Oatmeal; It’s What’s for Breakfast

Soaked oatmeal that is.  Soaked?  What’s that?  I’m so glad you asked. 🙂  Soaking grains, beans, and nuts helps them to be more digestible and allows our bodies to absorb more of the nutrition in them.  I’m going to be posting about that in detail in a few days.  In the meantime, I want to share with you one of my new favorite things for breakfast. 

Soaked Oatmeal

1 cup organic rolled oats

1 cup filtered water

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar, buttermilk, lemon juice, yogurt, or kefir

1 cup milk

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight.  It needs to soak for 8 to 24 hours.

You want to make sure that the oats are just covered by the water

  

Oats soaking under my cute little tea towel

When you are ready to make the oatmeal, put 1 cup of milk in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.  While the milk is heating I usually drain and rinse the oats to help remove the sour taste.  If I’m using raisins, I add them to the milk as it’s heating to soften them up. 

Can you see the raisin trying to hide?

When the milk comes to a boil, add the oats, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. 

Combine all the ingredients

Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally,  until it’s the consistency you like. 

Perfect, creamy consistency

It doesn’t take very long to cook at all.  Add some butter and the sweetener of your choice and serve.

Since I am the only one who eats it here, I actually just use 1/4 cup of oats and reduce the other ingredients accordingly.  I’ve made it plain and with raisins and cinnamon.  I think next time I may chop up part of an apple and some pecans and add that in with the cinnamon.  Just as a side note, if you are using nuts or seeds, you should add them to the oats and soak them as well.

Breakfast is served!

Why don’t you give it a try?  What do you like to put in your oatmeal?

The Ultimate Sourdough English Muffin

English muffins, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Ahhh, English muffins.  There is nothing I love more to pair with my morning cup of tea than a freshly baked sourdough English muffin.  Sometimes I eat them with just buttery goodness oozing into all the little holes in their golden toasted interiors.  Occasionally I will throw caution to the wind and slather a spoonful of blackberry jelly across their nooks and crannies.  And when I’m in a particularly wild mood, I will add a fried egg, a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, and some bacon or a sausage patty.  I know, right?  Just call me wild and crazy!  But no matter how I choose to “dress” them, I enjoy them thoroughly.

As you can imagine, I worked diligently to come up with my own recipe for these little beauties as soon as my starter could be called “started”.  I am happy to report I was successful in my endeavor.  Not only are they a staple at my house, but I have a friend who lamented that I have “spoiled her for store-bought ones.”  They are probably my most popular baked good among my friends and family and I get many requests for them.

In the interests of others of you helping to supply the general populace with amazing English muffins (that will spoil them all for store-bought ones), I am sharing my recipe with you here.

These work best with starter that has been fed within the past eight to twelve hours, although they will be fine if it hasn’t been, they just won’t rise as high.  There is a “secret” ingredient in these that helps to give them a stronger sourdough “tang” without having to wait all day.  It is citric acid, sometimes called sour salt, and it is available to most health food and natural food stores.  I usually have some in my pantry because I use it in cheese making as well as my homemade dish washer powder which you can find here.  If you don’t have any citric acid that’s perfectly ok, the muffins will still be wonderful.

So let’s go to the kitchen and get started!

Sourdough English Muffins

4 Tbsp honey

2 cups warm water

1 Tbsp yeast

2 cups sourdough starter

7 to 10 cups unbleached all purpose flour

¾ cup non-fat dry milk

½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

1 ½ Tbsp Kosher salt

¾ tsp citric acid (optional)

cornmeal or semolina to sprinkle on pans and on top of muffins

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm water. Stir in and dissolve the yeast, and then mix in the sourdough starter and 1 cup of flour. Let this sit for a few minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble.

Mixture is bubbling

Add the dry milk, butter, salt, citric acid (if using) and a second cup of flour, and beat well.

Add the rest of the ingredients

Add 5 to 8 cups of flour, one cup at a time, to form a dough that holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Holds together well

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth and springy, but slightly on the slack side, about 8 minutes.  This dough is supposed to be slightly sticky.  Add flour only as necessary to prevent sticking.

Dough after kneading

Clean out and grease your bowl and place the dough in the greased bowl, turning it so that a thin film of oil coats all sides.

Dough in the oiled bowl before rising

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel, let it stand until it has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Dough after rising

Punch down dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, cover it and let it sit for a few minutes. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece out separately to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough into rounds; re-roll and cut any remaining scraps. I use a large cutter for my English muffins that makes them larger than the ones you would get at the store.  My cutter makes 24.  The number you get will be dependent on how big your cutter is.

Rounds on cornmeal covered baking sheet

Place the rounds onto cornmeal- or semolina-sprinkled baking sheets, sprinkle them with additional cornmeal or semolina, cover with a damp towel, and let them rise until light and puffy, about 1 hour.

Rounds after rising

Transfer the rounds to an electric griddle preheated to 275°F. If you don’t have an electric griddle, you can use a non-electric one on your stove top, or you can use a big skillet on the stove top.

Rounds on griddle

Cook for 10 to 12 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a muffin registers 190°F. Remove them from the griddle and cool on a rack.

Finished muffins cooling on a rack

You may have to play with your griddle to find the right temperature for the muffins.  I have more than one griddle and I have to set them on different temperatures.  They need to be nicely browned and crispy on the bottoms before you flip them.  If they cook faster than 10 minutes, you need to lower the temperature to make sure that they cook all the way through.

And just in case you didn’t know, English muffins are not just for breakfast anymore.  These are also really good for sandwiches at lunchtime or a late night snack.  They are basically just pretty good at any time!

So what are you waiting for?  They don’t make themselves, ya know.

Why don’t you share your favorite thing to put on an English muffin?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Sourdough English Muffins with homemade Blackberry Jelly. Yum!

Sourdough Biscuit Recipe

I have been having so much fun experimenting with new sourdough recipes, that I forgot to post the one for the biscuits that I promised!  These biscuits are a great way to use starter that you might be discarding when it is sourdough feeding time.  Of course, you don’t have to be throwing out starter to make these, you could just make them because you want to!  I have made different variations of these: cinnamon raisin and cheddar garlic, and they are really good.  Course, the plain ones are really good, too.  But I just can’t seem to not experiment with recipes!  I’ll probably have to experiment with chocolate chips next.  Because you know as well as I do that anything good is going to be better with chocolate!

Here’s the recipe.

Sourdough Biscuits

Sourdough Biscuits 

 2 cups flour

1 cup sourdough starter

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

additional butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add sourdough starter and buttermilk to the flour mixture; stir with a fork until the dough forms a ball.  You may need to adjust the flour or milk depending on how thin your starter is.

Turn dough onto a well floured surface; knead 5-10 times.  Roll or pat out to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with a floured biscuit cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet.  Brush with melted butter.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with more butter and the jam or jelly of your choice!

Yield is 1 dozen with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.

I did an experiment on how these would do if I froze them and then baked them.  Here are the results:

   I used the cinnamon raisin biscuits for this experiment.  The ones on the far right of the pan I let thaw for 30 minutes, the ones in the middle thawed for 10 minutes, and the ones on the left I put straight into the oven.  There did not seem to be much of a difference in the way they turned out.  So, if you are going to be freezing them, you can just cook them straight out of the freezer.  I have to say though, that after freezing they did not rise as high as the ones that I didn’t freeze.

The moral of the story is: fresh is better if you have the time!  And, really, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to mix, pat, and cut out the biscuits.  If you pre-heat the oven at the same time, you can have fresh, yummy biscuits in 25 minutes start to finish.  I usually scramble the eggs and fix the bacon while the biscuits are cooking.  Or sometimes we just have biscuits and jelly for supper, in which case I make a double batch.  My kids love having breakfast for supper and so do I.  I wonder what that says about us…?

I saw a recipe for ham and cheese biscuits the other day, so I will probably try those out soon.  What kinds of additions do you like in your biscuits?