Sourdough – tasty, cheap, & nutritious!

Sourdough is amazing. it takes a little getting used to, but it’s amazing. It’s super cheap to make, and it’s much more easily digestible than non-soured doughs. The souring process breaks down the starches and gluten in the flour, as well as the phytic acid. In the Nutritional Therapy world, it is considered a “properly prepared” food.

I started making sourdough last summer when I received some starter as a birthday present from my brother & sister-in-law. I don’t know if anyone has ever been more excited about being given flour and water in a  jar before!

My first attempts at using said starter were highly researched and filled with angst. What if I got the proportions wrong? What do you mean I have to FEED it? What if I forget to feed it? How much do I feed it?

Since then I have become much more lax about maintaining my sourdough and it has always forgiven me. We have a very understanding relationship.

I’ll start with a rundown of the basics, followed by some recipes with step-by-step pictures. 🙂

Ok, so here are the basics.

starter

You take your starter and measure it.

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Add an equal amount of water and nearly twice that amount of flour. (for example, if you are feeding 1/4 cup of starter, you give it 1/4 cup of water and a scant 1/2 cup of flour.

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Mix it all up really well , getting air mixed in too, and then let sit at room temp. for 8 hours. It will get all bubbly and active!

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If your starter just came out of the fridge, you need to do this twice more before you can bake with it. Otherwise, you’re good to go!

You may occasionally have excess starter that you don’t feel like feeding. That is a perfect time to make waffles or pancakes!

When you are ready to bake with your active starter, measure out the amount of starter called for in your recipe, then add whatever other ingredients it calls for, Make sure that you save at least a tablespoon or two of starter, so that you don’t run out!

kneeding the dough

kneading the dough

For most recipes, you add flour and water to the starter, and then you need to let your dough rest for about 8 hours (you can leave it for up to 24 hours, but it may start to dry out), before baking it!

Here is the recipe I use for bread and rolls. It’s very simple and straightforward.

Sourdough English Muffins

I use this recipe for English Muffins, and I love it! The dough takes 7 hours to sit after you mix it together, and then there’e another hour and a half at the end before you get a finished product, so plan accordingly. If you want to make them in the morning on a weekend, you can make the dough the night before. if you want to make them at night, make the dough in the morning.

Start with nice active starter. Notice the bubbles? That’s evidence that the starter is active. It’s a byproduct of the yeast eating up the starches in the flour. Happy yeast = happy bread!

starter active

Next, measure out 1/2 cup of starter.

starter measured starter half cup

Plop it into a bowl, and add 2 cups flour and 1 cup water (or milk, or kefir, etc.), and mix into a dough.

starter in bowl 20140426_110816 english muffin dough

Cover and let sit for at least 7 hours. This allows the added flour to get soured also.

covered sourdough

Then, once it’s done sitting, you add 1 scant tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 Tbsp honey. Mix it together with a spoon, then “knead” it for a few minutes on a floured or oiled surface. The dough will be fairly wet. As best as you can, form the dough into 8 sections. This is the hard part, as the dough is quite wet. I find that using a rolling pizza cutter works pretty well, then you can just mush them into roundish shapes.

part 2 english muffins resting

The muffins have to sit like this for 45-60 minutes before you cook them, and you cook them on a griddle. After this second resting time is over, you carefully transfer them to a griddle (medium heat) and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Magically, the gooey little dough blobs turn into English muffins!

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Look at all those nooks and crannies! These make great burger bun substitutes as well!

 Sourdough Tortillas

I use this recipe for sourdough tortillas. They’re delicious. I have tried other homemade whole wheat tortillas that came out dry and stiff. These are soft and pliable!

Again, you start with 1/2 cup active starter. Then you add 3 Tbsp of melted butter or coconut oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp sea salt, and a dash of ground ginger.

tortilla ingredients

Mix the wet ingredients together, then slowly add in up to 2 cups of flour. The first batch I made, I didn’t add the flour slowly, and the coconut oil clumped up, which made it hard to roll out the tortillas. If you add the flour slowly, it soaks up the oil better, leading to better tortillas. Also, you might not need a full 2 cups to get a kneadable dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is cohesive and smooth.

tortilla dough tortilla dough balls

Let the dough rest in a bowl (covered) for about 8-10 hours, then form it into 8 equal balls. (these pictures show two batches worth)

Roll out each ball into a 6-inch tortilla, and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for about half a minute or so per side.

tortilla cooking tortillas3

Enjoy! 🙂

Other sourdough goodies:

Waffles! These are SO good! They also make a fun alternative to bread for sandwiches…also, you just use starter, no additional flour, so there’s no soaking time required! It’s a great way to use extra starter.

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Same with these Crepes:

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You can make Muffins! (These are pumpkin chocolate chip) 20131016_125542

We also love sourdough pizza! (Christmas tree shape is optional…:))

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Even pasta!

sourdough pasta!

AND, I even found a recipe for a microwave chocolate mug cake made with sourdough starter! It’s really good! I topped mine with melted coconut butter. 🙂

mug cake

Enjoy experimenting with this tasty, nutritious, and versatile little miracle!

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