Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fun with Sourdough

This week I decided to go crazy with my sourdough starter. I’ve been very diligent about tending to it, so, as a reward, I chose a variety of baked goods to try.

First on the list was a basic sourdough bread, but not my usual rosemary raisin bread. The recipe itself is truly basic as well. Only the ingredients are listed – no other instructions, so you really have to understand the bread baking process to succeed. I typically make a quarter of a recipe because I don’t have bowls big enough to hold the rising dough or an oven big enough to cook all the loaves a full recipe would make! Sometimes, like this time, I make the dough the night before, and let it rise, overnight, in the refrigerator. Then I shape it and bake it the following day.

I gave away one loaf, ate one, and the last one is ready to be consumed. It’s also delicious toasted.

Basic Sourdough Bread (1/2 recipe) (1/4 recipe)

5 lbs. 12 oz Bread flour (2 lbs 14 oz) (1 lb. 7 oz)

2 oz Rye flour (1 oz) (.5 oz)

2 oz Whole wheat flour (1 oz) (.5 oz)

2lbs. sourdough starter (1 lb) (8 oz)

2.5 oz salt (1.25 oz) (.5+ oz)

3.5 lb. water (28 oz) (14 oz)

1 oz instant dry yeast. (.5 oz) (.25 oz)

Bake @ 500° F for 15 minutes; reduce to 425° F.


Second on the list were sourdough pancakes. This was my treat to myself for Mother’s Day. You definitely have to plan ahead for this, since part of the recipe needs to ferment overnight.

These pancakes are much thinner than the ones I normally make, but it was loads of fun to watch all the bubbles form and pop during the cooking process. They also have a pleasant tang that goes well with syrup. Even though the recipe says it makes enough for 2, I will be eating left-over pancakes all week.

Sourdough Pancakes of Alaska

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Place the sourdough starter in a nonreactive mixing bowl, add the flour and water. Stir and leave, loosely covered, overnight in a warm place.
  2. The following morning, stir the mixture and remove 1 cup, adding it to your sourdough starter in the refrigerator.
  3. To the warm sourdough mixture, add remaining ingredients, stirring well.
  4. For each pancake, pour scant 1/4 cup batter onto a hot griddle. Cook pancakes until dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until lightly golden brown.

Makes 2 servings.


Finally, my third baked item was a sourdough chocolate cake.

Mainly, I made this for my neighbor for two reasons: 1. it was a little gift for her for Mother’s Day; and 2. I discovered this week that her birthday was at the end of April, and no one made her a cake. Her favorite is chocolate with chocolate frosting, so I decided that she deserved a homemade chocolate cake to cover the various celebrations. I did cut out a piece for myself, because, after all, the cook has to taste the food before it’s sent out!

Margot’s Sourdough Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Sourdough Jack’s Cookery

1 cup thick sourdough starter
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk (evaporated preferred, but even regular old skim works fine), at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Leave a cup of starter out overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, then beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in starter, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and melted chocolate. Beat with electric mixer (or recruit a strong man with a whisk, such as Margot’s boyfriend Todd) for two minutes. Blend salt and soda together and sprinkle over batter. Fold in gently. Fold in flour until batter is smooth. Pour into buttered and floured pan (either a standard Bundt pan or an 8-inch round pan, or experiment).

Bake until cake springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean, 35-60 minutes, depending on the type of pan you use. Cool and frost, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Anonymous said...

Sourdough Chocolate Cake?

Gretchen Noelle said...

I too have been enjoying playing with my sourdough starter. But I hadn't thought of chocolate cake! This one is now on my list! Yeah!

breadchick said...

OH yea Judy, I've got part of Moe sitting on the counter today to make a baguette for some folks and I'm thinking the chocolate cake is the perfect use for the remainder.

Glad you are having so much fun with your sourdough starter!

Anonymous said...

Very cool. It makes me so happy to see starter get used for things like pancakes and cake, I love it. You know what else is great? Muffins...and waffles. Oy vey... Okay, I'm done. Your goods look wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Delicious, everything!

breadchick said...

The chocolate cake just went into the oven and I have to say something that was just about the best tasting cake batter I have ever had the pleasure of licking from the beaters.

If the cake is half as good as the batter this will become my go to chocolate cake.

Y said...

Sourdough chocolate cake... wow. I never would have thought to go beyond breads. Do you get much of the sourdough flavour coming through? I definitely need to try this once my starter (aka Bubbles) is good to go.