adventures in bread-making: sourdough english muffins

A number of you have requested a recipe for those sourdough english muffins I spoke of earlier... I say, they are jolly good! And are becoming a firm favourite around here. Perfect for second or third breakfast.... toasted with a lashing of butter or avocado and a crack of pepper, accompaniment to a bowl of soup, or the most wonderful hamburger bun. I've experimented a bit with the flour and so far find a mix of light rye and unbleached plain flour or wholemeal work best.

You will need:

1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 cup of milk, warmed
1/2 cup sourdough starter at room temperature (50% hydration)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2-3 cups unbleached wheat flour
1 cup light rye flour
extra flour for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Then stir in milk, starter, sugar, salt, rye and enough of the wheat flour (about 3 1/2 cups) to make a stiff dough. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about five or10 minutes - until smooth. Return to floured bowl, cover with a tea-towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Using your knuckles, punch dough down and roll out using a rolling pin onto a floured surface - to about 3/4 inch thickness. With a round 3 inch cutter (I use a small glass mixing bowl) cut dough into rounds - I usually get about six muffins. Place muffins onto a well-floured oven tray and let rise in a warm place until puffy - about 45 minutes  - 1 hour.

Bake muffins in a hot oven (240'c) for 10-15 minutes (you'll know when the underside is a deep golden colour), then flip each muffin over and bake for a further 10 minutes.