Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Monkey Bars

(Apologies for the late post – my computer spent 10 days in repair and blogging from my phone wasn't feasible).

Why had I never made granola bars?

I'm on a high protein diet and I have a major sweet tooth. My local Vitamin Shoppe knows me by name and knows I'll never leave without protein powder or bars. I eat some sort of protein bar every day. I love to cook and bake. Seems like it's easy to put two and two together, right?

I have my reasons (convenience, mainly), but Sourdough Surprises challenged us to make granola bars. It was a curious possibility (I'd never heard of using any flour based binders before). Still, especially as I have my sourdough protein project that I occasionally get to working on, it seemed like something I should take head on.

I'm actually not a fan of true granola bars (I frequently take them to work, where the Florida heat melts the binder and turns them to a sticky crumbly mess), and with the flour in the sourdough starter, it made sense to make them more cake like – sort of like the Kashi Soft Baked bars. Not having a whole lot of similar recipes to go on (and a half-empty jar of Peanut Butter & Co White Chocolate Wonderful calling my name) I got inventive:
Sourdough Monkey Bars


Makes 8 bars

1/2c sourdough starter
1/4c Peanut Butter & Co White Chocolate Wonderful
1 large banana
1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla whey protein  powder
1 cup quick cooking oats

Mix everything but oats in a blender. Pour over oats & toss to coat. Spread in a greased 8" square pan & bake for 10 minutes at 350.
Simple enough (although the peanut butter flavor got lost behind the vanilla and banana). They also were not pocket friendly, meaning I couldn't take them to work. As far as taste goes, though, they were definitely on par with some of my favorite commercially produced bars. I will probably be playing with this recipe for the Sourdough Protein project.





On the other hand...why would I make my own when I can find things like this?
Check out our other awesome Granola Bars!



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Cranberry Siracha Golzme

Way back when I started blogging (not that I do too well with it, by a folder full of half-written posts), when I started my sourdough starter, I put some in a baggie in the freezer. There are times I don't have time to bake, and sometimes my sourdough gets put by the wayside. Sourdough is a colony of living animals, and they may not live forever.

This past month has been a lot of my taste-testers being out of town and me working 12 hour days. The name of the game has been cleaning out the freezer and pantry. I made a mini-cheesecake (which will be posted after I perfect the recipe), but the cookies I promised my coworkers, perfecting my sourdough protein waffle recipe, and most meals that require effort has been put by the wayside. So when I pulled out my sourdough starter, I let out a yelp. Mold covered it. There was nowhere to even get a spoonful from to re-start it. Well, that's one more thing I can get out of the freezer, right? And while I'm at it, why don't I use Sourdough Surprises to continue my spring cleaning?

The challenge this month was gozleme, which is possibly best put as a Turkish quesadilla. The difference is pretty much that the “tortilla” is raw when it's placed on the griddle. It's supposed to be savory, with similar fillings to my all-too-familiar perogies. Of course, there's the gray area there, and spicy fruit seems to be big lately. So I thawed and fed my frozen sourdough starter, grabbed an extra can of Thanksgiving's cranberry sauce, and with just a little guidance from an easy recipe, made my gozleme.

Sourdough Cranberry Siracha Gozleme
Serves 4

Dough:
1/2 cup Sourdough Starter
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt

Filling:
1 cup prepared cranberry sauce
1 tblsp Siracha

Mix salt and flour into a small bowl. Slowly cut in sourdough starter, adding more flour as necessary. Cover and set aside.

Microwave cranberry sauce in 30-second increments until melted. Stir in Siracha.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each piece out thin. Divide filling among dough pieces, placing in the center. Fold dough over filling.

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, grill each piece, starting flat side down, for about 1-1/2 minutes each side until dough begins to blister. Enjoy while warm!

The only thing I have to say is these had quite a kick to them. I use Siracha quite a bit now (yes, I've fallen for the craze), but it seemed stronger in these. But the pairing worked very well. Plus, other than warm cranberry sauce dripping out, they were compact and portable. Something (with a different filling) that I could see taking to work for a portable and friendly mini-meal.

And that just might keep me using the starter this time around...

Check out our other cool gozleme!





Friday, June 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Lemon Parmesan Squash Oven Fries

I have a confession to make:

I have never deep fried anything.

This has nothing to do with eating healthy – it's not the deep frying that adds calories, it's the batter. Anyone who knows me well knows my love of chicken wings, and I was about to give in to the local food truck that was serving deep fried Cadbury eggs (fortunately or unfortunately, they ran out before I got there). It's the fryer itself. I'm careful in the kitchen, but that does not prevent me from getting grease splatters every time I cook bacon, and then there's the spaghetti squash knife incident that has left me with no feeling in the side of my pinky finger. So a pot full of hot oil is a danger zone. But Sourdough Surprises picked fry batter this month...what was I going to do?

Then one day I was putting chicken wings on a broiler pan, ready to bake...and it hit me: almost everything that is fried can still be done in the oven. And it just so happens to be zucchini/yellow squash season, which is also one of my favorite vegetables. The zucchini selection at the market was a tad picked over, but there was a pretty straight yellow squash that clocked in at a full pound, ready for the taking.

I completely winged this recipe:
Sourdough Lemon Parmesan Yellow Squash Oven Fries
Serves 3-4


Batter:
1/2 cup ripe sourdough starter
2 tblsp mayonnaise
2 tblsp grated Parmesan
2 tblsp flour
2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tsp salt

  1. Cut 1 lb zucchini or summer squash into fry shapes and set aside. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk all batter ingredients together. Dredge squash through batter. Place on cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 until desired level of doneness, about 20-25 minutes (Mine were roasting with chicken and took about 24 minutes)

I can't say these turned out exactly as I hoped (oven squash fries are normally breaded, not battered). But the taste was amazing...the sourdough and Parmesan complemented the gentle squash flavor perfectly. Even my father, the one who prefers familiar food, loved them. I could have eaten the entire batch myself (although, going back to the batter being what adds calories, a mere third of this recipe still clocks in at 132 calories using light mayo).

It was still all the mess of frying (without the danger of hot oil splatters!), and quite a bit of trouble. But the taste was tempting...I just might have to make these again.

Check out our other awesome fried (and oven fried!) delights:


Friday, May 23, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Kimmelweck Rolls

Sourdough Surprises: Kimmelweck Rolls

I'm a rare breed – the native Floridian. On the other hand, I'm the only one of my immediate family who is – my parents hail from western New York, not far from Buffalo. And while good Buffalo-style chicken wings are easy enough to find, my family longs for another, lesser-known regional specialty: Beef on Weck. The filling is simply roast beef with au jus and horseradish, but the magic is in the roll: coarse salt and (usually) caraway seeds. So when Sourdough Surprises picked sandwich rolls for the May challenge, I knew just what I wanted to make.

I did select a sandwich roll recipe that included yeast, expecting Florida summer to make bread baking difficult and this being a challenge I would have to do last minute. (Which is also why this post is late!)

My recipe:

Sourdough Kimmelweck Rolls
Adapted from RedStar Yeast
Makes 8 rolls

Ingredients
1 packet active yeast
4 cups flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sourdough starter
1 egg, room temperature
1 tblsp butter, melted
Coarse saltDirections
Combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients. Combine water and oil; heat to 120º to 130ºF.

Combine sourdough starter, dry mixture, and liquid ingredients in mixing bowl with paddle or beaters for 4 minutes on medium speed. Add egg and beat 1 minute. Gradually add flour and knead with dough hook(s) 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until doubled.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Divide dough into 8 pieces. On lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten to a 4-inch diameter. Cover; let rise until indentations remains after touching. With sharp knife, make an “X” on the top of each roll.
Bake in preheated 400º F oven 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet; cool.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt before serving

Not being a fan of beef, I opted for some deli chicken instead:


They weren't the most authentic kimmelweck rolls I've ever had, but they were close enough. And they were good. While maybe not a kimmelweck replacement, this is definitely a recipe for the back burner.

And maybe I should try sourdough battered chicken wings next...

Check out our other awesome rolls!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Having learned to play seven total musical instruments in my life (not counting for the differences between numerous types of traditional flutes, and acoustic and electric guitars), of course I'm familiar with hot cross buns, being the first song I learned to play on five of those instruments. My first experience in tasting them actually came at the age of seven, when I had learned to play it on the recorder and wondered what they were. Like so many similar baked goods, I found them palatable but not anything noteworthy.

Sourdough Surprises chose Hot Cross Buns as the challenge this month, and despite a crazy work schedule and a project that I promise will end up on this blog (which combines sourdough with healthy eating) I was bound and determined to do something. It also helped me come to a realization:

I hate most dried fruits in baked goods.

I'm a fruitivore really and pretty much will devour any fruit aside from most stone fruits. Dried fruits aren't a problem. I have a box of raisins handy at work for when my electrolyte levels get too low, and I eat dried cherries every night (their health benefits are no myth – I saw the difference in the first night!). Oatmeal raisin muffin? Give me the butter rum, pumpkin, or chocolate.

So even though raisins are one fruit my family will all agree on, I decided to indulge in the sweet stuff. With no official recipe this month, I turned to one of my trusted resources and modified the recipe.

Sourdough Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from Food.com
Makes 12 buns

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup sourdough starter
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3 cups flour, divided, more as needed
    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tblsp butter, melted, divided
    • 3 tablespoons instant dry milk powder
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tblsp milk (I used almond milk)

Directions

  1. Mix the starter, water and 1 1/2 cups flour together and let proof, covered, overnight or 8 to 12 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, mix proofed starter, 1/4 cup butter, milk powder, egg, and sugar together.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of remaining flour, salt and allspice.
  4. Add to dough mixture in large bowl.
  5. Mix well, adding remaining flour if needed and knead by hand until dough is smooth and satiny.
  6. Pat dough out into a flat shape and spread chocolate chips over dough.
  7. Fold dough over fruits a couple of times and then knead until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  8. Cover dough and let it proof until doubled.
  9. Gently deflate the dough and press into greased 9x13 casserole dish
  10. Cut into 12 equal rolls
  11. Cover rolls and let them proof until almost doubled.
  12. Brush with remaining 1 tblsp butter
  13. Bake rolls at 425 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes.
  14. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together. When rolls are cool, drizzle over rolls into a cross shape,



I ran into a few issues. One, thank you Florida weather, it's humid (and I did this as a front was still lingering around), so I had to add more flour, meaning the bread was denser. Two, in order to help it rise, I left the bowl on top of the oven as I was baking a lasagna. So a few chips on the outside got a little melted (which is why I took the lazy route of pressing it into the dish and cutting the dough...no more chocolate on my hands!). Three, between the almond milk not being stark white and a little too much vanilla, there wasn't all that much contrast in my icing.



Taste wise, though...they were sufficiently sweet, with just a hint of the allspice, and, more than other breads I've done recently, the sourdough flavor was there in all it's glory.



Family tradition never called for hot cross buns...we usually have donuts for Easter breakfast. This recipe though is tempting. The whole family enjoyed them. So while it may not replace my love of donuts, it's definitely one to keep in the Rolodex.



Check out our other hot cross buns!




Friday, March 21, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Maple Cinnamon Chip Soda Bread

(I apologize for being late, but my computer has been in repair!)

A few years ago, my aunt was visiting right around St. Patrick's Day and brought a homemade Irish Soda Bread. It gave me the idea: Maybe I could replace the buttermilk with sourdough starter. It's an idea that never came to fruition because of one simple fact: I don't particularly care for it.

Don't get me wrong – Irish Soda Bread is what it is: a crumbly chemically-leavened bread. But I have a massive sweet tooth, and there was just not enough of that in any sample I tried (something I just learned recently is that this is because traditional Irish Soda Bread does not include raisins and is actually served with soup). But I try my best to keep up with Sourdough Surprises. So, it was finally time to make a Sourdough soda bread.

The only sample recipe I could find was King Arthur Flour's Seeded Soda Bread. I wanted to try my best to make something sweeter. So I just used it as a guideline and made my own from there. With a bag of cinnamon chips, almost empty, begging to be used in my pantry, I thought they'd be the perfect mix in.

My recipe:
Maple Cinnamon Chip Sourdough Soda Bread
Adapted majorly from King Arthur Flour
Makes 1 loaf, about 8 servings

Ingredients
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ripe sourdough starter
2 tblsp melted buttermilk
1 1/2 tblsp real maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tblsp milk
1/3 cup cinnamon chips

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, Harvest Grains Blend, baking soda, and salt.
3) In a separate bowl (or in a measuring cup), whisk together the starter, butter, honey, and milk. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. The dough will be stiff; if it's too crumbly to squeeze together, add another tablespoon or two of milk.
4) Knead the dough a couple of times to make sure it's holding together. Shape into ball and flatten slightly on a baking sheet. Cut a 1/2” deep cross in the loaf.
5) Bake for about 25 minutes, until they're golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the loaves from the oven, and brush their tops with melted butter, if desired.
I will say I enjoyed it more than typical Irish Soda Bread. It's still far from my favorite recipe. I will keep it in the Rolodex for the next time.



And now with my computer fixed, and a slower season at work...maybe I can get back to baking!
Check out our other Soda Breads!



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: S'mores Monkey Bread

Oddly enough, my first encounter with “Monkey Bread” wasn't until I was a sophomore in college, when one of my speech classmates made it for her demonstration and brought in the obligatory sample. Of course I only got a bite, and I remember the buttery mess of the classroom as much as I remember the cinnamon doughnut-like taste. It's not something I ever made. After sitting out a month of Sourdough Surprises, they chose that as the February challenge. Biscuit dough thrown into a pan? I could do that.

In all actuality, I used my tried and true scone recipe (halved) for the bread. I had some miniature marshmallows I'd bought for a recipe I can't seem to get around to trying, some chocolate chips, some graham cracker crumbs...why not make one of my favorite dessert inspirations?

As I mentioned, the mess the monkey bread made was one of the more memorable things about it. So I chose to be inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Kirbie's Cravings, for the recipe. She simply rolled the dough in sugar rather than slathering it in a buttery mess and let the marshmallows create any stickyness.

So my recipe:
S'mores Monkey Bread

1 cup flour
1/2 tblsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 tblsp butter
2/3 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp sugar

  1. Sift the first 5 ingredients together. Cut in butter.
  2. Add sourdough starter and vanilla, kneading on a floured surface until dough is no longer sticky. Knead in chocolate chips
  3. Mix graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Divide dough into 12 equal parts and roll in crumb mixture. Place in a greased loaf pan. Top with marshmallows and remaining graham cracker crumbs.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Allow to cool before enjoying!


It's a good thing I snapped that photo right away. My family certainly enjoyed it. It had the same soft and chewy consistency that the scone had with all the s'mores goodness added. My only complaint? I only got two pieces!

I suppose it's something to keep in mind for next time...

Check out our other awesome monkey breads!