Update 12/6/16: I baked the sourdough sugar cookies again yesterday, and when I got out my paper copy of the recipe I’d printed off from Cultures for Health, I realized I had made a number of rather important changes to get the good result I had from my first batch. I thought I’d better post an update, so here’s the amended sugar cookie recipe. The link to the original recipe on Cultures for Health appears in the original post below.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar in the cone)*
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fresh sourdough starter
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Gently mix in the sourdough starter. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonful onto a PARCHMENT PAPER–COVERED cookie sheet. (If you do not have parchment paper, spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. I used a bare pan in one trial, and the cookies stuck a bit.) Sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon and sugar if desired. (I did, it was good and made them taste like Snickerdoodles.)
Bake 12 minutes. (I baked 14-15 min. at my altitude, depending on the size of my spoonfuls.)
Notes: Because of recent experiences with sourdough starter recipes being too wet, I reduced the amount of starter the original recipe called for and omitted the water. My starter is 100% hydration, so it is wet and fairly thin. I used whole wheat pastry flour in the dough. The original recipe called for types of unprocessed sugar I’d never even heard of before. I did have some piloncillo in the house, which is an unrefined, Mexican brown sugar. It comes pressed into cones of varying size and weight. It was a pain to break up (I had to pull out the food processor), but it made a delicious cookie. I see no reason why subbing white sugar, organic or not, wouldn’t work. Regular brown sugar will work. I have made one version with regular brown sugar, spices, and nuts, but I still need to tweak it a bit before I post the recipe.
In my last post, I said I would share links to other sourdough discard recipes if anyone wanted them, and my faithful reader and friend, Kelly, said yes! So here are my favorite discard recipes so far. I’m sure there will be others as I explore the sourdough websites, in particular, Cultures for Health.
First, the sourdough cookies. I really liked these cookies, and my son and granddaughter did too. I used piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) instead of the sucanat called for (raw sugar), which I will not use again because it is a pain to deal with that cone of hard sugar. Next time, I’ll use organic white sugar and reduce the amount by 1/4 cup, and I think that will make them taste even more like Snickerdoodles, my son’s favorite cookie. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the tops of the cookies and called them Sourdough Snickerdoodles. I have ideas about other incarnations of this recipe too, which I’ll be exploring shortly. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/soft-sourdough-cookies
Another favorite recipe for using sourdough discard (remember, this is just sourdough starter batter that you have to use up before your starter becomes too big to be manageable) is the pizza dough. I really, really liked this dough, so much so that after I tried it the first time, I made two batches of fresh dough the next day and froze them for future fuss-free pizzas. The dough should be thawed overnight in the fridge, and I would take it out several hours before rolling to let it come up to room temperature. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/sourdough-pizza-crust
The third recipe I liked for sourdough discard is an onion ring batter. This recipe came from Cultures for Health also, but the recipe was for onion fritters. I decided to add a little sugar and use the batter for apple fritters, which I love. I was very disappointed with the result. The fritters would not hold together, and I finally figured out one reason was the lack of egg in the recipe. A batter needs eggs, people! Also, the batter wasn’t thick enough, and I ended up adding a lot of additional flour before I got something resembling a fritter.
However, I decided to try the batter, with the addition of an egg, for onion rings. (Mostly, I wanted to use up my discard, and I had a lot of fat leftover from the apple fritter experiment that I wanted to use up.) I wasn’t terribly surprised when my altered batter created yummy onion rings. So here’s that recipe, for those of you who aren’t afraid to fry. (I really don’t like frying myself, but onion rings are about the easiest thing to fry, so don’t be timid.)
Fried Sourdough-battered Onion Rings
- 1½ cups sourdough starter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cornmeal
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground cayenne (optional)
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced into ¼ inch slices
- ½ cup brown rice flour (or any flour you prefer)
- Preferred fat for frying (I used a mix of refined coconut oil–not unrefined because it will burn at the temp needed for frying—and avocado oil. I don’t feel guilty about frying when I use “healthy” fats. You can use vegetable oil or peanut oil, also.)
Turn your oven to warm, and set cooling racks over paper towel-lined cookie sheets inside the oven. You will probably need two racks.
Start fat heating in a deep, 2-quart saucepan. You’ll need several cups of fat, and this is why I prefer using a deep saucepan with a small bottom rather than a cast iron skillet. You can get a deep fryer effect with less fat. The fat should be at least 4 inches deep in the pan when melted/heated. If you happen to have a deep fryer, follow manufacturer’s instructions for using.
It’s wise to have a candy thermometer or digital thermometer to monitor the heat of the fat. The fat should come up to between 350 and 360 degrees. (Hotter than that, and this delicate batter coating will burn immediately. Cooler than that, and they will absorb too much fat and will not be crispy.)
Separate onion slices into individual rings. In a medium bowl, combine sourdough starter, beaten egg, sugar, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne with a whisk. Combine baking soda and baking powder and sprinkle over batter; whisk until just combined. Batter will foam and increase in volume.
Working in small batches, toss a few onion rings in flour to coat (a Ziploc bag works well for this). Dip flour-coated rings in batter with a fork or tongs, and place immediately into hot fat. Don’t try to fry too many at a time; cook three or four at time, maximum. If you crowd the pan, you’ll lower the temperature of the oil, with the results noted above, and it’s also harder to flip a bunch at the right time than a few. Fry until bottom is golden brown, turn, and fry for about a minute longer. These onion rings cook very quickly. They are done in just about 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove from fat and place on racks in oven to drain. You can salt them now if you wish, but they don’t really need additional salt. These onion rings are light and crispy. Enjoy!
The last recipe for sourdough discard also comes from Cultures for Health. I like the recipes on this site, obviously. This one is for Sourdough Egg Noodles. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/sourdough-recipes/rustic-sourdough-noodles
I made these for my Thanksgiving turkey carcass soup because, yeah, I needed to get rid of some discard, and I love homemade pastas! This recipe calls for incubating the dough for 8 hours, so starting it early in the morning for dinner that night, or the night before for a lunch dish, is key. However, when I was planning to test this recipe, I forgot that the dough was supposed to sit for 8 hours, and I didn’t get it started until 11 o’clock in the morning. I figured I’d cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the dough by the heating stove and see what happened in the time I had. I was very surprised that in just 4 hours, the dough had more than doubled in size.
I took half of it out of the bowl (and I had only made half a recipe anyway because I didn’t want to sacrifice 6 eggs on an experiment) and rolled it for noodles for the turkey soup. I covered the rest of the dough and left it sitting on the counter, thinking I’d roll the other half when I got home from my granddaughter’s basketball game, if I felt like it. I could tell I’d have plenty from the one half for my pot of turkey soup.
I rolled the dough out on a floured board and cut it with a pasta cutter (which is old and dull, so I think I’d have been better off with a sharp knife), then spread the noodles on racks to dry for a couple of hours before being added to the soup. Then I went off to my granddaughter’s game.
An hour and a half later, I got home and decided I was too tired to finish the soup and roll the rest of the noodles. I cooled the soup and put it in a bowl to chill in the fridge so I could skim the fat (that wasn’t done when the carcass and pan drippings were put in the bags by SOMEBODY at my daughter’s house and frozen—wasn’t me!). I wanted to skim the fat off the soup before I added starch in the form of noodles. The leftover noodle dough had risen again, even in the cool kitchen, so I stashed it in the fridge to deal with the next day. The rest of the noodles were left on the drying rack overnight. (Sometimes my ambition is too big for my energy’s britches.)
When I got up the next morning, I decided to finish drying the noodles in a warm oven, so they’d last for a few days before I had to use them up. I decided to roll out the rest of the noodle dough that afternoon, dry it for just a bit, and then add it to my soup. I love fresh pasta, and I didn’t want to pass up that fresh, tender pasta texture. I’ll use the dried noodles in venison or bear stroganoff later in the week.
The noodles were wonderful, tender as only homemade fresh pasta can be. That half-recipe of dough made enough noodles for a big pot of turkey soup and one other dish for two. If you are an empty nester, like I am, I’d definitely cut the linked recipe in half, or even quarter it, so you don’t end up making more noodles than you can easily use. If you have a large family, by all means, make the recipe as it is in the link.
That’s it for this round of sourdough fun. I’ve found a bread recipe I’m testing, and I’ll report on it soon. The recipe was posted on a Facebook group by a guy who’s a doer, not a writer, and as is usual in such things, it’s a bit confusing as written. As soon as I get the kinks worked out, I’ll share that. It looks promising. The grandkids ate half a loaf when they came over after school to make dog biscuits. My grandson wanted to take the rest of it home, and that’s quite an endorsement from the food critic in the family!