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Creative uses for sourdough - there's more to this stuff than just bread

 
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Making bread with sourdough is delightful, but there is so much more we can make from our starter.

Let's brainstorm some ideas of things we can make with a sourdough starter.



I haven't tried it yet, but Rye Sourdough Noodles from Cultures for Health, looks like a tasty treat. Very high on my list of things to try now I have a healthy starter bubbling away again.
 
r ranson
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One of my favourites recipes that I adapted/invented is Sourdough Pancakes Just in time for Pancake Tuesday.



Sourdough Pancakes

1/2 cup sourdough sponge, active and bubbly, not too stiff.
1/2 cup milk (or milk like liquid if you like rice milk or soy milk or whatever)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs melted butter
1/2 tsp maple syrup
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp water


  • In a medium bowl, mix together all but the baking soda/water. It will be a bit runnier than regular pancake batter.
  • Heat up the frying pan/griddle. Make sure it's nice and hot so that when a splash of batter hits the pan it starts to cook right away, but not so hot that the grease smokes. Speaking of grease. I'm of the firm opinion that pancakes taste best when cooked in lard. I like to use a mixture of about 4 parts lard and 1 part butter to grease my griddle. But to each their own.
  • When the griddle is ready and everything else is ready, mix the dissolved baking soda into the batter.
  • Now ladle, spoon, poor out your batter into the pan. Keep in mind these will spread out a bit more than you may be use to, so leave room between the cakes.
  • When the bubbles burst and don't close up again, flip the cakes. It will take about 30 seconds to a min for them to cook on the other side.
  • You can serve them as you cook them or stick them in the oven (at about 250F) to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest, then serve them all together.

  • (I asked and gave myself permission to reproduce the recipe from my blog here.)
     
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    It's very handy for making pancakes. I ate so many sourdough pancakes as a kid that I got very tired of them. As pancakes they were fine, but my mom would make a lot of extras and serve them up cold (with peanut butter, rolled up) for lunch, and in that form they were extra-sour, gluey, and boring to chew and choke down.
     
    Dan Boone
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    Ha! Overlapping posts...
     
    r ranson
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    Dan Boone wrote:Ha! Overlapping posts...



    Pancakes are just so fantastic. They deserve to be mentioned as often as possible.
     
    r ranson
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    Dan Boone wrote:It's very handy for making pancakes. I ate so many sourdough pancakes as a kid that I got very tired of them. As pancakes they were fine, but my mom would make a lot of extras and serve them up cold (with peanut butter, rolled up) for lunch, and in that form they were extra-sour, gluey, and boring to chew and choke down.



    Wait a minute. Cold pancakes? We can eat them cold? This has just opened up a whole new world for me.

    Now to spend the rest of my free time this month concocting a recipe for delicious, easy to chew, not too sour, sourdough pancakes for eating cold in packed lunches.
     
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    Sourdough doesn't have to be sour, as R mentions in another thread....we live walking distance to a woodfired, all organic sourdough bakery now....the bread so perfect and affordable I don't bother to make it anymore.
    They also make excellent cookies using sourdough starter.
    I can't share any secrets to cookie success even though our son is a baker there, I just have eaten the proof that it can be done
     
    r ranson
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    Judith Browning wrote:Sourdough doesn't have to be sour



    So very true.

    If you are willing to ignore all the modern stuff about the proper way to use sourdough, then it is more than willing to do your bidding. There are ways to make it so the bread lasts 2 weeks at room temperature, or more before going moldy, ways to make it sweet and light with only the tiny hint of sourdough taste (and no sugar added). So many wonderful things you can do with sourdough if you're willing to do it 'wrong'.
     
    pollinator
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    My kids made sourdough DONUTS last week that were insanely good.

     
    Judith Browning
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    R Ranson wrote:

    Judith Browning wrote:Sourdough doesn't have to be sour



    So very true.

    If you are willing to ignore all the modern stuff about the proper way to use sourdough, then it is more than willing to do your bidding. There are ways to make it so the bread lasts 2 weeks at room temperature, or more before going moldy, ways to make it sweet and light with only the tiny hint of sourdough taste (and no sugar added). So many wonderful things you can do with sourdough if you're willing to do it 'wrong'.



    Maybe more modern sourdough recipes have changed to accommodate store bought bread tastes... I think 'old time' traditional bakers make their everyday breads with a variety of fresh flours, sea salt and their sourdough starter (as does this bakery)....nothing else...no oils/shortenings or sweetners...except in the cookies, of course
     
    r ranson
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    You are so right Judith. I forget that modern recipes often have more in them than just flour, water and salt (and flour water based starter). There are so many variations you can make with just those three ingredients, that it's amazing people would want to add more.

    Although, this time of year, I really enjoy eggy breads like brioche and hot cross buns.

    I also find bread is a really good way to use up leftovers. Vegis, starches, pulses, or sweets, mixed into the sourdough dough... makes some amazing breads. Here's a leftover cycle I really like: Rice, rice pudding, rice pudding sourdough bread (just standard sourdough bread with rice pudding mixed into the sponge), rice pudding sourdough bread toast, rice pudding sourdough bread bread pudding.

     
    r ranson
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    Another favourite I came up with ages back is Simple Sourdough Crackers.



    Simple Soudough Crackers

    1/2 cup sourdough starter or sponge
    about 1/2 cup flour plus more for dusting
    2Tbs olive oil (for the vegan version) or better still melted butter (not-vegan)
    pinch salt
    more olive oil or butter for brushing
    a bit more salt for sprinkling on top

    Please note if you keep an excessively stiff starter like I do (I'm talking can stand a spoon in it one evening and it will still be exactly where you left it the next morning - kind of stiff), you may need to add 1/8th cup water to the mix.

    You can start with the sourdough starter at room temp (best) or even at fridge temp (takes longer to 'age')


  • Combine starter, (optional water, see note above), salt, flour and oil (or butter), to make a very stiff dough. Kneed till smooth and elastic.
  • Cover and set aside at least 1/2 an hour at room temp, although the longer the better. I usually leave it for 2 hours at room temp before moving on to the next step. Although over night in the fridge will also work. I've had times when I was interrupted half way through making these, banged the remaining dough in the fridge for 3 days, then made the crackers - the result was a bit more sour than usual, but still quite yummy.
  • This ageing the dough is an important step for melding the sourdough flavour and it also helps to break down elements in the wheat that can be hard to digest.
  • Roll out the dough very thin on a lightly floured surface. The thinner the more crisp the crackers will be. Use cookie cutters or a sharp knife to cut the dough into desired shapes. In my case I like long strips, about 1/2 an inch wide. Be creative but not fussy. Rustic is the name of the game.
  • Place on a baking tray and brush the oil or butter on top. Sprinkle VERY lightly with salt.
  • In the oven at 350F for about 10 min. But keep an eye on them, they could be ready in as little as 5 min if you made small thin crackers, and as long as 20 min if you made thick, large crackers.
    When done, take off the rack and cool before eating.
  • (I asked and gave my permission to reproduce this recipe from my blog here.)
     
    r ranson
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    R Scott wrote:My kids made sourdough DONUTS last week that were insanely good.



    Please share all you know about this. Never made donuts before, but I imagine sourdough homemade donuts are amazing.
     
    r ranson
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    A couple of things I've seen mention in old books that we can do with sourdough include gluing together broken crockery and polishing brass. Don't know if either works, but I do know dry sourdough starter is mighty tough to clean. I imagine it would make good glue. Anyone tried this?
     
    R Scott
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    R Ranson wrote:

    R Scott wrote:My kids made sourdough DONUTS last week that were insanely good.



    Please share all you know about this. Never made donuts before, but I imagine sourdough homemade donuts are amazing.



    I wasn't around for the making and they aren't home to ask right now, but I would guess the recipe came from the bread geek blog or one of her cookbooks.
     
    Dan Boone
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    R Ranson wrote:I imagine it would make good glue. Anyone tried this?



    From a glue-chemistry perspective, it's basically a flour-and-water paste. Which was the standard "paste" (usually mixed with a preservative such as salt to avoid bad smells) issued to primary-school kids for many many decades. You could eat the stuff, and many children did. It's great for sticking paper surfaces together, but I'm skeptical about long-term crockery repair.
     
    Dan Boone
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    R Ranson wrote:

    Judith Browning wrote:Sourdough doesn't have to be sour



    So very true.



    With respect to the pancakes, my experience is that they taste much more sour after getting cold and sitting for however many hours or days. A sourdough flapjack with just a mild sourness when it lands hot on your breakfast plate can have have a biting acidity when you're trying to choke it down cold after finding it in your packed lunch a day and a half later.

    I don't know what food chemistry is behind that. Surely cooking stops the yeast from working? But I do know it's true, or at least it was with my mom's starters, which she routinely started from wild yeasts.
     
    r ranson
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    Here is another delicious recipe for sourdough pancakes
     
    pollinator
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    I remember making crumpets from my sourdough starter a few years ago;  I can't give proper attrition for this, but I believe it was a blogger named Casey Maura who posted about it.  It's basically using the starter as a batter just on its own, nothing else added.  Cook like a pancake, or to make it authentic use a greased crumpet mold (or a small clean tuna can).  

    For those unacquainted with crumpets, they're often compared to English muffins.  I think they're more like an American pancake, unsweetened.  Eat them like an English muffin with lots of butter dripping through the holes.

     
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    I make a lot of Ethiopian-inspired food and have recently gotten access to teff flour. I found a blog that used sourdough discard as a starter for homemade injera, and it works a charm (I do usually do half teff and half white flour, but it all works pretty well). Instead of a 3-day ferment that may not work (and teff is EXPENSIVE, if it goes wrong), I can start the injera in the morning for that evening's dinner.

    I also use my sourdough discard to make Chinese yeasted breads (they usually refer to "old dough" starters) that are either steamed or pan-fried. Generally these recipes, when you're doing the first punch-down and shaping, ask for some baking soda rubbed into the extra flour on the board, which cuts out the acid taste completely. For steamed buns I think that works pretty well, but I like the sour taste in things like flat scallion bread, for example, and leave that out.

    from this recipe for yeasted scallion flatbread.

    Today, I'll be making buckwheat flour blini from my sourdough! It gets a lot of mileage, and lately (right now it's summer, and gas is PRICEY) I am not making sourdough bread at all.
     
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    I always use this recipe, https://www.baking-sense.com/2017/10/05/sourdough-donuts/ ,whenever I make SD donuts... I skip the cardamom though, and they're honestly to die for! I have also made a chocolate version, not my partners favorite, but they were pretty good! I believe I substituted half a cup of flour for half a cup of cocoa powder, it might have only been a fourth a cup though. They last for a couple days if you're willing to reheat them but are definitely the best fresh. They're also incredibly fun to make, this could be something good to do with the kids as long as an adult handles the frying part.

    We also use sourdough for our pizza crust. It's literally as easy as pouring the sourdough starter directly onto a preheated cast iron skillet (coated with oil), spread it around with the back of a spoon (it'll be pretty sticky, be patient) add your toppings and then bake at 425 F for 8-10 minutes. I usually use between 180 and 200 grams of starter in our 10" skillet. I have used it just after it's peaked as well as when it's well into the "discard" zone. Very, very easy and delicious. Its our go to dinner when we don't feel like cooking anything else.
     
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    Remember those Play-doh Fun Factory extruders? That childhood favorite found its way into my adulthood as a brass pipe with a screw style dough compressor: a pasta extruder. After many failed sticky attempts at extruding pasta dough, I cut out the eggs entirely and mixed an extra stiff batch of semolina and (you guessed it) sourdough starter. The dough is unusually integrated after a half hour of resting. I rip off chunks of dough, stuff them in the pipe, put on the top fitting then twist out really perfect rigatoni and other not-so-traditional shapes. Sourdough with semolina really is the only dough that works for me in that brass contraption.
     
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    I started sourdough in the fall of 2019. The first thing I made where dinner rolls.  I was worried because to be honest I'm not a fan of the sour taste.  Wow they were so good.  My son said  he never wanted to eat any other kind of roll.  Then we tried pancakes. They have a good taste, but it's the amazing texture that sold me.  Best pancakes ever.  My son was bragging so much about the pancakes to his cousin that he asked if he could have some starter, and the recipe.  Pancakes are our favorite, but we have made lots of other things.  We didn't really like the bread, it was ok, but not great.  The non was terrible, very sour.  I'm going to try a few other recipes before I give up.
    My pancakes recipe
    2 eggs.  1 1/2 cup of milk mix until frothy.  Add 1 cup sourdough starter, 2 table spoons of oil, or melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar,  4 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix. Add 2 cups flour.  My starter is on the thick side.  Things seem to turn out better for me, and I never get that liquid on top.  Most of us like the pancakes with maple syrup, but my daughter eats them as is with nothing on them.
     
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    r ranson wrote:

    Judith Browning wrote:Sourdough doesn't have to be sour



    So very true.

    If you are willing to ignore all the modern stuff about the proper way to use sourdough, then it is more than willing to do your bidding. ... So many wonderful things you can do with sourdough if you're willing to do it 'wrong'.


    Yeah, 'wrong' deserves those quote marks. How can it be wrong if it works?

    As I commented on a sourdough starter thread, I don't bake bread but I've been making whole wheat sourdough waffles for half a century. It was a Sunday ritual until my sons moved out, at which point I started toasting frozen leftover waffles on alternate weeks. Not quite as good as fresh, but better than Eggo.

    I've simplified the method from the early years and just use about a cup of refrigerated batter saved from the previous batch (before the other waffle ingredients are added) as the starter. Even when it's warmed to room temperature, it usually looks dead after two weeks, but it's not. After adding it to a mixing bowl, I thoroughly stir in flour and water to a consistency that keeps a vertical spoon from immediately falling to the side. After sitting overnight in a warm place (e.g., covered on top of the Internet hub☺), it's suitably bubbly and ready for use.

    The sourdough tang is light and barely noticeable with the 1/2 tsp of baking soda I add for extra lightness.
     
    pollinator
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    My new favorite is sour dough English muffins !

    I use rye flour for just about everything so that's what I use in this recipe as well but I believe that they were originally made with wheat.

    1/2 cup starter
    1 cup milk

    Mix together

    2 cups flour

    Mix again and let sit 8 hours

    Add 1 Tbl honey, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp  baking soda and mix.

    Makes a very loose dough so flour board well and fold/knead it adding flour until can roll it into a log. Cut into 8 pieces and flatten into patties.

    Cover and rest for 1 hour and then cook about 1 min on each side (until rises and is brown on bottom). Use medium high heat and preheated skillet.

    Super delicious!
     
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    You haven't lived until you've made a good sourdough, thin crust, hand tossed pizza using 00 flour and a long, cold ferment. I love sourdough bread and pancakes, but pizza takes the cake.
     
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    It's great for some non-food purposes, too. In the frontier days, in the USA, it was often used for chinking, in log homes, and has often been used as an adhesive.

    I've also done some digging, and for those of us who cannot ingest wheat products, it can also be made with rye, oats, and a couple other grains. They take a little longer to get a starter going, and apparently handle a bit differently, but I'm willing to try with the oats, soon.
     
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    I think I have already mentioned my "sourdough bible" which does not only contain lots of bread recipes but also recipes for waffles, pizza, pasta, donuts, panettone, muffins and just about everything you can bake. (From the author of this blog: https://www.ploetzblog.de/)
    You can also add 1-2 tsp. to sauce béchamel, cream soup, make dumplings, polish zurek soup, cookies, pretzels, crêpes etc.

    I have a great recipe for crackers with cheese that are totally addictive. I could drop the potato crisps when I have those around!

    I usually add at least some sourdough to pizza or sandwich bread as well.
     
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    When my kids were in grade school I kept a starter going and had to be a bit imaginative to avoid the "Mom, why can't we have store bought bread like everyone else?" complaint. I made peanut butter bread for jelly sandwiches and cheese bread to go with tomato soup, oatmeal bread and cinnamon bread for breakfast. And occasionally the kids each got a chunk of dough to make their own breads (rabbits, cats, snowmen, spaceships...). Now that it's just me I'd never be able to keep up with it, I'd have to freeze two out of every three loaves.
     
    Carla Burke
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    Roberta's post reminded me of 2 things I used to make, one of which my 36yr old son still asks about, every once in a while. I loved the chocolate muffins. But, we all loved the cinnamon/nutmeg bread. I made it rich with the spices, and sweetened with honey. The house smelled amazing, and everyone got a thin slice with butter and a drizzle of honey. Then, I cut the rest of the loaf into thick 'sticks', made those into french toast, with a bit more cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. After the first breakfast, I froze the rest on a cookie sheet, then when they were solid, put them in a bag, in the freezer. Then, on busy days, all I had to do was to pull out only what was needed, pop then into the toaster oven, and by the time we were ready to run out the door, they we're ready to grab and take along - no extra syrup needed.

    I think if that oat sourdough works out, I might try that, again!
     
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    Jake Esselstyn wrote:You haven't lived until you've made a good sourdough, thin crust, hand tossed pizza using 00 flour and a long, cold ferment. I love sourdough bread and pancakes, but pizza takes the cake.



    AMEN to that! I made 6 sourdough pizza dough balls late last fall, stuck them in the freezer, and have been enjoying them all winter. They turn out perfectly - far better than any pizza you can get delivered - with the use of a preheated pizza stone.

    I don't use a long, cold ferment, though... what does that mean?
     
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    Lisa Brunette wrote:
    I don't use a long, cold ferment, though... what does that mean?



    I bulk ferment my pizza dough for 8-10 hours at room temp, divide it into balls, and then ferment those in the refrigerator for another 24-48 hours. 36 hours seems to be the sweet spot for flavor complexity and texture.
     
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    r ranson wrote:

    Wait a minute.  Cold pancakes?  We can eat them cold?  This has just opened up a whole new world for me.

    Now to spend the rest of my free time this month concocting a recipe for delicious, easy to chew, not too sour, sourdough pancakes for eating cold in packed lunches.



    My mom beat you to it in 1964. She hated baking bread so she made us pancake sandwiches for our school lunches.
     
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