandwich fixins. You can cut them in half like storebought English muffins, or just blob the toppings on top. We usually eat about half the batch for breakfast and then use the rest in our lunch.
So easy. So good. And there are two left still ... I gotta go.
*Savory cranberry chutney: equal parts raw cranberries, celery, and onions, whizzed in the food processor. Add ginger and red pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon salt per quart. Pack into a jar and ferment for 2-4 weeks. This is best with sour cream or strong cheese, atop an English muffin. Michael eats it straight though.