My hands crack and bleed from the dry Wyoming climate combined with the bottomless pile of dishes that stack up in our kitchen sink. Making every single thing from scratch without a dishwasher is beginning to take its toll. Dough rises, seeds soak, something roasts, and yet another dish is dirty. I find meaning in this alone. However, much motivation comes from a husband who appreciates every single thing these hands make. He notices the details and finishing touches. He notices the garnish, the pinch of paprika and love I sprinkle on top. He thanks me daily for his lunches and snacks and apparently speaks highly of my kitchen endeavors while my hands are at home, in another experiment, another mess, another dirty dish. Not enough can be said for how much this means to me. Surely I would chop, whisk, knead, arrange and garnish even if he didn’t find amusement and delight in these tasks but when he does, my joy is doubled. My heart spills over. I feel like I need a second heart to help carry this beautiful load. Like a handwritten letter from a friend or a snow day that keeps us all home together. Like not one but two cocktails on date night, to accompany appetizers, AND dessert, unexpected happenings mean so much. A pleasant surprise always makes the moment sweeter. Without expectations, joy is amplified.
One of my favorite things about my husband is his passion for life, his zeal for the mundane, the value he puts on things others take for granted. I don’t know anyone who can talk about the smell of bacon, the freshness of grapefruit and the perfection of bread, butter and jam, like he can. He has a gift for finding symbols weaved in and around all that fills up our lives and a gift for the details. He has a gift for making even an English muffin seem like a feast for Kings. This means we can eat English muffins for dinner beneath eggs, avocado, jam and cream cheese. We can eat them on the floor with a cold beer and be completely content. This means I receive just as much thanks and honest excitement for English muffins for dinner as pulled pork taco’s or his favorite sun-dried tomato pasta. With him, English muffins are as good as cargo bikes, windy days, forts and limes, and almost as satisfying as pizza in Naples or croissants in Paris. We can eat English muffins for dinner and feel like we have got the whole wide world on our plates and at our fingertips. But, we have each other and so I am most certain that we do.
Sourdough English Muffins
1 cup lukewarm whole milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 cup sourdough starter
1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
On baking day:
1/4 tsp baking soda + 3 tbsp. warm water
Cornmeal for dusting
Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl or stand mixer. Mix until combined. Add flour and salt and mix together vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Let the batter rest on counter for 2-3 hours to active the fermentation process, then place in the fridge overnight. The consistency will seem more like a batter than a dough, so do not be alarmed.
In the morning remove the batter from the fridge 2 hours before you want to bake your muffins. Dissolve baking soda into the warm water and gently fold into your batter. Let stand for 10 minutes while you warm up for skillet to medium heat, or possibly a little lower depending on how hot your skillet gets. I used cased iron and half way through the bath was needed to decrease the heat significantly.
Grease your crumpet or mason jar rings with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place then on your skillet, (as many will fit.) Sprinkle cornmeal inside the rings and using a 1/4c. measuring cup, scoop batter into the rings. You want to fill it just below the line, as the batter will puff up and rise as it cooks. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on top and let cook for 5 minutes, or until batter is starting to bubble and underside is golden brown. Carefully flip, and cook for another 5 minutes. Once my muffins were flipped and started to cook I gently pulled the rings off and prepped them for the next batch. Repeat this process until all muffins are cooked. If you are uncertain your muffins are cooked all the way through, you can always bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes. Either way make sure they are completely cooled before you cut into them. This is really important! Serve with butter and jam, and never buy store-bought english muffins again.