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Hot English Muffins – the sourdough variety!

This is not my recipe. Not in the slightest. The full credit for this goes to Susan from Wild Yeast. Nevertheless, breakfast perfection has been achieved and it is my sworn duty to report such wins to you!

Sourdough hot English muffins with scrambled eggs. Just what the doctor ordered.

[ Makes: 8 | Time: 24 hours | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Sponge

110 g starter
160 g plain flour
100 g wholemeal flour
275 ml soy milk

Final dough

75 g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon agave or ½ teaspoon stevia
1  teaspoon bicarbonate soda
¾ teaspoon salt

Polenta to sprinkle

Method

  1. Mix the sponge ingredients together. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow to rest overnight.

    Cover and rest

  2. Add the final dough ingredients and mix to incorporate. Turn out on a clean bench and mix by hand. The dough is very sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. The mixture will thicken up after a lot of kneading – about 8 – 10 minutes.

    When you start to knead, the dough will be extremely sticky. Resist the urge to add flour!

  3. Use a bread scraper to get the dough off the bench and sprinkle with flour.

    The dough will still be sticky but it will be usable.

  4. Flatten the dough on the floured bench until it is about an inch thick. Use a cutter or a glass to cut out the muffins. Dust the outsides of the muffin with polenta.
  5. Cover and let proof for an hour or three.
  6. Heat a frying pan with a little oil over a low to medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side, turning regularly to maintain shape.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. To use, slit the muffins with a fork and toast until golden.

    before and after toasting.

Observations

  • I’ve made these several times now with mixed results. Take my advice; don’t allow the sponge to rest for more than overnight. It fails to rise when it’s rested for more. Make sure you allow it the second rest period after its been shaped.
  • Diabetic Note: There is nothing too evil here. Treat it like you do bread – one or two slices is allowable. More will wreak havoc with your blood glucose levels.
  • Ethical Note: Sourdough – enough said 🙂

I mentioned the bread scraper. It is a firm but flexible piece of plastic that is excellent for scraping bowls and manipulating dough. If you are getting aboard the sourdough train, make sure you get yourself one.

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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 ]

Ingredients

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

Method

  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.

Observations

  • 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 ]

Ingredients

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

Method

  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.

Observations

  • 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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Carrot Sourdough Muffins

I have made this so many times lately that I thought it deserved sharing. They have become a bit of a staple in the house for morning and afternoon tea treats. This is a delicious way of using up your sourdough starter and although it has a lot of elements, it is so easy. It is adapted from a Richard Packham recipe.

[  SERVES: 2  |  TIME: 40 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4.5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1½ cup plain flour
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup active sourdough starter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup graduated sugar OR 1 teaspoon stevia
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk OR soy milk
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 free ranged egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon all spice
¼ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grate your carrot finely. If you can only use a coarse setting, boil it lightly for a few minutes until its par cooked. Allow it to cool before using it.
  3. In a bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together until it becomes pale. This will take several minutes.
  4. Add the egg and milk and mix well.
  5. Add the starter, flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Incorporate your dry ingredients into the egg mixture gently. Do not overwork the batter.
  6. Gently stir through the carrots, raisins and nuts.
  7. Half fill your muffin papers.
  8. Cook at 180ºC for 16 – 18 minutes.

Observations

  • It is really really important not to over work the batter. If you give it the bare minimum of work, your muffins will be lighter and fluffier. If you use a blender, your muffins will turn into stones. A gentle hand is needed for this one!
  • I use to cook the carrots but now I use finer grated raw carrots and it tastes so much better. Be guided by your grater size / thickness.
  • 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 have tried all manner of fruit and nuts in this mixture. I’ve used almonds and macadamia nuts as well as sultanas and cranberries. What I have mentioned in the ingredients list was my favourite combination.
  • Diabetic Note: I use Stevia where possible. It is a natural substance that is sweet without causing a blood glucose reaction. I use Stevia here to replace half a cup of sugar to my benefit without ruining the texture of the muffins. As a result, I can have one or two of these for morning or afternoon tea without feeling too guilty. Certainly it doesn’t seem to upset my BGL too much.
  • Ethical Note:  I found it to be almost impossible to buy Australian walnuts in the supermarket but the health food store had a few options. Where possible, I purchase locally, but sometimes national options are the only possible ethical option.

 

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Sourdough Chapatis (Flat Bread)

I recently stumbled upon this wonderful recipe on The Sourdough Companion that makes a wonderful flat bread with leftover starter. I decided to give it a go yesterday morning with some delicious results. I served it with some crispy free ranged bacon and a sliced up omelette for a delicious breakfast treat.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 60 MINUTES  |  COST: $1  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5 ]

Ingredients for Chapatis

¾ cup flour
¾ cup sourdough starter
¼ cup tepid water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a good texture is achieved. Turn out and knead lightly on an oiled bench. Shape into a ball and coat in a little oil before resting in an oiled bowl covered with a wet cloth for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat a frying pan with a tiny dash of oil.
  3. Quarter your dough mixture on your oiled bench and using your hands, shape into flat rounds. Take care to avoid tearing the dough.
  4. Cook the chapatis in the frying pan until it is golden brown and bubbling up from the heat. This will take a few minutes on each side. Prepare the next chapatis while one cooks.
  5. Serve it hot or cold.

Observations

  • These were really good. I was able to roll them up to make a wrap out of my breakfast and yet they were still fairly crispy at times.
  • Keep them thin to avoid a doughy texture to them but take care not to tear the dough when stretching it.
  • Don’t have sourdough? You could probably make this by adding an extra ¼ – ½ cup of each flour and water to the dough. It doesn’t have much rise (if any) but you could add some yeast (perhaps half a satchel) to the tepid water for five minutes before mixing in.
  • I loved these hot but they were still good cold.
  • Joe took the left overs to work and heated them up with some left over pasta sauce. He said they tasted like an awesome pizza and he gave that a 5 / 5.
  • Try to keep your dough in a circle large enough (or small enough) to be accommodated easily in your pan. I found that over laps up the side did not cook well and made it difficult to turn at half time.
  • Diabetic Note: *Insert heavenly music here* Despite the flour, fellow diabetics, this dish did not blow the carb budget! I was close to blowing my Blood Glucose Levels, but I was definitely under by a few points and my serving was generous. This is well worth the effort, in my not so humble opinion.
  • Ethical Note: YAY. Another wonderful method of utilising my sourdough starter leftovers and avoiding ecologically damaging mass production. The closer and closer I get to avoiding supermarket shopping entirely, the happier I am.
 

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Basic Sourdough Bread

Over the last few months, I’ve tries more sourdough bread recipes than I care to admit. A few I have loved but most were terrible. The recipe I am about to share with you though has proven to be a winner time and time again and is now my basic daily bread recipe. It is adapted from Mr Ciabatta‘s recipe from the sourdough forums.

This is a standard white loaf made to this recipe. It is garnished with sesame seeds for presentation (and taste).

This is a standard white loaf made to this recipe. It is garnished with sesame seeds for presentation (and taste). It is served here with home made sweet pickle brinjal.

[ MAKES: 1 x 800g loaf or 6 rolls |  TIME: 24 hours  |  COST: $2-3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

400 grams white organic flour
200 grams water
150 grams sourdough starter
7 grams salt
5 grams bread improver (any brand from the supermarket)

Both of these breads were made using this basic recipe. The left one is a wholemeal version while the right one is a nut version. (See variation below for more info)

Method

  1. In a blender with a kneading tool, mix the starter, water, salt and bread improver for a minute until well mixed.
  2. Add in the flour and mix well. Knead for several minutes until warm and sticky.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for 12 hours before folding. To fold the dough, pick up one side and bring it up over the top of itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and do the same. Keep repeating until all sides have been folded over the top. Allow the dough to rest for another few hours.
  5. Fold the dough again and shape into loaf shape. Place in an oiled bread tin and allow to rest for another 10 hours covered loosely with cling wrap or a wet tea towel.
  6.  Bake at 190°C for 30 minutes. Turning the bread out and baking upside down at 175°C for an additional 15 minutes.

If you want to have a perfect loaf of bread, you have to observe the rest periods. Shaping the loaf and then proofing in the baking tray is a vital step in the process and can not be rushed. I leave mine over night.

My sourdough starter is made with organic white and rye flour at a 50% hydration.

Variations and Additions

I have tried a great deal of variations to this basic recipe and most have been a sensational hit. Below are some of my proven variations.

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of each sunflower, flax, poppy and pumpkin seeds
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of each diced apricots, sultanas, cranberries, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Combinations of the two above
  • 100 g wholemeal flour, 300 g white organic flour (instead of 400 g white organic)
  • 100 g organic rye flour, 300 g white organic flour (instead of 400 g white organic)
  • 75 g flax meal and 50 g flax seed (reduce the white flour by 75 g roughly)
  • ½ cup trail mix
These are some Id like to try:
  • 50 – 100 grams of oats and ¼ cup of honey
  • grated apple, brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Grated cheese and mixed herbs
  • Garlic and mixed herbs

Hot plain white loaf, straight from the oven. Note the fluffiness of the loaf by the holes.

Before I bake the loaf, I always like to sprinkle something on top. For presentation and taste, try:

This dough was made using this recipe with the addition of fruit, nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is pictured here during its first rest. It will soon need to be shaped and rested in a loaf pan overnight. By this stage, it has doubled in size but requires more rising.

Observations

  • There is nothing so fantastic as making your own bread
  • I usually make the dough the first thing in the morning and bake it the following morning. (I shape the dough before I go to bed so when I wake up all I have to do is bake it). This timing has allowed us to have hot fresh bread every day for the last week or two!
  • If you don’t have a blender with a dough attachment, you can work this dough by hand. I suspect it would take a good 20 minutes of kneading til it is warm and sticky.
  • This dough has not failed me once. It is always fluffy, light and delicious.
  • Diabetic Note: Lets just not discuss this yet. I LOVE this bread so much but it seriously has issues with my blood glucose levels. I am still trying to work out how much I can have AND keep my bloods happy. Its a work in progress…
  • Ethical Note: I only use organic flours. You cant expect sensational results by using crappy, bleached and over processed flour. Organic flour is not only great for you, but is also sensational for the environment. If money allows, seek out stone-ground whole flours as they are better for your digestive system. Be warned though, heavy whole flours make heavy bread so need to be used in lesser amounts (one third whole grain flour to two thirds white).

Sourdough is a slow process. It is called natures leaven as it uses the natural yeast from the sourdough starter to rise. These bubbles are formed through the sourdough fermentation process. Don’t rush this process or your bread will flop.

Hot delicious bread for breakfast with toasted nuts. What could be better?

 

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Sourdough Choc Chip Muffins

I’ve tried a lot of sourdough muffin recipes over the past few weeks, but this one takes the cake (punny!). Let me introduce you to this awesome recipe which originally Wellsphere.

[ Makes: 10 |  TIME: 30 minutes  |  COST: $4  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

 Ingredients

1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup organic white flour
½ cup choc chips
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 free ranged egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Cream the sugar and egg in a bowl until its colour changes.
  2. Add the starter, oil, vanilla and salt and stir gently til mixed.
  3. Add the flour and baking soda and mix gently.
  4. Spoon into cup cake liners until about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake at 190°C for 18 minutes.

Observations

  • Be exact with your timing for this muffin. 20 minutes dries them out while 15 minutes leaves them raw. I use my portable convection oven so its easy to time and I take them out the second they are done.
  • They have a distinct sourdough flavour and are not overly sweet. Having said that, Brittany did not like them for that reason (*grumble* teenagers *grumble*). If you want a sweeter muffin, you will need more sugar.
  • Take care not to over work this batter or you will lose the lovely bubbles it gets from the soda!
  • Using a wholemeal flour makes them quite heavy but I quite like that. If you are after a lighter fluffier muffin, opt for all white flour.
  • They are sensational hot, or delicious cold. Ice cream would be brilliant with them, as would a sweeter icing.
  • Diabetic Notes: Oh sweet, sweet temptations. One. Just one. And I wont tell your specialist if you wont tell mine.
  • Ethical Note: Chocolate has become a huge ethical issue for me. Asian rainforests are being torn down at neck breaking speeds to plant palm plantations. The removal of the rainforests is threatening a large number of Asian wildlife, many of who have no other place to exist. The palm sugar goes into all manner of Asian cuisine but the majority of it goes into making chocolate. The list of major chocolate manufacturers who use palm sugar is far longer than those that don’t. Research the source and ingredients of your chocolate brands and chose wisely. The orangutans will thank you for it.

 

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