I looked in the mirror and saw a 27 year old. That's not old, by a long stretch, but it's definitely more along the lines of pushing 30 than getting carded every time you purchase a bottle of wine at CVS. Don't worry, this isn't a post about feeling old! I don't feel old at all and definitely don't dread the thought of aging or getting old (at least not yet). My point with all of this is that it made me really reflect on what the past 27 years has been for my life. Where I have been, where I have lived, what I have done, accomplished, failed at, earned, and experienced. It also made me think about where I still want to go, what I want my life to be and how I'm going to make all of this happen.
Thinking like that can get overwhelming, so I take solace in the simple things. For example, my home. I take great pride in my home - my house may be a total work in progress, and probably always will be. But I feel like I am home, and that is a feeling I wasn't sure I'd ever accomplish. What can I say, I was born with wanderlust. But I digress. I want to create the sort of home where food is made from scratch on regular basis and Sunday's are about baked goods. Like english muffins...
4 Grain English Muffins
makes 12 muffins (barely adapted from Sarah Copeland's, Feast)
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups bread flower
2 tablespoons cornmeal, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 cup warm water
One 1/4oz package active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the griddle (melted)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together the wheat flour, the bread flour, cornmeal, oats, millet, and flax seed in a large bowl.
Put the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Be sure the water is between 105 degrees and 110 degrees. If it's too hot the yeast will die ; too cold and the yeast won't activate. Watch for the yeast to puff and expand, 2-5 minutes
Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just about to simmer (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl). Add the honey and stir until dissolved.
Add the yeast mixture, melted butter, 3 cups of the flour mixture, sunflower seeds, and salt to the milk and honey mixture.
Mix with the dough hook attachment on your mixer on medium - low speed until the dough is mostly smooth and slightly wet, 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms, increasing the speed to medium - high until the dough forms a ball with some drag slapping the sides of the bowl and pulling away as it turns, about 5 minutes. Don't worry if it doesn't come together immediately. If you need to, pull the dough away from the sides with a flexible spatula and stick it to the mass on the dough hook.
Lightly oil another large bowl with the olive oil and transfer the dough to this bowl, flipping it to coat in olive oil. Cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. let the dough rise in a warm, draft free spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Sprinkle the work surface with flour. Have a sheet of wax paper nearby and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Punch down the dough and transfer to the floured surface. Dived the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Lay the dough balls on the wax paper, leaving space in-between the balls so that they have room to expand without touching. Flatten each ball with your hand, just slightly, and sprinkle the tops liberally with cornmeal. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm, draft free spot for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a non stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. To test, splash a drop of water on the skillet, it should sizzle. Brush the skillet with lightly with butter. Gently brush off excess cornmeal and place about half of the dough balls on the skillet. Working in batches until the bottoms are golden brown, 2 - 3 minutes. Flip and cook the until second sides are golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat until all the muffins are browned on both sides. Bake the muffins until the edges are firm, 22-25 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 5 minutes.