Squash Love

Don’t tell flour but I’m falling in love with squash! Baking long distance with my friend Ellie Markovitch, I’ve been putting squash into everything. It began with sourdough bread, based on Sarah Owens Butternut Squash sourdough recipe. I adore this bread — the squash adds sweetness and makes the bread tender. The soft loaf goes over VERY WELL with my main eater, Felix. He’s 15, and if he doesn’t like the bread, why bake it? I need to get care-filled calories into that boy at a steady clip, and I’d rather he eat my bread than another box of pasta.

Once I started making lots of squash sourdough, I had loads of seeds to deal with. I remembered Ellie had posted about using the skin, pulp and seeds, so I scrolled through her Instagram. Now I bake my squash whole — no fussing with cutting a tough thing — and after baking, scoop out the seeds and pulps, grind them together with the skin. This former waste is now an ingredient. I use it in quick breads, sourdough loaves, and add it to stews and chilis. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have a new way to use all the parts. I used to feel guilty when I cooked squash because I felt obliged to use the seeds, and never quite did them justice. Half the time I burnt them in the oven once separated from the pulp — a task I didn’t relish.

I am putting squash in everything. Join me in my new obsession — add squash to these easy sourdough English muffins. They will be golden and delicious.

Sourdough English Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk or water  (240 g)
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably stone-ground) (230g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • Cornmeal for dusting

OPTIONAL to make Squash English Muffins: For the milk, substitute 165g or ¾ cup pureed squash and 60g or ¼ cup milk/water.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Stir the sourdough starter & milk or water (or squash & milk/water) in a large bowl. Break up clumps you’re your fingers and add flour. Cover with a plate, and let rest on the counter for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Add a teaspoon of water to the baking soda and salt, and add to the dough mix together for 2 minutes in the bowl, or knead for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured cloth or board.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough to ½ – ¾ inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 3-inch biscuit cutter or glass. Keep re-forming and cutting the dough until you’ve got 8 muffins. The last one might be a tiny ball you roll in your palm.
  4. Place these rounds on a flour or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Heat a griddle or a cast iron pan slowly, over low heat. Wait until the surface is thoroughly warm, and put the muffin onto the pan — no fat necessary. Add the muffins and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the muffins, then tent the griddle with a baking sheet to create a type of oven and help dry the muffins out. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes more.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the muffins sit on the griddle under the tent for about 5 to 10 minutes more. This will keep your nooks and crannies from being too gummy. (If using a cast iron pan, put a lid on top but don’t make a tight fit. Keep a little part uncovered to let some heat and steam escape.