Thursday, August 20, 2015

August Sourdough Surprises - Coffee Cake

Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's the 20th.

No, really. I thought it was the 19th.

That's what happens at the end of a long, fun filled, busy, on-the-go summer. I lose all track of days and dates and posts!!!

This month, Sourdough Surprises chose one of my favorite things to do with sourdough as the inspiration - coffee cake!!! I love coffee cake in any of its incarnations, but it is absolutely one of my most favorite things to do with "discard" starter.

I've made sourdough coffee cake before. In fact, I use this recipe pretty often. So I wanted to do something a little different this time. But what?

The answer came to me when planning a fun afternoon activity for the kids - peach picking!


I decided to add a layer of sliced peaches between the cake and the streussel layers of this cake.

And the result?

Not too shabby!

I think the extra moisture from the peaches affected the texture of the streussel, but the taste was outstanding. The peaches added the perfect burst of fresh sweetness

I brought this cake into work with me one morning.

Did I mention that I work at a zumba studio??

It's always fun when I bring in treats. The initial response is always "we're here to exercise!! No cake!!"

But then I turn around and... the pan is empty, except for a few crumbs.

This was a big hit.

So link up and share your sourdough coffee cake!!

Peach Sourdough Coffee Cake
(slightly adapted from German food)

for the streussel topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, cold (I used coconut oil)
3 peaches

Combine flour, (brown) sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Rub in cold butter (or coconut oil) using your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when you press it together with your fingers. Set topping aside.
Peel and thinly slice the peaches. Set these aside, too.

for the cake:
1 cup healthy sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Spray 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" square cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir together all ingredients until they are just combined.
Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
Carefully arrange the peaches over the top of the batter.
Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the peach-topped of the cake.
Allow the cake to rest for 30 minutes. While it is resting, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake is set and the sides begin to pull away from the pan.
Allow to cool before cutting.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

June Sourdough Surprises - Galette


Anyone out there?

It's been a long time, I know!

Things have been absolutely crazy. School year ending, lots of activities, and a double bout of bronchitis and pneumonia (all me... yup...), but all that is settling down and I'm so excited to share some deliciousness!

This month, Sourdough Surprises had us revisiting pies, but in a more rustic ways, encouraging us to try our hands at galettes or crostadas.

As luck would have it, I happened to have a ton of apples in the fruit bowl (and next to the fruit bowl...), so I got right to work!

It all starts with the dough, which comes together just like a "regular" pie crust dough, only using sourdough starter as the liquid portion.  I try not to overwork my pie dough to keep the end result nice and crispy, so it looks a bit crumbly to start.

Trust me, that's a good thing.

The dough is then rolled out into an approximate oval. Remember - we're going for rustic this month.

See all that butter in the crust? Not overworked.

And then we add the filling. I winged that part. Sliced up some apples, cooked them down in coconut oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, a bit of ginger and a dash of nutmeg. Once all of that cooled, I poured it right into the center of my (rustic) oval.

Then just... fold up the edges as best as possible.

I just kept reminding myself... rustic. Rustic.

And then it all bakes up to golden deliciousness.

Now, I am not sure if you remember, but my kids are not always fans of sourdough.

But this?

Little miss LOVED this.

Asked for it for dessert. And breakfast. And snack time.

She wound up eating almost the whole thing.

Can't say I blame her. This was delicious.  Perfect come-back treat!

So what did you bake for us this month?? Link up and share!

Sourdough Pate Brisee (for pie or galette - enough for single crust pie or one galette)

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
about 1/2 cup liquid sourdough starter (mine was at room temperature, but chilled starter would probably be even better), more or less as needed

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar.
Add the butter and work with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some larger, pea-sized chunks remaining.
Gradually add the starter, carefully mixing with a rubber spatula or your hands, pressing it against the sides of the bowl, until the dough barely holds together when squeezed. You may not need all the starter, or you may need to add more, so add slowly from the start and work the dough only until it's ready.
Gather the dough into a ball, put it in a plastic bag, and squash it into a 6" disc. Chill at least 1 hour, or up to a couple days, or freeze for up to two months.

When you are ready to prepare your pie or galette, rolle the dough into a round approximately 12" around.  Fill with your prepared (cooled!) filling, and bake in a 400 degree oven until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.


Monday, April 20, 2015

April Sourdough Surprises - Biscotti

Happy April!! Spring has finally started to... well... spring, and I, for one, am super excited about it.  The warmer weather makes me so happy!!

This month's Sourdough Surprises challenge also made me happy! This month we were challenged to use our sourdough starters to make biscotti. YUM! I was so excited that I made my biscotti right away. Which almost never happens these days.

There are tons of recipes out there, combining all kinds of flavors and mix ins. I knew I wanted to try something a bit simpler for my first go-round, so I chose this recipe.

The trick to biscotti, even the sourdough variety, is not in the dough preparation. It comes together similarly to other cookie type doughs.

The difference is that they're not done after being baked.

Nope. After they're baked and out of the oven, you keep the oven hot and prepare them to be baked again.

Allowed to cool just briefly, the loafs cookie "loaves" are sliced, and the slices are laid out on a baking sheet... be baked yet again, toasting them to a beautiful, golden, delicious treat.

These were so delicious and made the perfect afternoon treat.

Especially delicious with a cup of tea.

Even better when enjoyed outside in the gorgeous Spring weather.

So what kind of biscotti did you make? Link up and share!

Sourdough Biscotti
(only slightly adapted from Friendship Bread Kitchen)

1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almonds or walnuts, coarsely chopped (I used sunflower seeds to keep them nut-free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer), cream together starter, sugar and butter. Stir in vanilla extract and egg.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry mixture into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts (seeds).
Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out into a log about 10 inches long. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten until they are about 3 inches wide.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until firm. Cool on baking sheet for 10-15 minutes.
Slice logs crosswise into 1/2 inch wide slices. Place slices cut side down on baking sheet.
Return to oven for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and light brown. Cool and store in airtight container.


Friday, March 20, 2015

March Sourdough Surprises - Choose Your Own Adventure!

You know what's awesome? Sourdough Surprises has reached their third anniversary! That's thirty six months of sourdough deliciousness - and you've stuck along with me for the ride!! How cool is that??

To celebrate the third anniversary, Sourdough Surprises offered participants a chance to choose any recipe we wanted from all those we've made over the last three years - try one we missed, repeat one that we wanted a do-over on... whatever the reason, just choose your own sourdough adventure this month!

With thirty six amazing and varied recipes to choose from, you can imagine how difficult it was to make my final selection. But I based my decision on what my family liked best, and that happened to have been a very recent challenge - steamed buns!


Last time I made bacon cheeseburger buns. This time, I tried chicken enchilada buns. The filling was made from shredded chicken smothered in delicious, tangy enchilada sauce.

I made two varieties - without cheese, for little man, and with... for the rest of us. Aside from the fact that the buns lost their shape during the steaming process, these were a fun and delicious take on the Mexican meal.

I can't wait to see what meal I'll turn into a bun next!

So what did you choose? Which sourdough surprise did you attempt this moth? Link up and share!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Sourdough Surprises - Beignets

I am late.
And I apologize for that.

But I absolutely couldn't let the month of Febraury go by without doing the absolutely amazing Sourdough Surprises challenge of making beignets.

Beignets are similar to donuts, and are particularly popular in New Orleans, specifically around Mardi Gras. Which made them the perfect choice for this month's challenge.

The recipe I used was super simple, but amazingly delicious. I quickly mixed up the dough one night after dinner, then let it rest at room temperature until little miss came home from school the next day - then fried up some after school deliciousness!

For as simple as this dough was to whip up, these beauties had a deliciously complex flavor and an amazing texture - crisp on the outside, light and chewy on the inside.

These were absolutely worth the effort of frying them and I look forward to making them again!!

Sourdough Beignets
(adapted from Have YOU Ben Starr Struck? to be dairy-free)

1 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized table salt)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes.  The dough should be firm and clear the bottom of the bowl.  If it doesn’t, add a bit more flour.  If it’s too dry and doesn’t come together, add a splash more buttermilk.
Transfer the dough to a bowl that’s been lightly sprayed or oiled, then cover with plastic wrap and let ferment on your countertop for 4-12 hours. I let mine sit for about 20 hours at room temperature.
When you get ready to fry, pour about 2″ of canola oil into a heavy pot over medium heat (or preheat your deep fryer) and bring the oil to 325F.  Pinch off a ball of dough about the size of 2 golf balls.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick.  Then cut that flattened dough into 4 pieces with a knife or pizza roller.  Don’t worry about making them look symmetrical.  This is a rustic dessert.  Drop the dough pieces into the hot oil and fry, 4 at a time, flipping often, until the beignets are golden brown on both sides, and nicely puffed up.  Transfer to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to drain for a few seconds, then dust with powdered sugar.
These taste best fresh and warm!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January Sourdough Surprises - Steamed Buns

There are a few dishes that I really enjoy, but, for some reason or another, don't make all that often.  So when Sourdough Surprises chose steamed buns for the January challenge, I was excited. Because that's one of those dishes that I always enjoy, but never think to make.

The first time I made steamed buns (bao) was with the Daring Cooks. I have since made them only a handful of times, and not at all in the last year. So I couldn't wait.

The two toughest parts of this challenge for me had to do with decision making - choosing a dough recipe and choosing a filling.  There are plenty of options for both, but I finally decided on this recipe for the dough and a filling the whole family would enjoy - burgers!  

I started with the dough.  The recipe calls for a preferment to be prepared 8 hours before making the final dough. Since my kids aren't big fans of strong sourdough flavor, I decided to try the recipe with a much shorter prefermentation time - like, only one hour. I used that hour to prepare my filling.

To create the "burger" feel, I sauteed onion and browned some ground turkey, then crumbled some cooked, crispy bacon into the meat mixture.  Then had to stop myself from eating all of it directly from the pan.

While the filling cooled, I finished preparing the dough, and then got down to the nitty gritty of bun-preparation.  The recipe makes enough dough for 24 buns, but I didn't want quite so many, so I divided the dough in half and made 12.  Since little man is allergic to dairy, I filled six with just the meat mixture, and the other six, I sprinkled shredded cheese on top of the meat.

The recipe calls for the filled and shaped buns to rest again - this time for an hour. I rested them for about half an hour, and used that time to set up my steamer basket. And then it was time to steam!

I love this steamer basket. It makes the whole house smell fresh and wood-y.

I steamed my buns for about 20 minutes, and when I opened the basket...

...they looked great!!

And the best part? They tasted even better than they looked. And everyone loved them. My kids didn't even realize they were made with sourdough.

After this meal, I think these might just wind up on the menu a little more often!

So did you steam up some buns this month? Link up and tell us all about them!!

Steamed Bun (Bao) Dough

Prepare your starter:
4 ounces 100% hydration sourdough starter
6 ounces water
10 ounces unbleached all purpose flour

Mix above ingredients and let stand for 8 hours or overnight.  It should double in size and become very bubbly.
This dough will still work if you shorten this rest time, but will decrease the full sourdough flavor in the completed buns. I let my dough rest for 1 hour and it was perfect for my family.

For the dough:
Once the preapred starter has rested, in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, stir to combine:
6 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening
15 ounces flour (I used unbleached, all purpose, but the recipe called for bleached all purpose self rising flour- something I never have on hand)

When you have a rough dough in the bowl, mix in the rested starter from the previous step and knead with the dough hook of your machine for 5 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and soft, but not sticky.  Try not to add any extra flour.  My dough was a bit stickier than I expected, but I had no trouble forming and shaping the buns.

Cut 24 3 inch square pieces of parchment (you can use wax paper or foil if necessary).

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces–about 2 ounces per piece.   Flatten each piece and place about a tablespoon of your filling of choice in the center.  Gather the dough together at the top and pinch to seal.  Or, you can make plain buns by just rounding the dough into little balls.  You can place them seam side down on a piece of parchment for a rounded look or seam side up for a rougher look.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 45-60 minutes.  Place in your steamer tray at least 1 inch apart and steam for 10 minutes for plain and 12 minutes for filled.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December Sourdough Surprises - Stollen

Can you believe that the holidays are upon us once again? Time to reflect, time to remember, time to enjoy family and friends, and time to enjoy delicious holiday traditions!

Sourdough Surprises decided to get us in the holiday spirit in the most delicious way by having us make stollen this month.  A few year ago, I made my first even stollen for a Daring Bakers Challenge. We enjoyed it so much that it has become an annual tradition.  But, for some reason, I'd never tried a sourdough version! Until this year, that is!

There are many examples of sourdough stollen online, so inspiration is not difficult to find. Narrowing down the choices? A much more difficult task! I finally chose this one, from one of our awesome members (who also happens to be an awesome person!!), refreshed my starter and got started!

This recipe, like many sourdough recipes, calls for a preferment to be started the night before actually tackling the recipe. Since I did this right before bed, I didn't take any photos.  But when I woke up, it was bubbly and ready to rock!

I have to say, this dough comes together super easily.  I simply threw all of the other ingredients into my mixer bowl...

...scraped the happy, bubbly preferment right on top, and let the KitchenAid knead it for about ten minutes. And the result?

A soft, beautiful, silky dough. Seriously, this dough was a thing of beauty.

While that beautiful dough rested, I prepared my fruit.  I chose dried cranberries, dried apricots and dried pineapple.

Usually, the  fruit is soaked in some kind of alcohol (rum, I believe), but I chose to make this family-friendly, and I soaked my dried fruit in orange-mango juice.

Once the dough rested and the fruit soaked, it was time to combine them!  I simply pressed the dough out on my counter, drained the fruit and sprinkled it on top.

And then just roll it up!

And then it rests again.

Two hours later, it's time to shape the stollen.  Traditional stollen actually has a roll of marzipan baked into it, which goes in at this point. With little man's nut allergy, we just omit that and proceed with shaping.

And then, yet again, it rests.

And two more hours later, it's ready to bake!  For this, recipe, you preheat the oven hotter than you need it, then lower the temperature as soon as the tray goes in.  This gives an initial burst of high heat, which gives the finished bread a crispier crust.

And 50 minutes later?


But we're not done yet!! In addition to the actual bread crust, stollen has one more "crust" layer - powdered sugar.  I brushed the bread with melted coconut oil (in place of butter) and little miss made it snow.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

And then, with a nice cup of tea, we enjoyed.

This stollen was so delicious. The crust was nice and crisp, the crumb was smooth and delicious. A slight tang from the sourdough, delicious bursts of tropical sweetness from the fruit, this stollen was absolutely delicious and enjoyed by all.

Another of these will definitely be made for our family's holiday brunch, and this very well may replace my previous stollen recipe as our annual stollen.

So did you make a sourdough stollen this month? Link up and share!

Sourdough Stollen
(from pizzarossa)

1 generous cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, apricots and pineapple)
enough juice to cover the fruit (or rum!)

250g 100% hydration sourdough starter
125g whole milk, lukewarm (I used coconut milk beverage)
500g all-purpose flour
75g sugar
115g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces (I used one stick, 113g)
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted (I used coconut oil)
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

The evening before you want to bake:
Mix the starter with the lukewarm milk, 250g flour and 1 tablespoon sugar. It will be quite stiff, so you may need to mix by hand. Cover and set aside overnight to ferment at room temperature.

The following morning:
Add the remaining flour, sugar, butter and salt. Knead for 10 – 15 minutes, until soft, adjusting consistency with flour or butter if needed. Let the kneaded dough rest in a buttered, covered bowl for 1 hour.
While the dough rests, soak the dried fruit in the juice. If you are using alcohol, you may want to let it soak overnight - just prepare it when you prepare the pre-ferment.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently stretch out to an oval about 1cm thick and sprinkle with the drained soaked fruit, then roll and fold dough into a ball. Return to the bowl, cover and let rest for 2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a long oval. Using a thin rolling pin or the side of your hand, press into it lengthwise along the entire length of the dough, just off-centre. Fold the slightly narrower side into the middle and the other side over the top. Gently pinch the seam and ends closed.  I improvised this and rolled and pinched it to make my approximation of the traditional stollen shape. Do what works for you!
Place the loaf on a parchment-lined baking tray, cover and let it rest for another two hours.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Place the stollen in the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees once it's in. Bake for 50 minutes.
When done, remove from the oven and brush generously with melted butter (coconut oil) while still warm. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Let cool completely before cutting.
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