Sometimes, when a woman is expecting, and everyone is busy wondering whether the baby will be a boy or a girl or who the child will look like, out comes the announcement that she is having twins! It was like that for me when I adopted, not one, but two sourdough starters from fellow bloggers, Suganya and Sharmi. Each bundle of Amish Friendship Bread yeast mix arrived at my home within days of each other, each snuggled in buntings of identical clear plastic bags secured with pink plastic zippers. It was impossible to tell them apart, my twin girls, except for the Day One dates written on them, dates, which I later learned through experience, have no real bearing on the baking results. But I digress.
The black-and-white Parisian street-scene calendar that hangs in my kitchen mostly for show actually earned its keep as a cluttered scratch pad of regimented schedule: do nothing, mash the bags, mash the bags, mash the bags, mash the bags, feed the bags, mash the bags, burp the bags, mash the bags, burp the bags, feed the bags….until I wound up with four times the volume of each original starter I received ten days before. (Which in my case means eight times.)
Once the volume of a batch of starter quadruples, it is parsed out into four equal measures, each one bagged. Three are earmarked for other bloggers or readers, and one is for you. You can follow a simple loaf recipe included with the starter instructions or tinker with it, according to how much of a mad kitchen scientist you are. I chose to tinker with one of the two recipes I selected, despite the fact that I had never worked with sourdough starter before. Call me foolish or inclined to live dangerously, but there were too many other starter-enhanced recipes out there online to be confined to the prescribed recommendation. So I followed my autumnal bliss and sought recipes that would feed the pumpkin eater in me. At this point I can feed more than just a pumpkin eater; I can feed an army. I am now the proud and worried mother of sourdough sextuplets, and all my children need better homes than I can provide for them. And so a new cluster of starters are being sent out into the world to the nurturing kitchens of Meghan, Toni, Ruhama and Wendy. Please contact me (thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com) if you are interested in continuing the baking circle. I still have a few bouncing bags of yeasty beastie babies up for adoption, free to good homes.
Sourdough whole wheat waffle.
Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles with Pumpkin Butter and Candied Walnuts
Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles - From the CooksRecipe.com sourdough pancake recipe, using 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour. Most pancake recipes make excellent waffles; this was no exception.
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 large egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons flavorless oil (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
The night before: Mix 1 cup starter with the flour and milk in a large, non-reactive bowl. Place the bowl in a warm place, cover and let it stand until morning. The next day: add beaten egg, oil, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar to sour dough mixture; mix well. Bake in waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions. Made eight 6 inch X 4 inch Belgian-style waffles. --
Waffle topped with pumpkin butter, whipped cream
and maple candied walnut.
Pumpkin Butter - My own recipe. There are many variations available online.
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves)
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Allow to gently simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately over waffles or refrigerate promptly in a sterile container. Use within a few days or freeze leftovers.
N.B. It is NOT recommended that you home can or jar pumpkin or other squash products with or without sugar.
Candied Walnuts - My own recipe
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
In a small cast iron skillet, heat the maple syrup until just simmering. Add the brown sugar, mixing to melt. Allow mixture to bubble and thicken slightly. Add walnuts and toss them to cover with syrup. Turn off flame. Be cautious with cast iron and melted sugar; both are extremely hot and can cause serious burns. With a metal fork, carefully separate and remove coated walnuts to waxed paper and allow to fully cool.
Top each waffle with a generous spoonful of pumpkin butter, followed by a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Top with candied walnuts.
Cream cheese-filled pumpkin roll.
Cream cheese-filled pumpkin roll.
Classic Pumpkin Roll - Adapted for sourdough use from the Libby's recipe. The only changes I made were the addition of 1 cup sourdough starter and one less egg than the recipe called for. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate the difficulty of this recipe a 4. The most important tips are to use a freshly-laundered, very thin and finely woven tea towel, and heavily powder it with confectioners sugar to facilitate rolling the cake; use more than the 1/4 cup recommended in the recipe. Powdering the towel prevents sticking. Do not use a bathroom hand towel or a waffle-weave dish-drying towel. They are too thick and clumsy. Serves 8-10. --
This is my entry for Kalyn’s Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging # 105, which I am delighted to be hosting this week. Do be sure to return on Monday for the full round-up of fine fare from around the world.
Been There, Done That
Injera – Fermented Ethiopian Teff Flour Bread