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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sourdough skillet biscuits (English muffins)

by Lili Mounce

These are more like English muffins, than biscuits, in my opinion. When hot out of the skillet, they're soft, a bit chewy, and when split, they are perfect with butter and jam.

Have you been following the sourdough starter thread? If you haven't yet, you can take a look here (I've made the metric conversion available now). I made my most recent starter about a month ago. And I've been using it once a week since. I just love that every time I use the starter, I get a double reward -- I'm saving on yeast, and the delicious flavor of sourdough is irresistible!

This recipe comes from The Little House Cookbook (recipes based on the Little House on the Prairie books) by Barbara M. Walker.

"For 24 to 30 biscuits, you will need:

Sourdough starter, 1 cup (240 mL)
white flour, 4  1/2 cups (500 g)
salt, 1 teaspoon (5 mL)
baking soda, 1 teaspoon (5 mL)
drippings (or oil), 2 teaspoons (10 mL)

At least 4 hours before baking extend the starter by stirring it in a bowl with 2  1/2 cups (275 g) of flour, and 2 cups (475 mL) of bloodwarm water. Cover and let stand at 75-80 degrees F (23-26 C).

When the mixture is bubbling, remove a cup (240 mL) of it to the refrigerator jar for future use. In a second bowl, mix well the remaining flour (2 cups or 220 g), the salt, and baking soda (soda will leave telltale rust streaks if not sufficiently mixed!). Stir in the bubbling sour batter, until all ingredients are blended and moist.

With floured hands press the dough flat on a floured bread board. Roll it lightly to a thickness of 1/2 inch. With floured cutter stamp out as many biscuits as possible. (Press scraps back together for additional biscuits.)

If you have the time,a half-hour's rising on a greased baking sheet will improve the biscuits' shape. Grease the skillet with drippings (or oil), and heat it to medium-low. Put in as many biscuits as will fit. Cook 10 minutes, turn and cook 10 minutes more. Watch temperature; if it is too high the biscuits will develop a thick crust."

I cut mine large, with a wide mouthed drinking glass. Consequently, mine only made 14 English muffin-sized biscuits. The cookbook author recommends putting the scraps back into the sourdough jar. But everything that I've read says otherwise.

I allowed mine to rise for close to an hour on a buttered baking sheet that had been sprinkled with cornmeal. When I transferred them from the baking sheet to the skillet, I placed them in the skillet top side down (the top side was drier than the underside, and I guessed they would stick less to the skillet, by doing them this way.)

These are an ideal summer bread as the kitchen doesn't get too hot with the oven on.  They are also quite inexpensive to make, about 50 cents for 14 English muffins.

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  1. Oh Yummy, I NEED to get that starter started! Haven't had much time.....BUT I think I will get it started today. Have a great 4th!

    1. Hi Bears Fan!
      Just plan to start it when you won't be vacationing for a about 7-10 days, so you can do the feeding daily during that time. Let me know when you begin, and how it goes. I can answer questions along the way. Have a great 4th of July!

  2. I love anything "Little House on the Prarie"... I think I have a cookbook kicking around here as well! I'll have to dig it out as i'm sure my girls would LOVE it!! :)

    1. Hi Carla,
      When my girls were younger we read the books and did some of the recipes. It was a lot of fun! Now, I just like to reread the cookbook and remember all the stories in the Little House series (and I occasionally reread one of the Little House books myself). Hope you find your copy.
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. These sound soooo good!!! I am going to try and get some starter going.

    1. Hi Pamela,
      They are incredibly delicious, just out of the skillet, split and spread with butter and jam. One of my favorite treats.
      Hope you had a good 4th!


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