Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Granola Bars - Sourdough Surprises

Is there anything that a sourdough starter cannot be used for?  Don't answer that. If you say "no", I might be heartbroken. I must say that I was shocked when I heard about sourdough granola bars for Sourdough Surprises this month. But that shock turned into excitement. I love granola bars. Occasionally I make loose granola in my slow cooker but I have never made the mixture into bars.

These granola bars are extremely simple. I love that you can put pretty much anything into granola bars. I simply used ingredients that I had on hand and they were great. I made these relatively thin and tried to use as little honey as possible. Increase the honey if you prefer things to be sweet. It's a tricky balance with the honey - too little and the bars may be too crumbly. Too much and it may be sweeter than you would  like for a quick breakfast/snack bar.

Sourdough Granola Bars

96 g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
59 g raisins
50 g shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
96 g (6 tablespoons) crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
100 g 166% sourdough starter


Preheat oven to 350 F
Combine oats, raisins, coconut, and cinnamon. Warm peanut butter (~30 seconds in a microwave) and stir in honey. Add along with starter to oat mixture.

Press mixture into an 8" x 8" pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes.

Score while warm and then slice completely when cool. Keep in an airtight container.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises Gozleme

I love when I get to learn about new dishes and this month Sourdough Surprises is serving up something wholly new but somewhat familiar. Gozleme is a Turkish pastry that consists of a thin dough filled with meat, vegetables and/or eggs. The name refers to the little eyes ("goz") /brown circles  that form on the dough when it's cooked. I read somewhere that there were sweet fillings available too but I could not find any specific flavours. I love that almost every country/region has some form of filling wrapped dough. I guess in Jamaica we would have beef/chicken patties (flaky pastry filled with ground meat). Hello, instant craving. Let me get back to gozleme

I loved the gozleme but the dough just did not love me. I expected trouble. I have gotten a lot better at rolling out dough but it's still not perfect.I would never be like those ladies in the videos I watched of gozleme-making. I did have a dough recipe that has never given me trouble and thought it would be perfect for this. I added some yogurt because one vendor said that it stopped the gozleme from becoming brittle. But my dough was just too soft. And even with a cold bulk ferment, rolling it was a nightmare. I didn't understand. I weighed everything. Why was my "perfect" dough suddenly sticky and tearing each time I tried to roll it? Maybe it was because I was rushing to get them ready for lunch with a friend, I thought. I ate the batch myself and decided that I would try again when I was not in a hurry.

I ditched the yogurt for the next round.  But my nice firm dough still became way too soft dough when I was ready to roll it out. As I swore at my suddenly non-existent dough making skills, I peered outside at the heavy downpour. And then it hit me.

The weather.

The weather was messing with my dough. It has been humid and very wet for over a month. This meant that every dough that I made would get just a little bit wetter after sitting out for a while. On to round three - with a lot less water this time. I think that I had to almost cut the water in half for the last two loaves of bread that I made. This weather is no joke.

Round three worked out fine but I think by then I was becoming a little frustrated with gozleme. For the first batch, I had made a lovely ground turkey and vegetable filling. For the second, I used potatoes and made caramelized onions for the first time. One even used a leftover spicy cranberry sauce with the potatoes. For round three? Just potatoes. I had lost faith. Still delicious though. I  should note that the previous batches tasted great too. It's just that since I had a hard time rolling and folding because it was sticky,I didn't like how they looked.

 As I type this, I am even contemplating making some for breakfast or lunch in the morning. But you know, perhaps I will wait to see what delicious fillings everyone else came up with for this month. I need some inspiration. And of course, you do want to make gozleme so scroll down for some inspiration from those other bloggers too.



1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 large potato, mashed
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until softened. Add the curry powder, stir for a minute then add the potato. Season with salt and pepper. If it seems a bit dry, add a little water. Allow to cool.


3 oz 166% Sourdough Starter
3.5 oz water
9 oz flour
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients and knead well until it forms a homogeneous dough. Cover and let rest overnight.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Divide the dough into 4 ballss and cover with a damp cloth.  Take each ball and roll out to a 5 inch circle then return to each circle and roll out to larger 9-10 inch circle. Make sure that the circle is not larger than your skillet. (Oh yes, that happened to me.)

Fill half of each circle with the potato filling and fold over and seal. Place in heated pan and cook on each side until you see brown circles - about 3 minutes per side.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fried Cantaloupe - Sourdough Surprises

Yes. You read that right. I fried cantaloupe. Actually, we could end that sentence earlier. I fried. That is already an achievement. When Sourdough Surprises announced that we'd be channeling our inner fair food and using our starters to batter and fry, I immediately checked out.

I LOVE fried foods but I HATE frying. My oil is always too hot or too cold. And when by some miracle I get the temperature right, I always walk away from the stove for too long and things start burning. Frying is just not for me. I could use a thermometer to check the temperature of my oil (I did that last night) but what is going to stop me from wandering out of the kitchen? I'm a set it and forget it (for at least a little while), kinda cook. It's why I love baking and adore my slow cooker.

So why cantaloupe? I had some left from another cooking challenge that had also left me scratching my head this month. I was eating a cupful last night when I thought - why not fry it? What's the worst that could happen?

I'm here to tell you that the worst did not happen. This was surprisingly good. Very good. And it got even better when I just ran to the kitchen (I need to taste while I write!) and made a quick glaze with powdered sugar and some orange rum I had lying around. Oh my. That orange really adds an amazing flavour. Highly recommended. Use orange juice or liqueur in lieu of rum.

Though my starter isn't very sour, I did wonder if I would have needed a little sugar in the batter. I didn't. That vanilla alone was enough. I hope that I'll be brave enough to fry again because next time, I want to add some spices to the batter.
So what would your perfect fried fair food be? Be sure to check out what the other bloggers made. I'm sure there'll be at least one you'll want to try.

Fried Cantaloupe
Oil for frying
1/2 cup sourdough starter, 166%
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups cantaloupe diced*
Powdered sugar, optional
Orange juice, liqueur, or rum, optional

Heat oil to 350 F.
In a small bowl, combine starter, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, water and vanilla. Lumps are OK.
When oil is ready, dip pieces of cantaloupe into batter. Scoop up a tablespoon of batter and cantaloupe pieces and place carefully into hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or dip into a glaze made with powdered sugar and orange juice, liqueur or rum. Serve warm.
I found that small quarter inch pieces worked best for fitting into the tablespoon with enough batter. You could also use larger chunks or slices. Simply dip and coat them in the  batter without the need for a tablespoon. I did that with a few pieces.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sweet Potato Burger Buns: Sourdough Surprises May

I think this may be the third time that I am using sweet potatoes in a recipe for Sourdough Surprises. I do like sweet potatoes, but even I am surprised at how often I think of it when deciding on a recipe. I think it's the colour that draws me in. But let's not get too caught up on that. Let's talk about these sweet potato buns.

I did some extra research when I was planning these buns. Sure, I scoured the internet as usual. But this time I went to the supermarket and touched all the unbelievably soft hamburger and hot dog buns. Sorry, customers who came after me. I promise that I did not manhandle your buns. (That sounds kinda wrong.) I also read the ingredients. I wanted soft buns! Almost all the buns had vital wheat gluten and vinegar. Vinegar was a strange one. It seems vinegar strengthens gluten but inhibits yeast. Tricky. I added it here but honestly, I don't think it made a difference or was necessary. My buns had a long rise, gluten formation was not an issue. I think I will try vinegar again in something with high hydration. .

Potatoes are supposed to soften the dough. But it occurred to me that I did not know if sweet potatoes acted in the same way as white potatoes. And what proportion of potatoes to flour would be best? This simply means that I have rounds 2 et al. in the works.

Fair warning: This recipe makes a lot of dough - almost three pounds. For my next trial, I will use a stiff starter and less flour. That will give the potatoes a chance to show me just how much they really enhance the dough.

Now, all of this does NOT mean that I was disappointed with my buns. Not in the slightest. They were not grocery store soft but the crumb was still soft and very much delicious. In fact, the firmer crusts here, actually made these buns more sturdy and more perfect for fillings like sloppy joes. You can do an overnight bulk proof for a stronger sourdough flavour or if you simply run out of time to shape and bake your rolls (*ahem*).

Sweet Potato Sourdough Burger Buns


6.25 oz all purpose flour 
9 oz mature sourdough starter 166%
3 oz milk 

Final Dough
8.25 oz mashed sweet potato (~1 cup)
3 oz water
1 oz oil
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
13 oz flour
0.6 oz vital wheat gluten (1 1/2 tablespoons)
0.3 oz salt
1 tsp vinegar (optional)
egg whites for brushing dough


Combine the sponge ingredients and leave overnight.

Combine the sponge, mashed potatoes, water, oil, egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. And the flour and vital wheat gluten and knead for 3 minutes. Allow to rest for 20 minutes then add salt and vinegar (if using). Knead in a stand mixer for 5 - 7 mins. Leave to rise until doubled (~6 hours). Dough can be refrigerated before moving onto the next step. 

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces ( ~ 3 oz each) and shape each piece into a tight ball. Allow to rest for an hour then flatten slightly. Let rise until doubled. 

Preheat oven to 425 F. 

Gently brush the tops of each bun with egg whites. Bake for 15 minutes.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Multigrain Hot Cross Buns for Sourdough Surprises

As I sit here typing it's 11:26 pm on the 19th of April. I'm sipping lemon water in between spoonfuls of delicious white bean chicken chili. (All hail the slow cooker!) I am more than a little late working on this month's Sourdough Surprises post.  It's been a stressful week for me. It was already going to be a horrible week and I was bracing for the worst when on Monday morning I noticed that the Wi-Fi adapter for my computer wasn't working. Small issue in the grand scheme of things but when you're already stressed? That mole hill is now a mountain. I stayed calm enough about that. And then on Thursday morning, while editing photos, my hard drive decided it was tired of this life. Yeah. This is most definitely a mountain now.

It's a good thing that I had these hot cross buns to comfort me throughout the week.  I won't discuss the number of calories per bun or the number I ate per day. Let's just call it food therapy and leave it at that.

I made sourdough hot cross buns before (using this recipe) and loved them. For this round, I added some rye and oats so that I could have some whole grains. I also reduced the amount of raisins. Additionally, I added them to my dough early. I knew that the raisins would cut the gluten strands but I just never liked kneading them in later. My crosses always get kinda lost on my buns. I think I need to use a thicker flour paste or I may need to try frosting.

Sourdough Multigrain Hot Cross Buns


Dried Fruit

150g raisins plus liquid for soaking

340g milk
250g all purpose flour
2 tablespoons starter

170g all purpose flour
30g rolled oats
50g rye
75g brown sugar
75g melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
7 g salt

Flour paste
White frosting

Simple syrup

Soak the raisins in water, rum or wine and leave overnight. Combine the starter ingredients and leave overnight (8-12 hours) also.
Add raisins to the starter mixture and mix until distributed. Then add flour, oats, rye, sugar and melted butter. Knead for 2 minutes then allow to rest for 20 minutes. After resting, add salt and spices and knead for an additional 4 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
Leave to bulk ferment for 4 hours, stretching and folding every hour. Place dough in the refrigerator for 8 - 12 hours.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. My pieces were just under 100g each. Shape and leave to proof for 2 hours or until puffy.
Preheat oven to 400 F. When buns are proofed, pipe on a flour paste (equal parts flour by weight), if using. Bake 20 -25 mins. Remove from oven and brush with sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated until thick) or melted jam. If using frosting instead of flour crosses, pipe crosses after brushing with syrup or jam.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises March: Irish Soda Bread Two Ways

As soon as the dish for Sourdough Surprises is revealed, I go into planning mode. What can I do that is different? Cinnamon rolls? Let's add strawberries and mangoes. . But for this month, I thought I would stick to tradition. (Well, tradition plus the required sourdough starter.) I've never had Irish Soda Bread in any form so why not start with the basics?  I started looking for traditional recipes and that's when I came across the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread and they take this thing SERIOUSLY.

Let me share some quotes.

"If your "soda bread" has raisins, it's not "soda bread! It's called "Spotted Dog" or "Railway Cake"! If it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar or shortening, it's called "cake", not "bread." All are tasty, but not traditional Irish Soda Bread!"

"Would "French Bread" (15th century) still be "French Bread" if whiskey, raisins, or other random ingredients were added to the mix? Would Jewish Matzo (unleavened bread) used to remember the passage of the Israelites out of Egypt still be Matzo if we add raisins, butter, sugar, eggs, and even orange zest? So why is traditional "Irish Soda Bread" (19th century) turned into a dessert and labeled "Traditional Irish Soda Bread?" OK, maybe you don't like the analogy, but you get the point!"

Alrighty then.

The recipe provided for white (as opposed to brown - which is whole wheat) has

4 cups of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

I used 1/2 cup of sourdough starter to replace some of the flour and the buttermilk. I also halved the recipe. So here's what I did:

Sourdough Irish Soda Bread 

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sourdough starter, 166%
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 F
Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Add starter and buttermilk. Mix lightly to bring together into a ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional buttermilk or water by the teaspoon.
Place the ball into a lightly greased cake pan. Flatten slightly and make a half inch deep cross in the top of the dough.
Cover with another cake pan and place in the oven.
After 30 minutes, remove the top cake pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

This was the end result. It had a yellowish tint which I associate with not having enough acid in the dough to neutralise the baking soda.. However, it didn't taste soapy so I didn't worry about it. But here's the thing. This was just OK. I wasn't in love. We needed to do something to this bread.

So let's add cheese, garlic and parsley and make it Cheddar Bay style. Now this bread? This bread I LOVED. This bread I shoved into my mouth every time I walked by it. This would not be approved Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread. And that's fine by me.

"Cheddar Bay" Irish Soda Bread

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sourdough starter, 166%
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and garlic powder together.Toss in the shredded cheese.  Add starter and buttermilk. Mix lightly to bring together into a ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional buttermilk or water by the teaspoon.
Place the ball into a lightly greased cake pan. Flatten slightly and make a half inch deep cross in the top of the dough.
Cover with another cake pan and place in the oven.
After 30 minutes, remove the top cake pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Combine melted butter, garlic powder and parsley.
Remove bread from oven and immediately brush with butter mixture.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ramblings I

Lots and nothing much have been happening lately. Yes! You can certainly have both. I've wanted to post about my latest exercise exploits, things I'm loving on TV, and things I'm burning in my kitchen. But instead of waiting until I have all the words for individual posts, I figured that I would just put it all together.

  1. I have been trying to exercise consistently since December. I may not have an intense workout every day but I do something so that exercising stays a part of my daily activities. I haven't seen any major improvements so far but that could be directly related to me not giving it my all.
  2. This week, I am giving it my all. I have several videos lined up to do each day. I get bored easily so I am cycling through all the videos available to me. My lineup includes - Fitnessista's Winter Shapeup 2013 (I did this for 4 weeks in Jan/Feb), Fitness Blender videos (LOVE this site), Jillian Michaels videos and any other videos available on Amazon Instant Video.
  3. I still want to try running again but I haven't made it outside to run yet. (I still do long walks (8 miles) each week.) While it was relatively cold in South Florida would have been an excellent time to try. Alas, it's hot again. It may still happen though. I am hoping that as I gain strength from my at home workouts, running might be easier when next I try. Plus, I was dealing with some dizziness issues. I'd get extremely dizzy when I'd stop running. Rapid blood pressure changes? Who knows?
  4. I don't hate my body but I want to have a body that I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE by the end of the year. Toned abs, come to me!
  5. In my drafts folder there is a post about hate-watching television shows. I should finish it.
  6. I just finished season 1 of Orphan Black (it's on Amazon). Great show! I am shocked that the actress was not nominated for an Emmy. When are the Emmys anyway? September? What's the deal, Powers That Be? BBC America gets no love?
  7. I am still posting over on Passion Kneaded (and still have no idea what my ultimate goal is for my two corners of the internet). Anyway, I started cooking with the Crazy Ingredient Challenge back in August. Then in January, I started with the Bundt Bakers. Bake a cake every month? Oh, twist my arm, won't you?
  8. Posting can get pretty hectic (particularly for someone who doesn't post regularly) because all 3 cooking groups post about the same time and sometimes on the same day. Sourdough Surprises (that I still blog over here for logistical purposes) always posts on the 20th. CIC is the 20th also. Bundt Bakers posts on the third Thursday but that has either been on the 20th (February & the upcoming post for March) or pretty close to it.
  9. Kudos to you food bloggers who post religiously several times per week! You guys rock! I wish I had your blogging, cooking and photography skills. One day, I will. Well, the last two anyway.