Tag Archives: Baking

Strawberry and Choc-Chip Sourdough Pikeletes

My daughter Brittany loves to bake. She is often baking muffins and cakes in the kitchen and I would consider her *cough* to be a *cough* better baker than I am. The other day she was looking for something to do and I suggested making some pikeletes out of the left over sourdough starter for the day. She made two kinds of pikeletes – choc-chip and strawberry. Below are her instructions.

[ MAKES: 12  |  TIME: 20 MINUTES  |  COST: $2  ]
[  Brittany’s RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING: 4  / 5 ]


1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup choc chips
2 tablespoons soy milk
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda


  1. The butter needs to be melted so it can be incorporated into the batter easily.
  2. In a bowl, gently mix the starter, milk, agave, and butter.
  3. Add the salt and baking soda and mix gently until incorporated.
  4. Carefully stir the choc chips and or strawberries into the mixture.
  5. In a frying pan, bring a little oil to a moderate heat.
  6. Using a spoon, put one or two spoonfuls into the middle of the pan and allow to cook until golden brown. This will take 2 – 4 minutes.
  7. Turn the pikelete over and cook until golden brown. This will take 1 – 2 minutes.
  8. Serve hot or cold, with fruit, cream or chocolate sauce.


  • You can substitute sugar for the agave and regular cows milk for the soy milk. I forgive you.
  • If you want to try Brittany’s strawberry version, only add ¼ cup choc chips and add ¼ to one-third cup chopped strawberries to the batter.
  • As with all muffins, cakes and pancake mixtures, mix gently. The more vigorous the stirring, the tougher the end product.
  • Brittany made two batches of these (one of each) and we enjoyed them cold for morning and afternoon tea for several days. They remained soft, fresh and delicious. YAY for sourdough!
  • Diabetic Note: One or two of the strawberry version for morning or afternoon tea will not break the carbohydrate budget. This will depend on size and density of the pikeletes.
  • Ethical Note: We had strawberries in the fridge getting towards the end of their shelf life. By incorporating them into this recipe, we reduced potential wastage problems. YAY for us!


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Banana Muffins

This is a little bit of an experiment so I was weary of the results. To my astonishment, what results is nothing short of bananary goodness.

[ Makes: 12  |  TIME: 30 MINUTES  |  COST: $2  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  3.5  / 5 ]


3 ripe bananas
1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup chocolate chips
1 free ranged egg
1 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon stevia


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the egg, stevia, agave and starter and mix gently.
  3. Add the wholemeal flour, baking soda and chia seeds and mix gently.
  4. Stir through the choc chips.
  5. Fill your muffin trays or liners until ¾ full.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes.


  • It is really important not to over work the batter. A gentle hand is needed for lighter, fluffier muffins.
  • If you are after a more refined, fluffier texture, use white flour instead of wholemeal. Wholemeal gives you a much denser body.
  • If you are not a convert to the joys of agave, just use ordinary honey.
  • When baking, put a bowl of water in the oven so it is moist with steam. This will stop your muffins from drying out.
  • There is a fine line with this recipe between deliciously moist to overcooked and dry. Test it with a knife tip or a skewer from 15 minutes and adjust cooking time to suit your oven. I found the 17 minute mark to be ideal for me.
  • Originally, I used 2 tablespoons of chia bit it sort of over dominated the other flavours. In this case, more is not always best.
  • The choc chip and banana combination was made of winning!
  • Diabetic Note: Agave is the nectar of a cactus and has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners such as refined sugar and honey. I use it when I can’t use stevia which had no effect on my blood glucose levels. Agave is also a strong choice for vegans who don’t eat honey. It is also 1.5 times sweeter than honey, so is used sparingly. Just as well, really, because it is expensive!
  • Ethical Note: I used way over ripe bananas in this instead of throwing them away. YAY for reduced waste!

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How To: Bread Techniques from the Professionals

I stumbled across this wonderful video series on the King Arthur Flour website. If, like me, you are on the DIY bread trip, you may also enjoy this series. It covers everything from how to incorporate the ingredients to importance of pre-shaping, shaping and scoring. Enjoy!

Techniques for the professional baker.

Mixing and Folding

Dividing and Pre-Shaping



Evaluating the Finished Product


Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


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My Kitchen

I have been watching Masterchef (Australia) since it started up for the season and have been very jealous of all the kitchen / counter space they get to create in. My kitchen is exceptionally tiny. From counter to counter it is just under 6 feet across, and about 3 feet deep. The joys of living in a small flat, I imagine.  I often have several things on the go at once (I am a huge fan of multitasking and cook several meals at once) so I am very conscious of using every square inch of space.

I decided to take you on a tour of my kitchen to share it with you. I have tried to make a panorama of my kitchen for you by mashing a few photos together. Next to the stove on the left is the front door and the right side is the edge of the fridge on the edge of the dining area. As you can see on the window sill, my sourdough, sprouts and kitchen herbs loving the morning light. I have several things in various stage of cooking.

Here are the items to start making my chicken stock. Today I am using chicken wings to make the stock with. The meat will be stripped from the bones and made into a risotto of some variety (Probably chicken and leek) and the stock is made into all manner of food stuffs.

In the portable convection oven I have a loaf of sourdough bread baking. This particular recipe has been a bit of a staple at home for the last week or two and I will share this recipe with you in the next few days so look out for it, sourdough lovers!

Joe works weekends so I like to send him to work with a packed lunch. Roasted vegetables with couscous or rice is one of his favourites. Look for this recipe tomorrow.


Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Sourdough Starter

I’ve written this starter recipe out a few times in the comments sections on various posts now so I’ve decided to do it in a post so that its more accessible for people. There is something very wholesome about making your own baked goods. Its fun, rewarding, challenging and profitable. I wont bother going into the health benefits or the science behind sourdough as there is so much available on the internet about such topics.

There are many versions of sourdough starters on the net; potato starter, wholemeal / whole wheat starter, white starter, plum and grape starters – the list is long and exhaustive. While researching starters, I spent the better part of the summer looking to various internet sites for the right starter for me until I got this one.

I’d love to be able to give someone credit for this recipe, cause I sure didn’t invent it. After three failed starter attempts, the starter I am about to describe has worked a treat for me and given me superb results. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where it actually came from though, but the actual recipe is probably as old as the hills.

This start container has ample room for the starter to grow and is protected from wild yeast by a shower cap / bowl cover. This photo was taken about 5 hours post feeding and has doubled (risen) in size - note all the bubbles indicating an active healthy starter?


50 g Rye Flour
50 g White Flour
100 g Water


  • Mix the above ingredients well and place into a container covered by some cheese cloth or other breathable material. I use a loose-fitting shower cap style bowl cover (photo above)
  • Find a nice spot in your kitchen for your sourdough to sit. It will need to be in a warm spot free of drafts. Mine sits on my south-facing kitchen window.

A room with a view: My sourdough starter, sprouts and indoor herbs sit on a south-facing window sill. In the southern hemisphere, this position gets limited early morning direct sunlight, reducing the risk of over activation, drying out or scorching.

  • Every 12 hours, give your sourdough a vigorous stir. In a few days, you will notice bubbles forming that aren’t from the stirring. This is the tell-tale signs of your starter coming to life.
  • Once the bubbles have been observed, its time to feed your sourdough. You always want to feed it enough to double its weight. As we started with 100 g (total) flour and 100 g water, its time to add that same weight (200 g total between flour and water) to our starter. Mix 100 g of water into your starter followed by 50 g white flour and 50 g rye flour. Mix well and let it rest.

An active sourdough culture should be light, bubbly, and have a yeasty smell about it.

  • After this initial feed, you want to reduce your starter by a cup or so before each feed. Just ensure that you leave at least 1 cup of starter in your jar at all times to keep your starter going. Depleting it further than this point will weaken it and may cause the cultures to die. You can use the discarded cup or two of start in breads, pizza crusts, muffins, scrolls and pancakes. If you do not remove this starter each feed, you will soon have enough starter to fill a swimming pool. Also consider this; you must feed it enough weight to double which will soon become too costly to feed!

Sourdough pancakes are a sensational way of using up your discarded cup or two of starter culture.


  • A healthy active starter that is sitting at room temperature will require feeding every 12 – 24 hours. You will notice a pattern in your starter over time. Within an hour of feeding, my starter begins to grow. Within four or five hours, it will come close to doubling in size before deflating as all of the food is consumed by your starter culture. When this occurs, its time to feed it again, however, I find morning and night feeds is sufficient.
  • Quality flours produce quality products. If you are going to go to all this trouble, don’t cut corners. I use organic, unbleached flours that are stone ground where possible. They do cost a bit more, but the end results are worth it. (IGA Organic White Flour is about A$3 / kilo while Fundamental Foods Organic Stone Ground Rye is about A$5 / kilo. I use a kilo of each in the starter every two weeks. (Sidenote: Since switching to the rye flour, I’ve had no problems at all. I think it is worth its weight for this sort of thing.) (Pro Tip! to save time, mix 1 kg Rye with 1 kg organic white flour and store in a container. The 50% / 50% flour mixture can just be measured straight, saving time.

Quality flours create quality products.

  • If your sourdough doesn’t appear to be active after three or four days, discard it and try again. If your sourdough doesn’t appear to be active after two attempts, change flour brands.
  • I would not use the discarded sourdough starter until it has stabilised. This may take a week or two. When your sourdough is predictable, its good to use!
  • If you are going away, put your sourdough in the fridge. This will put it in a dormant state until you are home again. Slowly bring back to room temperature, stir, and resume normal feeding.
  • Remember, you want to double its weight each feeding – don’t cut corners or you will starve your culture to death. Learn to weigh your starter. To do this, get to know the weight of your container. Total container / starter weight of 400 g less container weight 100 g gives you 300 g starter. To feed this, add 150 g water, 75 g Rye and 75 g White Flour. This is sufficient to double the starters weight, giving it ample food for growth!

These delicious cinnamon scrolls were made with a sourdough starter. Note how much they grew in just 120 minutes? There is no yeast in that dough - just some precious sourdough starter.

  • After feeding, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of your container. This will stop mould growing in warmer, more moist conditions. Also, change your container every three or four days.
  • When choosing a container to house your starter, consider that you will be feeding it (doubling its weight and volume) and it can rise by as much as 150% in hot weather. Make sure you have enough room in your container for this to occur.

Look how light and airy this bread is! Who would have thought it was possible with wholemeal bread? Sourdough no knead bread magic!

  • Final note of importance: Try to not use cup measurements. Weight and volume are not the same. You want to have equal portions by weight, not volume. By volume, your starter will become too watery and will not be able to hold its weight or raise bread. Weight, dear friends, is the road to sourdough heaven.
  • I know it all seems daunting and probably a tad overwhelming at the start, but trust me – once you get started it’s an addictive process that you will just love. It’s a happy part of my morning chores. I wake up, and feed my living dependent things – the cat, the garden (water), my sprouts and sourdough. So satisfying! AHHH its good to be alive!
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A tease


Joe is enjoying his packed lunch. Home made sourdough bread with homemade hommos and home grown tomatoes. The lettuce, cucumber and eggs are all locally grown produce. Dessert was a sourdough cinnamon scroll that I lovingly prepared last night. I promise a blog next week about these sourdough success stories.


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Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

For weeks now, I have been battling with trying to get a sourdough starter established. After two trials (and failures) I’ve finally got a stable, happy sourdough. The starter method I used can be found on the Sourdough Home – a comprehensive site dedicated to bath water sourdough. Anyway, for my first trial baking, I decided to try something that looked appealing. The original recipe can be found on the Sourdough home’s muffin page and full credit goes to Mike for it. I also hope he wont mind me meddling with his original recipe…

[  Makes: 8 – 10  |  TIME: 40 MIN  |  COST: <$5  ]
[  Joes Rating  3 / 5  |  MY RATING:  2 / 5 ]


1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup almond slivers
¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
¼ cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (425°F)
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients, slowly stirring in the blueberries and nuts.
  5. Spray muffin tray with oil. Fill the muffins to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.


  • I have to say right up front that I am not a baker. I generally leave the baking up to my daughter Brittany. Having said that, I can’t say that this was hugely successful. The taste and texture were all a little… bread like. Notwithstanding, it is my first attempt at sourdough anything so in a sense, it’s a huge success! =)
  • This was a very thick dough like mixture rather than a smooth batter. In hindsight, perhaps 50% wholemeal and 50% white flour could have been used, and perhaps a dash of milk.
  • I cant wait to try to make other sourdough baked goods… look out for breads, muffins, bagels and pancakes coming your way soon!
  • Diabetic Note: All this flour means carbohydrates. According to the website, each muffin is about 26 grams of carbs. Adjust accordingly.
  • Ethical Note: I’ve been doing quite a bit of research recently into flour.  Did you know that most white flour use steam to remove the husk, killing a lot of the nutrients along the way? As a result, manufacturers have to include additives to lift the nutrient values back to an acceptable level. Before it reaches you, the flour is also bleached to make that bright white colour that so many of us seem attracted to. Now ask yourself, how can this be sustainable, ethical or practical? Where possible, use organic wholemeal flours. Your intestines will thank you for it.
A sourdough starter fermenting.

A sourdough starter fermenting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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