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Another baking report, sourdough chapter

I have a sourdough starter, which doesn't get used much as the process for making real (no added yeast) sourdough bread is so lengthy, I rarely plan far enough ahead to do it. So every now and then the starter must be fed, hopefully before it gets that blackish stuff on top. The feeding procedure is to throw away a cup of starter, then add more flour and water (fresh food!) and stir it up, then let it get bubbly again before you use it.

But throwing away the old starter seems like such a waste, and not just to me. Hunting around on the King Arthur Flour site I uncovered a few recipes to use the unfed starter, and tried 3 of them. One is sourdough waffles, which I've now made a couple of times in both plain and blueberry versions. Very good indeed, and not too sweet, which we all prefer. This recipe does require mixing up part of the ingredients the night before to let the sourdough flavor develop, but I can usually handle that. (Recipe, but the next time I may try this slightly simpler one)

Next up was sourdough popovers. (Recipe) These also work extremely well, though there's very little sourdough flavor. That's OK--hot crispy popovers are fine just as they come. I used several as a base for creamed chicken.

Last attempt was a crumpet recipe buried in a set of instructions for reviving a mostly dead starter. This was much less successful, at least if you wanted crumpets. While baking they never got the very bubbly texture of crumpets, and sure enough, the finished product was more like a pancake than a crumpet. Not a bad pancake if you like 'em thick, but not a crumpet.

Next time the starter needs feeding, I may tackle the sourdough chocolate cake, though that one needs a fed starter...



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
I used to have a Friendship bread starter, which is sweeter, and not sour, but it must be tended to similarly. I finally had to give it up, and felt horribly guilty.

My cooking son (#2) was asking me if I had the recipe anywhere. Must rummage.
Nov. 11th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
I think I had one of those shortly after college. I suspect I only made the bread a couple of times in however long I actually kept the starter going.

I just googled for the recipe. Gosh, that's sweet--equal volumes of flour and sugar. My, how my taste buds have changed. OK, maybe it's not really my taste buds, but my nutritional awareness....
Nov. 15th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
Those popovers look yummy - I'm not really sure what a popover is. I'm guessing from the photo and recipe that it's something like a pancake batter cooked in muffin tins?

I may have to give those a try - along with mmegaera's biscuits - next time I'm in a baking mood.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
No, think Yorkshire pudding. Very eggy batter with no leavening other than the eggs (the sourdough starter in this version does nothing but add some flavor) which needs to be poured into a hot pan to make them 'pop'.
Nov. 16th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
I was going to say Yorkshire Pud but wasn't sure you'd know what I meant (sorry, my bad!) John always makes his YPs in muffin tins - I'm guessing you just fill them a little higher. Thanks for the tip about hot tins, though - I didn't realise it would make a difference so I'm glad I know. I messed up my first try at biscuits by rubbing the fat in rather than cutting it in - got scones!
Nov. 16th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
Yes, muffin tins will work, but don't hold quite as much batter so you won't get quite as tall a popover. My muffin tins hold 1/2 cup, the popover pan 2/3 cup. The only other differences are that the special popover pan is heavier (so it preheats better) and the cups are more widely spaced so the popovers don't grow together. But as I say, muffin tins will do!
Nov. 17th, 2008 08:11 am (UTC)
I'll definitely give them a try - maybe next time John does Yorkshires I'll get him to fill the pans higher and we'll have popovers with our roast beef [g].
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Nancy Barber

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