Living Simply

Sweet and Sourdough

I love my sourdough starter. I’ve been maintaining it for a couple of decades now. Even when I neglect it, old Beastie always springs back to life when I pull him from the back of the refrigerator. He makes a nice, light, white sourdough loaf, fantastic waffles, and really good pancakes.

But today I put Beastie to the test on breakfast pastries! After setting up a batter of flour, hot water, sourdough starter, and salt last night, I woke up to a really bouncy batter, one of the best I’ve seen. It wasn’t sticky, it held a lot of air and fluffiness. And to be honest, when I mixed up the batter last night, I really didn’t have a plan for it. I simply liked the notion of a sourdough batter rising for a Saturday morning.

And so randomly, I decided to make bite-sized pastries. I made three kinds. Little rounds like donut holes, slathered in sugar, cinnamon and honey, twisty tied dough drowning in apricot jam, and cookie-like sweets imbedded with pecans.

It’s fun to make pastries in miniature. These are each only about two inches across, or less.

My technique, if you could call my random style of baking any sort of technique, was to use a mix of cinnamon laced brown sugar and white sugar at every stage where you would normally throw down a layer of flour to work your dough against. No flour. All sugar and cinnamon. I also liberally coated the cookie sheets and mini muffin pans with butter. Loooooots of butter. And as the treats settled in for their second rise, I kept splashing them with more sugar, honey, cinnamon, butter… basically I just let my natural inclination towards no-self-control take over.

Then all the goodies were baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Mmm. I liked this experiment! Especially the pecan sorta-cookies. Perfect texture and flavors on that one. I’ll make those again.

I had enough leftover dough to knead into a small loaf, containing three types of cheese, oregano, celery seed, lots of cracked pepper and a good coating of olive oil. This will rise another hour, and then get baked. It will be enjoyed with a roasted salsa made of halved cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers. This will accompany marinated, sauteed pork chops later this evening.

Saturdays in the kitchen are fun!

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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