Is your man-friend anything like mine? A creature of habit? If I wasn’t there to intervene (at least on the weekends), Ben’s first and foremost choice of breakfast food would be a bowl of cereal and maybe yogurt, if he was feeling fiesty. Or instant oatmeal on those chilly days. Such a rebel.
This weekend – that cold cereal rut had to be changed. Complete with home made Rye English Muffins. Cozy carbs to go with that first fire of the season and me now wearing my shaggy, bright red, worn out red Elmo colored slippers that are about five years past their pull date around the clock.
But I digress.
Back to carbs and sandwiches – the real important matter of the day – I kinda went a little over board in attempts to get out of said breakfast-rut, but somedays it pays to be an overacheiver – because these rendered Ben nearly speechless. Well, Ben is quiet anyway but the continual nodding and grunting Mmm mm MMM sounds made his feelings well known. For him, that is a lot.
One of the worst kept secrets in these parts is my
love certified obsession with carbs and breads. And since fall is steadfastly working its way to winter – I know, I know “Don’t say it!!” – but its the cold hard, freezing bare treed truth – it’s now time to action all the bread making. Including English Muffins. But with a reuben – it only stands to reason that pumpernickel muffins needed to enter stage left.
But the one thing standing in my way of all the glories of bread making was the tired ol’ mixer (lovingly dubbed The Professor) that has stood the test of time, college apartments, 15,29 million chocolate chip cookies and far too many loaves of hefty bricks of bread that the tuckered out motor just couldn’t keep up with anymore. And I couldn’t keep plugging ear plugs into my ears to stop the barn owl screeching. KitchenAid generously sent me Ginger – my buxom red beauty – all 7 quarts and 1.3 horsepower of her, to replace The Professor and put him out to pasture. He’s earned his retirement and Ginger has been the facelift my kitchen, and all the doughs in my house needed.
She beat into submission all the hardened rye flours and glutenized the lot in sassy style.
After a lengthy spa-like rest the dough had grown into something akin of the Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters – he just needed a little sailor had and smile. Laid and pulled out over cornmeal, the dough was cookie cuttered into 4 inch rounds and ready for the fry pan.
*Knowledge bomb for your day* – english muffins are a multi-cooked bread – fried in the pan and baked in the oven.
With a tablespoon of butter in the fry pan the muffins went, about four at a time, to be fried one minute on each side and then into the oven for 15 more. To work our way out of the breakfast rut and elicit some other response other than a bland and plain “yeah, this is good.” from Ben – I figured real, good, stick-to-your-bones (or in my case, ass) Man-Food was in order.
And on Pumpernickel Rye English muffins, it was only natural the a Reuben be the accompanyment.
*insert Tim Taylor grunt here*
Into the toaster oven went a couple of muffins, and into the frying pan went pastrami, sauerkraut, and naturally – a fried egg or two.
After standing in the salad dressing aisle at my local grocery for 13 minutes like a rambling idiot and unable to hone the I Dream of Jeannie blink of Russian dressing into my posession – it became imperative to source my own. A little mayo, a little ketchup, and a little horseradish did the trick. Mix and slather it on dripping sexily over the goods and prepare to ravage the beast. Or sammich as it were.
Ben devoured two in the time it took me to finish mine (which means it was record time, because I am a fast eater) – and thus the rut was broken. These english muffins are REALLY easy, just a little time consuming when you’re waiting on doughs to be proofed. But they can’t be beat when toasted and buttered. Well worth the labor involved – I promise you.
And these Reubens. The eyes rolling into the back of Ben’s skull was a sure sign of approval.
Now go break your breakfast rut. For your own health. And sanity.
Reuben Breakfast Sandwiches for 2
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 10 Minutes
2 Pumpernickel English Muffins
2 Whole Eggs
1 Tbsp Butter
4 large slices Pastrami
½ cup Sauerkraut
¼ cup Mayo
2 Tbsp Ketchup
¼ tsp Horseradish puree
Mix together mayo, ketchup and horseradish. Slice english muffins and toast. In large skillet, sauté pastrami until heated through and browned slightly. Heat sauerkraut until hot. Remove pastrami and kraut and set aside. Add butter to the pan and fry two eggs until just set. Slater mayo/ketchup/horseradish mixture onto english muffins, top with pastrami, kraut and fried egg. Promptly devour.
Pumpernickel English Muffins
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, For Greasing Bowl
4 ounces, fluid Water, Between 100-105 Degrees
7 ounces, fluid Milk, Between 100-105 Degrees
⅓ ounces, weight Instant Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
1/2 pound Flour, All Purpose
½ pound Rye Flour
2 Tbsp Molasses
1 Tsp Cocoa Powder
½ tsp Caraway Seeds
1 teaspoon Salt
½ cups Cornmeal For Working Dough
Grease a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Set aside. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together water, milk, yeast, 1 tablespoon of butter (melted and cooled to between 100-105ºF) and 5 ounces of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to form a “sponge” or “starter” for muffins.
Once the sponge has doubled in size, attach dough hook to the stand mixer along with the bowl. Turn on low and add in remaining flours, cocoa powder and molasses to the sponge that was formed. Add in salt and caraway seeds. Allow to mix on medium and knead until satin and smooth, approximately 5 minutes. When kneading is complete, scrape dough from mixer bowl and transfer to greased bowl that had been set aside. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Dust a clean and sanitized countertop or work surface with cornmeal. Turn out dough from greased bowl and stretch evenly until it is about 3/4″ thick. Handle dough lightly so it does not become tough.
With a 4″ round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place them on parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Re-roll dough to obtain more muffin rounds. But do not re-roll more than once.
In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to coat the pan on about medium heat. Lightly brown each side of each muffin, about 1 minute per side. Place each muffin back onto lined baking sheet until all have been browned.
Place in heated oven for 15-20 minute until cooked through. Immediately cool on a wire rack when completely cooked. Serve warm with jam of your choice and devour.
The muffins can be frozen to preserve or eaten within 4 days.