In my quest to find more things to do with my sourdough discard, I’ve turned to Instagram. I follow Jenna Fischer (better known as Pam from the Office) who is a fellow sourdough enthusiast and she featured a baker called Artisan Bryan a few weeks ago. I started looking around Bryan’s blog and found a recipe for Johnnycakes. I had never heard of them and decided to give them a try! I will say, my first attempt was a total flop. The dough was raw and pretty much inedible…I ended up turning it into a LOVELY bread pudding which I have happily consumed for the past few days. Not to be discouraged, I decided to re-do the recipe and have dubbed the ensuing product Mickicakes because I’m not sure how related my final product is to the original johnnycakes.
Through my trial and error, I changed quite a few elements of the recipe in order to suit my palate. Although not as close to the original as hoped, these are still a delicious but very caloric treat with a coffee. Bryan mentioned in the instagram comments, in response to a question, that without the coconut milk, the cakes don’t taste the same and I have to agree. Both of the times I made these, I really like the subtle addition of flavor from the unsweetened coconut milk. I also found that the pricks from the fork serve a purpose other than decorative. Like Irish soda bread, these cakes are incredibly dense and need the pokes from the tines of a fork to allow for heat distribution for a proper bake. I also ended up doubling the baking time as I found that in the original recipe, the 15-20 minute bake time left my johnnycakes extremely raw inside and very pale. I hope that you enjoy my new recipe, it’s inspired by my love for hot cross buns and contains some of the same ingredients such as candied lemon or orange peel and raisins! This recipe made about 12 130 gram balls of dough with an extra munchkin sized ball of dough that was under 100 grams.
Sourdough Discard Mickicake Recipe
500 grams All Purpose Flour
250 grams sourdough discard
200 grams unsweetened coconut milk
150 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
50 grams raisins
50 grams candied lemon peel
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 1/4 of a teaspoon and it was fine but I felt that it could have used some more salt so use whichever amount you prefer)
Combine all ingredients and knead until smooth and there are no chunks of butter. Add additional flour if needed to prevent a sticky dough.
Let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Divide and shape dough into 130 gram balls. Place the dough balls on a lined oven sheet and flatten with your palm.
Prick all the way through multiple times with a fork.
Lightly brush with extra coconut milk.
Bake for 40-45 minutes to start or until golden brown. Ensure that they are golden brown before removing because the raw dough does not taste good at all.
Irish Soda Bread is one of those recipes that I’ve heard about all my life but have yet to actually have it in a culinary setting. I’ve made versions of this bread before throughout my life as it’s a quick and easy baking project that produces a super satisfying quick bread. This version is adapted from the Skinnytaste version and came to be featured on my blog by the happy accident of my dad accidentally buying buttermilk and my boyfriend looking for a quick bake without yeast. During the current crisis, yeast amongst other items has been particularly difficult to get and my boyfriend wanted to bake something yummy!
Unfortunately for the very brave boyfriend, Jason, he baked his Irish Soda Bread in a loaf tin and most of it came out raw. I decided to make it the morning after telling him to do so and baked mine flat on a cookie sheet which made all the difference. I have made soda bread in a tin before, which is how I avoided his mistake. When I tried to use a tin, I wasn’t able to cut as deep as needed and had to bake it for twice as long and still got a slightly raw bread… Irish soda bread is an extremely dense quick bread, needing full exposure to the heat of the oven in order to cook. The rustic shape that you get from baking it like this is part of the experience. Also essential to a good bake is the cross cut made just before putting the bread into the oven. This cross cut needs to be deep which helps to let even more heat in so that the bread will bake. This bread is an easy one to make and goes really well with both breakfast and dinner! My family enjoyed this slightly lighter take on the traditional Irish soda bread, skipping some calories in the recipe and also cutting the slices much smaller, cutting the loaf into 16 slices rather than 8. Without further ado, here is my new and improved soda bread recipe for you to try in the comfort of your own home!
This is absolutely my favorite sourdough discard recipe that I’ve done so far and it is BELOVED by my mother. I distinctly remember her asking for a loaf of this bread rather than a birthday cake for her birthday, both of which I ended up providing for her special day. This recipe is adored by my entire household and I usually eat it with a dash of peanut butter and honey in the morning although it’s so sweet that you may not need it. This base recipe is actually the same as another favorite, my sourdough discard dinner rolls!
Like most bread I bake, this freezes well as long as you freeze immediately after it is cooled. I usually defrost by leaving it out overnight but that’s more of a personal preference. I have tried to make this bread vegan before by substituting applesauce for the eggs. Unfortunately, it was a little laggy for me when I did it the first time so you may have to bake it for longer if you do decide to substitute applesauce for the eggs. I didn’t love the taste as much as the normal bread but it’s definitely still very tasty.
One of the biggest mistakes that I made the first time I made this bread was that I rolled it out the wrong way! After the first prove, you should roll it out into a 6″x20″ rectangle. This means that it is six inches wide at the base and twenty inches tall. Guess who thought it was the opposite! I ended up twisting it a little to get it into the pan because it was wayyyyy too long and ended up with something akin to povitica which was yummy but not the original intention. I hope that you enjoy making and eating it as much as my family does and good luck!
37 grams chopped pecans (1/4 cup) (Can omit pecans if chosen, add 37 extra grams of raisins or 1/4 cup)
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (Meant to be a wash to get the bread to stick together once filling is added)
Combine all the dough ingredients and knead until a soft smooth dough forms. You may need to add additional flour, it shouldn’t be sticky once you’re done kneading.
Place in a greased container and let rise 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Watch it carefully on hotter days, mine will sometimes be done in an hour.
While dough is proving, make the filling. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, flour, raisins, and pecans in one bowl. Beat the egg with one tablespoon of water in another to a watery consistency. Put egg wash in the fridge if you won’t use it immediately after making it.
Deflate dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll dough into a 6″ by 20″ rectangle.
Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with filling. Leave a 1″ margin around all sides to make sealing easier.
Roll dough into a log lengthwise, from bottom to top. Pinch ends to seal and pinch long edge closed to seal.
Transfer to a greased loaf pan (mine is a 9″) and let rise for about an hour or until the dough has risen 1″ above the rim of the pan.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 45 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes in the oven. This is to make the internal temperature get up to 190F and this will take an hour or longer without the aluminum hat.
Remove loaf from pan once done and cool. After cooled, freeze or enjoy immediately! Keeps for about 3 days at room temperature.
Note: PLEASE wait for your bread to cool! If you let the heat out too early, it both won’t slice properly and will turn as hard as a rock. By letting the internal temperature cool, the loaf retains moisture for MUCH longer.
These WONDERFUL biscuits came into my life this past weekend through a happy grocery store accident. My dad has been shopping for the family more frequently and accidentally purchased some buttermilk when he was really in search of 2% milk. Accidents happen and my mom and I spent the weekend thinking of ways to use the rainfall of buttermilk that we found ourselves with! These were actually made with the last of the buttermilk and I ended up adding a little bit of regular milk + lemon juice in order to get to a full cup of buttermilk. These were delicious and a pleasant surprise after my series of biscuit falls.
Like most types of pastry, you have to be more delicate when handling biscuits in order to prevent the butter from melting prematurely and preventing flaky goodness. I try my hardest but always seem to fall short of the buttery layers that I find in commercially baked biscuits. This recipe has a fool-through method for creating layers, one that seems so simple I wish I had thought of it myself.
I don’t generally use Bon Appétit recipes because I find that they normally don’t work out very well when combined with my hodgepodge of kitchen know-how. This is absolutely the exception for me. This recipe is accessible and easy to pull off even with limited kitchen knowledge. One part of this recipe that I found indispensable is the food processor. Using the processor to pulse the butter works really well to let the chilled butter stay that way and not melt from the heat of your hands. I have a really small food processor so I ended up pulsing in two batches. I’m not sure if a regular blender would do the trick but you’re welcome to try! If you have neither, you can try the more traditional route of rubbing the butter in or using a knife/fork to break up the butter. Either way, I know that you’ll get a delicious biscuit in under an hour, a miracle in itself!
Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
226 grams chilled, unsalted butter, cubed (1 cup)
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400F
Pulse baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and flour in a food processor until mixed.
Add chilled butter and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly and sand like with the butter the size of peas.
Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle buttermilk while tossing the ingredients with a fork to incorporate.
Knead a few times within the bowl until a shaggy, dry dough forms. This may take a few more kneads than you think but make sure that the mix stays together before you turn it out.
Turn out onto a clean, floured surface and pat into a 1″ thick square.
Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into four pieces. Stack these pieces and press to flatten.
Lift the dough and flour underneath then roll out into a 1″ thick rectangle. The thickness is key to height, it will still be flaky if rolled thinner but may look sad.
For neatness, you can trim a border around the rectangle for clean edges. Cut rectangle into a 4×3 grid to make twelve biscuits. Re-use scraps at your own discretion, they won’t have the same layers but can be used.
Freeze for 10 minutes.
Brush tops with melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden on top.
Cool and enjoy! Mine kept for a few days in an airtight container but they taste amazing fresh out of the oven.
For the Fourth of July (I know this post is wee bit behind the curve) I decided to tackle pie! I’ve never liked pie all that much but I know that it’s revered as an American classic by many, including my boyfriend. The only pie I can remember enjoying was my cousin’s strawberry and rhubarb pie that had crunch but still melted in the mouth.
I ventured into the realm of fruit pie for the fourth with the help of Los Angeles food writer, Ben Mims. In the food section from the Los Angeles times, Mr. Mims extolled the virtue of this simply made blueberry pie and I had to try it. Be warned, this pie took three days from start to finish. It’s not a particularly complicated recipe but it takes a long time to set. Mr. Mims was also very specific on the way certain things should be done such as the washing of the blueberries and the preparation of the crust and I followed his directions to a T.
On July 2nd, I made the crust and on the 3rd, I made the filling. Following the recommendation of Mr. Mims, I allowed the pie to set overnight before serving it for our Fourth of July lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of my family because we are collectively not big on pie. I found that the amount of cornstarch was slightly overwhelming and made the blueberry gel too jelly-like but my mother thought it was just fine. I found that if made again, I would make some minor modifications but for now, here is the recipe for my lovely Fruit Pie for the Fourth of July.
Blueberry Pie Recipe
For the Crust
1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes, (113 grams)
For the Filling
2 pounds and 2 ounces blueberries, cleaned
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Topping
12 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To Make the Crust
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and use fingers to rub the butter in until the mixture forms pea sized crumbles (can use the food processor to do this as well)
Add 1/3 cup ice water and toss the mixture with a fork until it begins to come together.
Turn out the crumbly mass and pat together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Unwrap the dough and roll out to an 11″ circle that is 1/8″ thick. Flour this circle and roll it around the rolling pin.
Let the dough fall over the 9″ pie plate or tin, letting gravity pull the dough down to fill in the tin. Don’t push the dough in, the thinness of the dough means that it may rip if you do so.
Trim the dough until there is 1/2″ of dough left hanging around the edges of the pie plate. Fold this additional dough over the rim of the pie plate, creating a double layer of crust at the top. Crimp with fingers or a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425F and crumple up some aluminum foil. Reflatten the ball and place it over the frozen pie crust. Add in about 4 cups of pie weights or rice or lentils to where the entire pie crust is filled (I did not do this and part of my crust slipped down, see the above picture)
Bake crust until the edges turn light brown, about 25 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven in order to remove the pie weights. Turn the temperature down to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool
For the Filling
Reserve 1/3 cup of blueberries and place the rest in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the filtered water and mix until smooth. Add the reserved blueberries. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mix thickens to a stiff gel, about 5 minutes.
Once thickened, stir gel to break up blueberries to color the gel about one minute more. The gel should turn a dark magenta.
Remove the gel from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract while still hot.
Pour the gel over the large bowl of blueberries and use a large rubber spatula to fold the gel into the blueberries until they are fully coated.
Immediately spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust, mounding it up slight. In between spoonfuls, stir the blueberries to make sure the gel doesn’t coagulate on the bottom.
Smooth the berries and let cool while preparing the topping
For the Topping
Beat the heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Once the blueberry filling is cooled, top with the whipped cream and decorate as desired. You can pipe it out over the filling for a neater look or pile it on the filling for a more rustic look.
These popovers are a treat and not particularly difficult to make. This is one of many sourdough discard recipes that I have in my book because of the discard constantly produced by my sourdough mother, Sarah. During the summer, I’ve been working on a remote research internship and I have 7am calls twice a month which is awful even for a morning person. I motivated myself to wake up on time for the meeting this past week by promising myself that I could make these lovely popovers! The longest part of the recipe is the actual baking time; the ingredients take no time at all to combine. The recipe does require a little bit of planning as the popover molds (or muffins tins if you’re not willing to buy another baking pan like me!) need to heat up in the oven as it heats up in order to create the giant puff in these popovers.
This recipe is from King Arthur’s Flour which has a wonderful collection of recipes for sourdough discard. These are a really yummy way to combine both protein (from the eggs) and carbs in a meal and they are a favorite of my parents. I make popovers in my muffin tins because I don’t have a popover tin and I actually find the size from the muffin tins to be more satisfying to eat.
These popovers are also sweet because of the cinnamon-sugar glaze on top. I used to make savory popovers using cheese powder and fresh herbs with the occasional bacon bit but found that all of those additions retarded the growth in the oven. The savory additions also often sank to the bottom of the tin and burned which was not pleasant to eat. Also, the King Arthur site calls for these to be eaten immediately but I find that while they do deflate a little after the first day, they are still good to eat for several days as long as they are stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Sourdough Discard Popover Recipe
227 grams 2% milk (1 cup)
3 large eggs
113 grams discard starter, unfed (1/2 cup)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
120 grams All-Purpose flour (1 cup)
35 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
2-2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (This is a personal preference, I err on the side of 2 1/2 tsp because I like a LOT of cinnamon)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold or various local brands that make butter in the European style)
Preheat oven to 450F with muffin or popover tins inside.
Warm milk in the microwave for about a minute or until slightly warm to touch. You can use a saucepan on the stove, I don’t in order to limit the amount of dishes I produce.
Combine warm milk with eggs, starter discard, and salt. Mix with a whisk, you may have to beat it vigorously if you have a thicker discard.
Mix in flour. It’s okay if you have lumps, you don’t need to try and beat them all out because it’s difficult to do.
Remove hot tins from the oven and spray with nonstick spray (baking or cooking works fine). Fill cups all the way for a muffin tin or about 3/4s of the way for popover tins. Make sure you alternate cups if using a muffin tin because the popovers expand a LOT.
Bake at 450F for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until popovers are golden brown. (I’ve found that 20 minutes at 375 cause my popovers to burn.)
While popovers are in the oven, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter into liquid.
Remove popovers from the tins and coat with butter then roll in cinnamon-sugar. Once topped, serve immediately or let cool and place into an airtight container. For best taste, eat the same day.