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Snow White and the three dwarves: Droopy, Crumbly, and Corny (or maybe that's just me)

Snow White and the three dwarfs: Droopy, Crumbly, and Corny (or maybe that’s just me)

I see a lot of recipes for using the “discard” sourdough starter when you feed your starter to make quick breads.  I have tried banana bread (a couple of times), and cookies.  I’ve been disappointed that the quick breads have none of the distinctive sourdough flavor.

Sourdough pancakes are another story.  I’ve tried one recipe for sourdough pancakes, and though the overall flavor wasn’t what I wanted, the sourdough flavor did come through.  The difference seems to be that the pancake recipe required the starter and some of the ingredients to be mixed up the night before and left at room temperature all night.

The way I feed my starter doesn’t result in much starter needing discarded, so I don’t really NEED to make these breads to avoid wasting food, but having expected some sourdough flavor, and having a taste in mind that I want to achieve and didn’t, it’s now sort of a personal challenge for me to make a quickbread that does have the flavor.  I’m afraid, however, that this is going to result in doing something that makes the bread not quick at all, like leaving the starter and part of the liquid and flour from the recipe to ferment all night, as in the pancakes.

I thought I would try some other ideas first, however.  From the bread forums at The Fresh Loaf, I came up with several suggestions.

  1. Use less sugar.  The sugar might cover up the sour taste.  And both banana bread and cookies do have quite a bit of sugar.
  2. Use more starter – for the cookies I only used half a cup.
  3. Don’t use baking soda as a leavener, since the soda and the sourdough react and some of the acidity of the sourdough starter is neutralized.

So I put all three suggestions together into one recipe (and thank you to Randy Webster for some advice on how to convert a quick bread recipe to use sourdough starter) last night and made corn muffins to go with the beans I was cooking for supper.

Turns out after all that, they still don’t have much discernible sourdough flavor.  I caught it once in awhile, but my husband couldn’t taste it.  He did notice that the texture was different, and said he liked the texture.  It also had a funny effect on the way the muffins rose in the oven.  This recipe generally gives me sort of pointy-topped muffins anyway, but these were very pointy, and some drooped over like the hats on the dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

So I think I’ll file this under “Lessons Learned”, and won’t make that particular edition of sourdough corn muffins again.  But I’m still thinking of ways to make a cookie with sourdough flavor…