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Muffins for the stud!

March 29, 2008

View out my kitchen window today.
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My rootstock arrived yesterday, so when the weather breaks, I can plant it out to break it’s dormancy before grafting.  I scored some cuttings I had been looking for at the  Home Orchard Society  scionwood exchange that was held early in March.  I picked up cuttings for Interlaken seedless grape, Vern’s Brown Turkey Fig, and scionwood for Pound Pear, and a Mirabelle plum.  But it is snowing again, so that will have to wait.  The cold weather means my garden isn’t ready for planting, but on the other side of things, my root crops are keeping very well with the cold soil temps, and the greenhouse salad beds are doing excellent despite the coolness.  I keep my min/max thermometer on the ground, out of the sun, near the plants for an accurate reading of the temperature that the plants are actually experiencing.  Lately the readings have still been in the 45 to 50 degree range during the day and hovering around 30 to 35 at night.  But, the cows are more on my mind these days, I’m itching to start grazing cycle.  I like the cows in and close to the house, during the winter, but I’m eager to feel the movement of the grazing rotation.

 My target date to move the cows out, and begin spring grazing was the last weekend in March.  Which means, I need to walk all my interior fencing and make needed repairs, take a fence supply inventory, charge my fence batteries, and beg my sweetie to start the “cow ram.”  Since we’ve been having snow everyday since Tuesday, I haven’t been wanting to go out and neither have the cows.  I need to quit feeding hay, and transition the cows to spring, washy grass.  But, if they can’t find it, they can’t graze. So I find things to do inside like:  sit in the greenhouse and watch my tomato clips sterilize themselves, eat raw kale off the plant, go sit and listen to the hens and share the kale with them.  Or I sit in the cow manger and talk to the cows and listen to them eat.  Or my least favorite job is appeasing the fussiest thing I have to feed on the farm – HUSBAND.  If I’m serious about making points for my point bank, I make Sourdough English Muffins.  They turn out best on the wood cook-stove, cooked in a cast iron fry pan.  So summertime is out.

Here is the recipe from the National Grange Bicentennial Year Cookbook.

Sourdough English Muffins      Yield:  18 -20 muffins

1/2 pkg. yeast               
2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 1/2 c. water

1 c. starter
2 T. honey
2 c. warm milk
5 c. flour  (4 c.) (1 c.) 
1 t. soda
2 t. salt
Combine starter, honey, milk and 4 c. flour in glass bowl.  Let rise in warm place overnight (or all day).  Stir down; mix in soda and salt.  On board, knead in 1 c flour for about 5 minutes, working in enough flour to make a smooth dough.  On lightly floured board roll or pat to 1/2″ thickness.  Cut using a biscuit cutter or tuna can.  Sprinkle wax paper with cornmeal.  Place muffins on waxed paper; sprinkle tops with cornmeal.  Cover and let rise approximately 30 minutes.  Heat griddle over low heat for at least 5 minutes.  Cook each muffin for 4 – 5 minutes on each side, turning once. 

My notes:  I love the feel of this silken dough, however my attempts to make these on our electric stove have been disappointing.  The wood stove radiates a more enveloping heat, not as direct as a electric or gas burner.  My failure on the electric stove yielded burned or dried out tops, and gooey centers.  To replenish your starter, add leftover dough bits, and 1 c flour and 1 c water mixed well.  Currently I’m using the yeast- free starter recipe from Nourishing Traditions.

Muffins in wood stove warming ovens.
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Chili simmering and covered muffins rising in wood stove warming ovens
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Stoking the fire for medium heat.
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Muffins after first turning, they raise more as they cook.
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Finished product.
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I love my Grange cookbooks, I inherited them from my Mom.  The CWA (Committee of Womens’ Activities) compiled these recipes during the 60’s and 70’s, most with different themes.  If you’re looking for regional dishes, this is a good place to look.  Entire books are devoted to desserts and meat cookery.   They are a great read, although some recipes call for canned soup or MSG, if you are a good scratch cook, it isn’t hard to fix those minor details. If you want a recipe for fruit crisp, you can probably find 15 recipes for each type of fruit.  Although the recipes are family tested, I have never had a disaster, I can’t say the same for internet recipes.

Our Grange Hall is a beautiful building, constructed of clear old- growth fir.  It has been well taken care of, the floors still gleam and the original woodwork is intact.  I have fond memories of potlucks at the hall, with good food, lovingly and carefully prepared.  I spent a fair amount of time volunteering during my high school years, with this civically minded group of people.  I’m proud to say I have been a Patron of Husbandry since I was a teen-ager.   Working on this quilt below, took the drudge work out of sewing for me.  I saw another way to use my sewing skills working on that project – I thank the ladies who contributed more than just blocks to that quilt!

I won the Grange raffle quilt!   (check out the 501’s and zipper shirt, 1972)Click for Full Size View

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2008 7:00 pm

    oh, this post makes me sooooo jealous! Jealous of your wood stove, mostly – and a twinge for baking, too. My kitchen is just so trashed right now I can’t bring myself to do more than the basics. I think it’s going to be a long six weeks until it’s up and running again.

  2. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    March 29, 2008 9:45 pm

    Hayden – that stove feels pretty good on a day like today. It’s easy to cook on that big stove top too, just move the pan depending on what type of heat you want. Just make sure you have thick pot-holders!

    Hope your 6 weeks goes fast.

  3. March 30, 2008 10:29 pm

    Now I can’t get stud muffins out of my head. It gives a whole new meaning! Maybe I should make some for mine.

  4. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    March 31, 2008 3:12 am

    Linda – Another running joke around here – since we now rent a bull just for a few weeks in the summer, and I’m fanatic about “snip, snip” guess who is the only stud!
    Our vet put a tattoo on our blue dog, as if it isn’t obvious that he isn’t intact. But he’s a toughie now with that tattoo!

  5. April 1, 2008 7:50 am

    Sorry about the snow, but those muffins do sound like an antidote for snow and cold.

  6. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    April 1, 2008 2:49 pm

    I haven’t any room to complain – we hardly have any snow compared to other areas of the country. But these days even on a farm, it’s hard to wait. The watch pot never boils!

  7. May 14, 2008 5:23 pm

    I am so gonna make those muffins! I have my starter already — I’m halfway there!

    I’ve made English muffins before but never sourdough. I can’t wait.

    I am loving this blog!!!


  8. January 9, 2010 6:32 am

    I just made these for the first time and they are heavenly! My husband says that now he will no longer tolerate store-bought English muffins. Thank you for the recipe and the tempting pictures that go along with them!

  9. michelle permalink
    January 11, 2010 3:17 pm

    The info. about the grange is interesting- i never knew…. can anyone just drop in to the grange for a meeting or do you have to invited? Love the quilt by the way…

  10. Kelsey at Great Circle Farm permalink
    May 24, 2012 2:48 pm

    Hello – I just found your blog and am enchanted. We live on a (much smaller) homestead in East-Central WA with many fewer years experience in getting farm systems happily working together than you (though we do have cows, ducks, chickens, bees, pasture, small orchard, and gardens as well). I have been reading many of your back posts, and am excited to see that you grafted and planted Pound Pear scions. Have you gotten a harvest of these pears yet? My dad just planted two Pound Pear graftlings this spring (they live down the road from us) after searching far and wide for the scions for it. I’m wondering if the pears live up to their names and if they taste good once cooked, as they are supposed to?

    Thank you!


    • May 24, 2012 5:07 pm

      Kelsey, no we haven’t harvested any pears yet from those grafts, but I can tell you the pears are huge, and delicious, cooked or fresh and keep well too. I first discovered them when I worked on the National Register application for this farm.

      There were several trees still there, and I was lucky enough to befriend the owner and help her save her place from development. I had to get my scions elsewhere though 😦

  11. Szilvia permalink
    May 10, 2013 1:30 pm

    I tried a few muffin recipes but this is really good!!! I am so happy with the results best english muffin recipe. I will not look for further ones, because this is it! Thank you so much for posting it! Oh did I mention I am perfectionist? 5* recipe!!

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