Sourdough Soft Pretzels

Last spring, when the “New York Pause” of self-isolation began, our family enjoyed many special Happy Hours. My son tried every flavor of San Pellegrino soda and my daughter’s beverage alternated between lemonade and Arnold Palmer. We have limited these indulgences to once a week (if at all) at this point. 😉

The kids and I made these soft pretzels on a couple of these occasions. I loved that we all shaped them differently! We ate them with a variety of mustards and with warm queso (from Trader Joe’s) on another occasion. The melted butter was essential.

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur flour. I used active dry yeast and omitted the malt. Great.

For the Dough:

  1. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a cohesive, fairly smooth dough. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, knead in an additional tablespoon or two of water.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest for 45 minutes. It will rise minimally. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into 12 pieces, each weighing about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 ounces.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into an 18″ rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel.
  6. Brush the pretzels with water and sprinkle lightly with coarse pretzel salt.
  7. Bake the pretzels for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Note: This is correct; there’s no need to let the shaped pretzels rise before baking.
  8. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush with melted butter, if desired. (We thought it was essential!)
  9. Serve with a variety of mustards and/or queso, as desired.

Baker’s Banana-Nut Bread

Yes! Another sourdough recipe- all so good! I love that this recipe combines two of the most popular items to bake during this period of self-isolation- sourdough and banana bread. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from theperfectloaf.com. I incorporated whole wheat flour, added turbinado sugar to the topping, and baked the loaf in a Pullman loaf pan, adjusting the baking time accordingly. I loved that this version included olive oil for moisture and honey for sweetness. Lovely.

We ate it as-is, but the original recipe recommends spreading full-fat Greek yogurt over the top of each slice.

Yield: One standard or Pullman loaf

  • 240g (2 cups) spelt, whole wheat, all-purpose flour, or a mix
  • 3g (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 3g (1/2 teaspoon) sea salt
  • 125g (1 cup) chopped walnuts or pecans, divided
  • 126g(1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 100g (1/2 cup lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g (3/4 cup, stirred down) sourdough starter
  • 42g (2 tablespoons) raw honey
  • 3 super ripe medium mashed bananas (almost black and mushy)
  • 28g (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4g (1 teaspoon) vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional
  • turbinado sugar, for topping, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ÂșF, preferably on convection.
  2. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan or Pullman loaf pan with cooking oil spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, mix a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans and a teaspoon or two of turbinado sugar. Set aside to be used as the topping later.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time. While mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Add in sourdough starter, honey, mashed bananas, and olive oil.
  8. Add in the vanilla.
  9. Add the flour mixture slowly, pausing to scrape down the sides if necessary.
  10. By hand, fold in the remaining walnuts or pecans and lemon zest.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  12. Sprinkle on the reserved chopped nuts and sugar.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a Pullman loaf pan or 55-65 minutes in a standard loaf pan. (It’s better to undercook this than overcook: you want it moist.)
  14. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then gently remove onto a wire rack to thoroughly cool.

Note: This banana bread will stay moist for days after baking, but be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss.

Sourdough Mozzarella Grandma Pizza Pie

This is a sourdough version of one our favorite pizzas. When we order a pizzeria pizza, it is almost always a Grandma pie. The sauce makes it extra delicious.

This pillowy crust is absolutely perfect for a Grandma pie. I have made it several times now, and have used the crust for classic homemade pies as well. I was able to shape the dough into either form extremely easily just using my fingertips.

The crust recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I incorporated white whole wheat flour and modified the technique and baking temperature. The sauce is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alfia Muzio, and is included in my Classic Grandma Pie post. According to the original recipe, this crust is also delicious with bold toppings and well-aged cheeses.

I included some active dry yeast in the crust, but plan to try it without, using fed sourdough starter instead of unfed, now that my sourdough starter is really active. The crust can also be made with sourdough discard.

I have made the dough two hours prior to baking the pizza, but the dough can be made a day in advance and put in the refrigerator to rise overnight. I also doubled the recipe on a few occasions to try various toppings (and to have leftovers!).

Yield: One Grandma Pie (half sheet pan) or Two 12-inch round Thin-Crust Pies

(Double the recipe to make Two Grandma Pies or Three 14-inch round Classic Pies)

For the Pizza Crust & Toppings:

  1. Stir any liquid on top of your refrigerated starter back into it before measuring 1 cup (241g) into a large mixing bowl. Note: This is a good opportunity to feed the remainder of your starter, if necessary.
  2. Add the warm water, flours, salt, and yeast. Mix to combine, then knead for about 7 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook, until the dough wraps itself around the hook and cleans the side of the bowl.
  3. Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Depending on the vitality of your starter, this will take between 2 and 4 hours. For a faster rise, place the dough in a warm spot, or double the yeast. (I placed my dough in a warming drawer and it doubled in about 2 hours.)
  4. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat your oven to 500°F. (I heat a baking stone in the bottom of the oven.)
  5. For a thicker, large pizza- a Grandma Pie, oil an 18″ x 13″ half-sheet pan. Place the dough in the selected pan and press it out to the edges, again giving it a 15-minute rest before continuing if it starts to snap back. (For two thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough in half, and shape each into a flattened disk. Drizzle two 12″ round pizza pans with olive oil, and brush to coat the bottom. (I used a pizza peel and pizza stone to make classic pizzas instead.) Place the dough in the pans, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. After this rest, gently press the dough toward the edges of the pans. If it starts to shrink back, cover and let rest for 15 minutes before continuing.)
  6. Cover the pan(s) and let the dough rise until it’s as thick as you like. (It will rise quite a bit in 30 minutes. I just let it rest while preparing the toppings.)
  7. While the dough is rising, make the sauce. (see recipe below)
  8. Once dough has risen on baking sheet, top with mozzarella, and dot pie with tomato sauce; sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. Add any additional toppings, if desired.
  9. Bake the Grandma Pie until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 15–30 minutes. (Bake traditional pies for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.)

Note: Store leftover pizza covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (I used San Marzano)
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ÂŒ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pulse tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, oil, and basil in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth (some texture is okay).
  2. Season with salt and pepper.

Sourdough Popovers

This deliciousness was dangerously easy to throw together. :/

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I used a popover pan and modified the baking time for a convection oven. We ate them with rocket soup and green salad but they would also be incredible for breakfast- maybe even with jam.

Instructions for sweet and savory variations are below the recipe.

Yield: 6 popovers

  1. In the microwave or in a small saucepan, warm the milk until it feels just slightly warm to the touch.
  2. Combine the warm milk with the eggs, sourdough starter and salt, then mix in the flour. Don’t over-mix; a few small lumps are OK. The batter should be thinner than a pancake batter, about the consistency of heavy cream.
  3. Heat a muffin or popover pan in the oven while it’s preheating to 450°F, preferably on convection.
  4. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, and spray it thoroughly with non-stick pan spray, or brush it generously with oil or melted butter. (To use melted butter: Melt 2 T butter and then distribute 1/2 tsp to the base of each popover cup before adding batter.)
  5. Quickly pour the batter into the cups, filling them almost to the top. If you’re using a muffin tin, fill cups all the way to the top. Space the popovers around so there are empty cups among the full ones; this leaves more room for expansion.
  6. Bake the popovers for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 10 (in a convection oven) or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven, until popovers are golden brown.
  7. Remove the popovers from the oven and serve immediately.

Variations:

  • For sweet, cinnamon-sugar popovers: Prepare and bake the popovers as instructed. When the popovers come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter (about 1/4 cup per batch), and roll them in cinnamon-sugar (about 1/4 cup per batch).
  • For savory, cheddar-herb popovers: Mix 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence and 1/4 cup shredded Vermont cheese or cheese powder to the flour before stirring it into the sourdough-egg mixture. Finish the popovers according to the recipe instructions.

Overnight Golden Sourdough Waffles

I made these super light and slightly tangy waffles for my husband’s birthday breakfast. They were absolutely amazing topped with fresh berries and sliced bananas and drizzled with pure maple syrup.

The wonderful recipe was adapted from theperfectloaf.com. I weighed the ingredients and incorporated whole wheat flour into the batter. According to the original recipe, these waffles also freeze incredibly well. Perfect.

Yield: 14 to 15 waffles

  • 460g (2 cups) buttermilk
  • 126g(1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 100g (1/2 cup, stirred down) ripe sourdough starter
  • 125g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 113 g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 7g (1 1/2 teaspoons) raw sugar
  • 110g (1/2 cup) water, if needed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 3g (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda, sifted

The night before:

  1. Add buttermilk and the melted and cooled butter to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add your ripe sourdough starter and mix thoroughly (use a whisk and your hands if needed).
  3. Sprinkle the sugar on top and whisk in your flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.
  4. If necessary, use some of the 110g (1/2 cup) reserved water to break up the batter until it resembles a traditional pancake batter. If you have a 100% hydration starter, you probably won’t need to add any water, but if your flour is extra “thirsty” or you have a stiff starter it might be necessary. (I didn’t add any water.)
  5. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature overnight.

In the morning:

  1. Warm your whole eggs to room temperature by letting them sit for a few minutes in a bowl of warm water.
  2. Sift the baking soda and salt onto the top of the batter.
  3. Crack the eggs and place the whites in one clean bowl and the yolks in another.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  5. Lightly scramble up the egg yolks in the second bowl.
  6. Pour the yolks into the batter and gently stir through.
  7. Then, using a spatula, fold the eggs whites into the mixture until just incorporated (and no more).
  8. Cook in your smoking hot waffle iron until done to your liking. (I cook mine for 5 minutes.)

Note: If you want to increase the amount of sourness you could hold back some of the sugar in the mix, let the batter ferment longer, or ferment the same time but at a slightly warmer temperature.

Buttery Sourdough Sandwich Biscuits

I usually eat my favorite Saturday morning fried egg over a bed of arugula with Swiss cheese and extra pepper. This biscuit sandwich brought it to the next level! The bacon was a nice bonus too. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur flour. I grated the butter and modified the baking time. They were very buttery and full-flavored.

Yield: 6  3-inch biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably on convection, with a rack in the upper third.
  2. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Work the cold, grated butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
  5. Add the starter, mixing gently until the dough is cohesive. If necessary, depending on the consistency of your starter, add buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make the dough come together.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a piece of parchment works well), and gently pat it into a 6″ round about 1″-thick.
  7. Use a sharp 2 3/8″ biscuit cutter to cut four rounds, cutting them as close to one another as possible.
  8. Gently push and pat the scraps into a 2 1/2″ x 5″ rectangle. Cut two more biscuits.
  9. Push and pat the remaining scraps into a 1″-thick biscuit; it’ll be slightly smaller than the others.
  10. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2″ between them; they’ll spread as they bake.
  11. Bake the biscuits in the upper third of your oven for 17 to 23 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
  12. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm.

Note: Once cooled completely, the biscuits can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for several days. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage.

*To make smaller biscuits: The dough can be patted 1/2-inch thick, cut into 2-inch rounds, and baked for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown.*

Blueberry Sourdough Muffins

I am going to share a couple more breakfast recipes that use sourdough starter. I was in LOVE with these muffins! They are sweetened with pure maple syrup, are loaded with blueberries, and incorporate cornmeal. Delicious.

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour, and added vanilla extract. Wholesome and tasty!

Yield: 12 muffins

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the inside of the papers. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a second bowl, beat together the starter, milk, egg, melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla.
  5. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry, taking about 20 seconds.
  6. Gently stir in the blueberries just until blended.
  7. Fill the cups of the prepared pan two-thirds full; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.
  8. Bake the muffins for 17 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Don’t let them cool in the pan, or they’ll steam and the outside will become tough.

Note: If using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before adding to the batter; you’ll have fewer blue streaks if they’re added frozen, just before scooping.

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