Sourdough Crumpets

A few months ago I started my own rye sourdough starter. It’s not as difficult as you think. It’s just a combination of flour (dark rye for me) and water that you mix together. This mixture is then ‘fed’ on a daily basis with more flour and water until bubbles start to form. Some starter recipes suggest adding yeast but the whole point of sourdough is that yeast isn’t included, instead the fermentation from the bacteria helps the bread rise and gives the bread its distinctive sour taste. Whilst I’m feeding mine (in preparation for using it) I leave it on the side in a container with a tea towel over the top. When I’m not going to be using it regularly I put a lid on the container and place it in the fridge. This slows down the fermentation and reduces the activity of the bacteria. When I know I want to use it, I remove from the fridge, take off the lid, cover with a tea towel and allow to come to room temperature. I then repeat the feeding process until it starts to bubble/look frothy. Since running out of rye flour I have been using strong white flour. This hasn’t affected the starter and it still has a slight rye flavour to it.

I’ve been using King Arthur Flour and Hobbs House Bakery for guidance on how to make a starter and also for recipe ideas. I’m not an expert on sourdough so if you are wanting to start your own starter, please look at these websites.

My first bake using my starter was a rye sourdough loaf. I would give the bake a 5 out of 10. The flavour was there but the texture was a bit dense. Sourdough takes longer to kneed and I made it all by hand. The recipe said to kneed the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. I was kneading it for 30 minutes and felt I wasn’t going anywhere. I eventually stopped and continued with the recipe but it was wetter than I was expecting. Next time I will use a dough hook and see if that helps. Sourdough has longer proving times (up to 5 hours for first proving and 12 hours for second proving) which improves the distinctive flavour. I’ve also attempted making sourdough pancakes where the sourdough starter is incorporated into the pancake recipe. Again, these had the distinctive sourdough flavour and the earthiness of the rye flour. The texture was also similar to that of my usual pancakes. If you want to give these a go, the recipe I used is here. I included the addition of some chopped chocolate truffles. I added these to the top of the pancakes before I flipped them over in the pan. I served with blueberries and almond slivers as a birthday breakfast for Mr W.

Yesterday morning I decided to give sourdough crumpets a try. I was surprised at how few ingredients you actually need to make them. Although crumpet rings are not a necessary piece of equipment (apparently small food cans with both ends taken off work just as well) they do make life easier. I’ve also used them when making pancakes and poaching eggs (multipurpose utensil). I found the recipe on the Hobbs Bakery website (link above) when trying to find different uses for my starter so that it is not sat in the fridge for months on end.

Sourdough Crumpets (makes 4)

Ingredients

  • 270g sourdough starter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

Method

  1. Mix your sourdough starter, salt and honey together in a bowl and leave to stand. The starter will slowly start to bubble (I left mine for 20 minutes and some small bubbles had appeared).
  2. Grease a frying pan and your crumpet rings. Place the frying pan on a medium heat and put the crumpet rings in the pan.
  3. Add the bicorbanate soda to your sourdough starter mix. This will cause the starter to bubble.
  4. Once the frying and crumpet rings are hot, pour the batter into the rings and leave a 1/2 cm gap at the top. Slowly cook the crumpets and keep an eye on the bottom of the crumpet as this can easily burn.
  5. Once the edges have cooked, gently take off the crumpet ring (may need to loosen edges with a knife) and flip the crumpet over. Cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Keep these warm whilst you repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining batter.

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I made four crumpets with the above recipe. These were delicious for breakfast (one with jam and one with butter).

I did find the crumpets a little too salty (which you also get with the shop bought kind) so would consider using  a little less.

I found the texture on my first two crumpets to be a bit doughy inside. For the next two I used  a lower heat and cooked for a little longer. I have yet to try these (4 for breakfast is a little excessive and Mr W doesn’t like them).

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French Toast

Last week  was a lovely long weekend for me. Mr W had booked us a weekend away in the Lake District. I took advantage and booked the Friday off work (too many days and not enough time to use them). As Mr W was only off in the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to breakfast out. It did take some persuading from Mr W and my sister to actually get me to go. Plenty of food in the house, the weekend away was going to be full of food treats and the idea of sitting in a cafe on my own eating breakfast scared me. But, there was a new cafe that had recently opened I Prestwich that I did really want to try and when would I get the chance anytime soon? (Forgetting that I have a week off in a few weeks lol). That was me all geared up to go, hoping that I could go again with Mr W if I liked it.

On the way to the tram stop I called in to the shop to get a magazine so that I had something to do over breakfast. I then realised that the trams were cheaper after 9.30 (time check and it was 9.20) so cue long way round to tram stop and waiting with other people at the station for the time to change on the machines. I don’t even know if my fare was any cheaper but it made for a fun wait of commuters against the machine.

This cafe I wanted to try (All The Shapes) had come through on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and the food looked yummy. A mooch at the menu had me drooling over breakfasts like homemade granola, toasted banana bread and sweetcorn fritters. On the walk over, I started to panic that I would be the only person in there (as it was hidden away off the main street) eating breakfast on my own. Talk about looking like a loner. But I didn’t need to worry, there were a few groups in there. It was only a small cafe and I managed to grab the last available table (okay, it was meant for four people…).20170203_100730

I am very indecisive when it comes to ordering food (Mr W and my family hate it. I sit there having an internal dilemma about it and over analyse all my options. It’s something I need to work on but it’s difficult. As much as I love food, I have an awkward relationship with it 😦 ) So, I asked the waiter what he would recommend which were the green eggs (sourdough, healthy greens, griddled avocado  and fried egg) or the cooked breakfast (filling but not greasy). I really wanted him to recommend the french toast so decided that must be what I wanted. French toast with griddled pineapple, mango and mascarpone. Now, I’ve never been been a big fan of french toast (bad experience of eggy bread growing up) but OMG, this was delicious. Whilst I was waiting for it, I was eyeing up the neighbouring tables green eggs with envy. But then when mine came out, they were envying mine. I was so glad that I went for that option, although now I need to go back with Mr W to try something else. I would never think of making french toast at home, but having tried this, it made me want to give it a go. 

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So, yesterday morning I decided to try a french toast recipe that doesn’t use egg. It’s a recipe from Madeline Shaw that I adapted slightly. Although Mr W likes eggs, he isn’t a fan of dishes like omelette or quiche because of the texture. I was worried that if I gave him eggy bread for breakfast he wouldn’t like it. Madeline’s recipe was a vegan friendly so used a mix of almond milk and chickpea flour instead of egg. It was easy to make and was hit with both me and Mr W. This is how I made it.

Serves 2

180ml skimmed milk

1tsp vanilla essence

2tbsp chickpea flour

1tsp cinnamon

4 thick slices sourdough

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

blueberries and strawberries

Pour the milk and vanilla essence into a baking dish and whisk together. Sieve in the chickpea flour and cinnamon and whisk together. Place the bread in the mixture and soak on each side for 2 minutes.

Whilst the bread was soaking I warmed the blueberries in a pan with a little bit of sugar, water and a teaspoon of cornflour to make a gloopy warm compote.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add the soaked bread and cook on each side for two minutes (turning over every one minute). This will give the coating a nice golden colour. Serve two slices of toast per person and top with the blueberry compote and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!