Now that the wedding is over I have a bit more time on my hands so I’ve been setting up a few new culinary challenges for myself. First up is sourdough, specifically sourdough starters. When I was in culinary school I spent a lot of time caring for my little family of starters, there was a sturdy biga, a rye with a heavy flavor and a sourdough with a good bit of zip to it. When I left school I also left behind my starters, I was a pastry chef so there was no need for me to maintain my starters if I wasn’t going to make breads regularly. I never really looked back, that is until lately when I’ve found myself wanting to tackle some heritage bread recipes that call for a stable sourdough starter. So a few weeks ago I began my starter using the method from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible. After three weeks of feeding Chuck ~ yes I do believe you should name your starters, they develop their own character so they might as well get their own name ~he was finally healthy enough to start testing out his flavor and I remembered that making crumpets is a really good way to get a taste of a new starter and figure out what tweeks need to be made.
For those of you unfamiliar with crumpets they are a soft english bread that is a cross between an english muffin and a pancake and depending on what kind of accouterments you have on hand it can be sweet or savory. But without anything on it you can really taste how sour, yeasty, nutty etc your sourdough tastes and depending on your preference you can start to alter your feeding method to get your desired flavor. If you are making crumpet for this purpose do note that it will take approximately a week for any changes to your feedings to really effect your starter. If you’re just looking to make a bunch of crumpets then go right on ahead and enjoy!
1 cup sourdough starter, unfed
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 3-4″ round biscuit cutter or canning ring
1. Sprinkle the sugar, salt and baking soda over the cup of starter. Stir it in and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. The dough will rise before your eyes.
2. Heat a griddle over medium and melt a thin coat of butter on it. Then spray the round biscuit cutters with cooking spray and place on the heated griddle.
3. Pour the batter into the molds, slightly less than 1/4 C in each, and let them cook until bubbles form across the entire top of the crumpet. Then remove the rounds and flip each crumpet to cook on the other side.
4. Serve with jam, honey or as the sandwich bread for a homemade egg sandwich