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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 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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