• Leigh

Too Much Sourdough Discard? Use It Several Ways


Because I have two different starters--one rye-based and one whole-wheat-based--I have plenty of starter/discard to turn into breads and other treats. Having two different starters wasn't intentional. I was experimenting and really didn't expect both starters to attract yeast and live. They did, proving that making your own starter isn't that hard. Because the starters are living things (sort of), I can't just dump one or the other down the drain. That would be cruel. Not to mention wasteful. So, I end up with a lot of baked goods to eat and plenty to share.

With two cups of starter/discard to use, I decided to feed the discard and then divide it up for several different projects: loaves of Trail Mix Bread, a Honey-Walnut Coffee Cake, and a Tomato Pizza Bread. That way, we have a little variation in our weekly sourdough haul.

Trail Mix Bread is a simple, no-knead bread that's just a little sweet. As its name suggests, it's studded with trail mix items--nuts, dried fruits, and pumpkin seeds. The bread is a little dense in texture, more like a quick bread than a yeast bread, and it has a nice tang to it from the sourdough process and a bit of grated orange zest. It's quite good for breakfast plain, toasted with a little butter or jam, or slathered with cream cheese (low fat!) or even peanut butter. Oh, truth in advertising, the recipe makes two loaves, so you'll have plenty for the week or an extra loaf to share or freeze.

Honey-Walnut Coffee Cake relies on the same batter as the Trail Mix Bread but its sweetened with honey and gets a nice dose of chopped and ground walnuts as well as a dusting of cinnamon. An orange glaze drizzled on the top of the coffee cake keeps it moist and adds extra sweetness.

Tomato Pizza Bread is just what it sounds like. The same basic sourdough gets some additions: Italian herbs, Italian cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese. It's baked, then topped with more cheese, fresh tomatoes and bit more cheese, then baked a second time. The pizza bread makes a great accompaniment to soups and salads.

So maybe it's not so bad to have extra starter/discard? The extra gives you plenty of options.

Sourdough Three Ways

2 cups of starter

1 cup of water

2 cups of white whole-wheat flour

In a large bowl, combine the starter/discard, water, and white whole-wheat flour and stir them until you have a wet batter. Cover the batter loosely with plastic wrap and let it stand for 4-8 hours. Add:

1/4 cup of canola oil

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of salt

Mix everything well and divide the batter into two portions. Leave one portion plain. To the second portion add:

1 egg

1/2 cup of plain, fat-free yogurt

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

Grated zest of an orange

1/2 teaspoon of cardamom

Let both batters rise overnight or 6-12 hours (you can stir the batters down and let them rise again, if you're not ready to bake. I usually start the batters after supper and stir them down just before bed time, leaving them to do their own thing over night).

Divide the second portion of the batter (the one with the sugar and egg) into two equal portions.

Sourdough Trail Mix Bread -- Makes Two Loaves

1/2 of the second portion of the batter (the one with the sugar and egg)

1 cup of trail mix

Combine the batter and trail mix. Stir the batter well for a few minutes, then divide it between two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans coated with non-stick cooking spray (or lined with foil that's been sprayed with cooking spray). Let the batter rise until it comes just to the top of the loaf pans--2-4 hours. Bake the batter at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes (or to an internal temperature of 190 degrees). Let the breads cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before removing them from the pans to cool completely. For the trail mix, I use Costco's Mega Omega mix with walnuts, dried mango, almonds, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, but any trail mix with a mix of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds will work.

Honey-Walnut Coffee Cake

1/2 of the second portion of the batter (the one with the sugar and egg)

1-2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 cup of chopped walnuts

1/3 cup of coarsely ground walnuts

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2/3 cup of confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon of butter

1-2 teaspoons of orange juice

Coat a 9-inch round cake or quiche pan with non-stick cooking spray. Stretch or push the batter into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the batter with the honey and sprinkle it with the walnuts. Sprinkle on the cinnamon. Run a knife through the batter, swirling in the walnuts and cinnamon. Let the batter sit for 4-6 hours (it won't rise much). Bake the batter at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the coffee cake is a little brown on the edges and the middle appears just set. While the coffee cake is baking, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, and orange juice in a measuring cup. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds. Stir it well and microwave it for another 15-30 seconds until very hot/bubbly. Pour the hot glaze over the warm cake. Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes before serving it.

Tomato Pizza Bread

To the remaining batter (the plain one from the night before), add:

1-2 tablespoons of honey (or you'll have a really "sour" dough)

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup of shredded Italian blend cheese

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon of Italian herbs

Olive oil

Coat a 9 x 13-inch sheet pan (or cake pan) with non-stick cooking spray. Push/stretch the dough to fit in the pan. Coat the top of the pan with a little olive oil (or spritz it with non-stick cooking spray). Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for 4-6 hours. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the dough for 15-20 minutes or until set. Remove the partially baked dough from the oven and sprinkle the top of the dough with:

1/2 cup of shredded Italian blend cheese

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Slice 4-5 tomatoes and place them in a single layer on top of the cheese.

Sprinkle on top of the tomatoes evenly:

1 teaspoon of dried basil

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Bake the bread for another 10-15 minutes or until the tomatoes are juicy and the cheese has melted. Let the bread cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing it into squares to serve.

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