Sunday, December 6, 2009

Maintaining Sourdough Starter ... with Sourdough Crumpets

I love keeping sourdough starter. Sourdough bread isn't always so easy to find around Cleveland, and it's great to be able to make a loaf of sourdough when the mood strikes, or to have sourdough pancakes (delicious with chocolate chips).

The starter is surprisingly easy to maintain, even when I don't have plans to make bread or pancakes - so much so I think everyone should have it. Here's how I do it:

The starter is usually kept in the fridge, and hasn't been fed in a week (I can go as long as a month without feeding it, but then it takes a while to recuperate). I mix in the liquid collecting on top, which is alcohol.

First, I take out about a cup of starter, which is about half of the starter in my container, and put in another bowl. You take out starter so that your starter will stay at the same amount, instead of overflowing it's container.

The remaining starter gets fed with 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour. If I'm making bread or pancakes or something else that requires fed starter, I leave it out until it gets bubbly. Otherwise, if I don't need it for anything, I just put it back in the fridge.

Now, on to that cup of starter I put into a separate bowl ... you could just throw it out. But it seemed like such a waste to throw any starter away! Instead, I use that cup of starter to make a quick batch of crumpets.

I make crumpets so often - each week, every Friday, each time I feed the starter - that I made my own crumpet mix to add to it.

The crumpet mix is:

2 parts sugar
1 part baking soda
1 part salt

Add to a jar, shake to mix. (for one time use, that's 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt).

Unfed starter looks like a gloopy mass.

When you make crumpets, take approximately 2 teaspoons of the mix and briefly mix it into every 1 cup of starter.

You could also add some milk if you want it to be less sour and thinner, more like a pancake.

Let sit at least 15-20 minutes, or until you see bubbles!

Then just pour a bit onto a hot griddle, and cook until set. For a more crumpet-y shape, use crumpet rings. I don't have them, but I kind of want them now. Flip briefly.

And there you have sourdough crumpets! I get 3-4 small ones per cup of starter.

It's nicely sour, and full of holes that are great for holding butter, yogurt cheese, or syrup. I have also mixed in green onions or cheese or other savory bits. It's a great snack or small meal, quick and easy, and it reminds me to feed my starter weekly. None of the precious sourdough starter is wasted!
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  1. Thanks for posting this with pics. I just mixed up your Mix, and added the starter. Am waiting the 15-20 min b4 frying up in my cast iron pan.
    Drying your extra starter is another way to keep it for longevity. I did that with about 1/2 gal last May b4 a lengthy vacation. SD Starter dried kept in a Mason Jar keeps for a long time, and can be frozen in the jar, or shared with friends in little ziplock jewelery bags. I include instructions when I share the dried starter.(To dry it: Parchment paper is the best and my only suggestion. Lay the parchment paper on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Smear on the starter with a thin spatula as even as possible onto the parchment paper. Let dry overnight. Then most all of the starter will fall off into the pan. I double line the pan with parchment so I can roll up the bottom parchment into a cone shape for easier pouring into the Mason Jar. This keeps starter from being wasted. I reuse the parchment paper and smear on more starter to dry. Works very well.

  2. Okay, I cooked up the first 2 and they were thick, and for me had a salty/soda taste. I added about 1-1/2 tablespoons of milk to thin the batter and that was a bit much. Cooked 2 more. These looked more holey but now looked flatter like pancakes. To the rest of the batter I added 2 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. That really didn't change the flavor much, but was good for pancakes. This recipe yielded 7- 4" diameter crumpet/cakes. Actually for pancakes it is the better than the one I had tried b4.
    To the original batter(next time) I will add 1 tbl of sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. I sprayed the pan each time with oil, lightly. This helped release the cakes with no trouble.
    Again, thanks for the recipe.