Well, she was right! We revived and fed the starter the night we received it, and the next morning, we were ready to have...
Sourdough pancakes!! Daiku and I are both huge fans of sourdough (having grown up in the Bay Area, I have enjoyed my fair share of San Francisco sourdough bread), but had never tried it in pancake form.
Not only were these suckers fluffy, golden, and beautiful, but they were delicious!
Served with a little bit of Earth Balance and maple syrup, they were melt-in-your-mouth heaven.
Next up, sourdough pizza dough:
Holy mother of crust, this was magnificent! The dough is actually quite easy to make, and doesn't take that long to rise. This is the cool thing about sourdough- it's like a shortcut to baking, since the starter is like a seasoned sponge that otherwise would take hours and hours to achieve.
After par-baking the crust and brushing it with olive oil, we topped it with fresh garlic, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, black olives, and basil from the garden. I topped my half with tofu ricotta, and Daiku topped his half with (dairy) white cheddar.
This pizza was, in a word, amazing. We kept marveling at the professional results our dough achieved, how it had the perfect flavor and flaky texture, and how this was the closest we'd ever come to duplicating the unique characteristics of New York-style pizza.
Look how the thin crust stood up to the load of toppings!
Ok, we had had our fun- now it was time to get down to serious business: sourdough bread.
This was the first attempt. I loved how soft the bread came out (perfect for sandwiches).
And how good the inside looked.
It was just the thing for recreating one of my all-time favorite breakfasts from childhood. My mom used to make me honey butter, basically a mixture of honey and butter, to put on toast. Nowadays, I simply make it with a mixture of Earth Balance and agave nectar, and it is so good.
With some nice toast, a handful of fresh walnuts, and some strong black tea, you have yourself a pretty damn good breakfast.
After getting a feel for the starter and how it behaves, I branched out and decided to make crusty baguette-style bread and rye bread with the starter.
Here is one of the rye loaves, sprinkled throughout with caraway seeds. So tasty!
One last bonus bread, this one not sourdough:
This is Bryanna's European-style crusty bread recipe, and it is so great. This is the first time I have achieved a truly crusty bread with wonderful taste and texture. The only slight modifications I made to the recipe are that I used less wheat germ than called for (because I ran out), and that I added about a tablespoon of wheat gluten.
Whatever- this bread was excellent. My goal, as I practice with the sourdough more and more, is to achieve the texture, crust, and consistency of this bread in sourdough form.
Jody, thank you so much for bringing sourdough into our lives- it rocks!
Some of Bazu's tips and observations on sourdough so far:
- Since sourdough can react with metal, I've only used glass or ceramic containers and wooden chopsticks to handle it. We keep it in a large pickle jar in the refrigerator, with the lid loosely placed on top
- Why are there so many sourdough recipes on-line that call for yeast? Sourdough starter is its own yeast and rising agent- why "cheat" by adding yeast? (See, I've had this starter for two weeks and already I'm a sourdough snob!) But seriously- you don't need yeast if you're working with a starter.
- Sourdough bread gets more sour as it cools and rests
- To achieve the most sour bread possible, go with the longest rising time possible. San Francisco sourdough bread is often the product of 24-36 hours of rising! I find that long, cool temperature rising results in a flavor I like better than the quicker rising in warm temperatures. This is good- it means lots of yummy bread in the cold-weather months coming up!
- Just to be safe, I have put a bit of our starter to "sleep" (i.e. froze it), in case something goes wrong with the batch we're working with.
- I need a waffle maker- hello sourdough waffles!
Sourdough pizza dough
Crusty sourdough baguette and crusty rye bread (I loved the cornstarch baste trick- the breads came out glistening, enough to rival any egg wash)
Sourdough tips and tricks
Bryanna's European-style crusty bread