For a while now I’ve been creatively working my sourdough starter into baked goods around my kitchen. It started with my desire to reduce the “waste”1 of feeding my starter one to two times per day and eventually I began to fully realize the significant amount of flavor in that fermented flour mixture. You can find my recipes for sourdough pancakes, banana bread and waffles but this is my first mention of a dessert with sourdough in the crust and it’s fantastic. This whole grain crust is everything you want in a pie or galette crust: buttery, tender, flaky and packed with flavor.
I can hardly believe it but my website has been nominated as a finalist in the 7th annual Saveur Blog Awards! I’m a finalist in the “The Food Obsessive” category (yea, I think it fits!) — sites dedicated to a single, focused topic. Thank you so much to everyone who nominated this website, it truly means a lot to me and to be among some of the top blogs out there is an honor.
Now that I’m a finalist, and the voting period has begun, I would be forever appreciative if you had a moment to cast your vote for the perfect loaf at Saveur’s voting website(you can vote once each day until August 31st)! Head to the link and scroll down to The Food Obsessive category, you’ll see my website listed there.
Your sourdough starter — a mixture of yeast and bacteria (the good kind) that co-exist to naturally leaven bread, add complex flavors, aid in digestion and unlock health benefits — it’s no wonder it quickly becomes part of your family1. I’ve been maintaining mine for many years now, but really it’s nothing mystical or magical, it’s a culture I give nourishment (flour + water) and in return it happily does work for me without even realizing it.
I’ve been compiling this list of frequently asked sourdough starter questions for almost as long as this website has been around. Each time I receive an email or comment asking a question about what I do in a particular situation, I’ve saved it away and have added the most commonly asked questions below. This page is an on-going compilation of the most asked questions and as such it will be updated frequently with new entries as they come in.
I’ve been thinking about this recipe for some time and I’ve been tinkering with it for just about as long. I wanted to create a whole wheat sourdough bread that wasn’t all the way 100% whole grain, but still enough to bring out that assertive wheat flavor, gentle yet complex sourness, and also one that packs a nutritious punch. I wanted it to be light in the hand, soft of texture and for it to be a good starting place for those who might not have had much experience with breads boasting a majority of whole grains. Sort of a beginner’s sourdough recipe but with more whole grains than not — a fifty-fifty whole wheat sourdough bread to get you and your family on the whole-grain-train without them missing the characteristics of white flour1.
My three year anniversary for The Perfect Loaf just passed and I felt like it was only fitting for me to (sort of) revisit an old idea, an old recipe of mine for a seeded sourdough I posted a long, long time ago. I make this whole wheat version intermittently and I do enjoy it, but I wanted to explore some new flavors, textures and techniques. I mean, after baking hundreds of loaves since the beginning days of this site my process has changed and evolved quite a bit, perhaps it was time to take a new look at this old favorite.
Of course there are endless combinations of seeds and spices one can bake into a loaf of bread, but finding just the right balance of flavors and textures can prove to be a challenging task. Personally, I find a lot of the seeded sourdough I try to be a little heavy with seeds; conceivably I’m just more sensitive to the deep umami flavors of sesame, the spicy nature of flax or the anise-like flavor of fennel, but I like to keep it light. Of course there is a time and place for hearty bread, but I like my seeded sourdough a little more like a gentle peck and less like a heavy, flapping punch.
I wanted to start my pictured recount of Japan with a short story, a story about how I was parted from my wallet in a bustling city of over 13 million inhabitants. If you’ve never been to Tokyo imagine a city that resembles an ever-moving, oozing anthill of people streaming through subway tubes, tight ticket turnstiles, streets, constricted alleys and huge blocks of people waiting to cross streets like large armies lined up for battle. It seemed this way at any time of the day, the same flow of people bound for their destination — well except for rush hour where that flow probably increased twofold. Even with the sheer number of people traversing the city each day there’s no bumping, pushing or yelling. It’s ordered, calm, and polite.
We arrived at our subway stop, Suidobashi Station, late in the night. We stepped off the subway car and into the flow of people up and out to the top floor, out the turnstiles and behold! Even at the ungodly hour we were returning home the station was just as packed, but I spotted a humble man in a rickety food cart serving hot soup to those returning home too late to enjoy dinner at the table. I saw this man and immediately had the impulse to take his photo as he worked his craft. I wanted to seize the rare opportunity to take his photo without anyone else in the frame, and quickly yanked out my phone to capture the moment.