“More and more research shows that chocolate is good for you. It’s a mood elevator. It contains a lot of antioxidants and will keep us younger. It’s good for your heart and acts like aspirin. It keeps your cholesterol low.“
— Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Jacques Torres
Recently, I discovered a sourdough double chocolate muffin recipe from the website, Little Spoon Farm. The first time I made them, I was thrilled by how rich and chocolatey they were! They were butter-free (using oil instead) and also contained “discard” sourdough (that I can never discard).
These delicious muffins appeal to my chocolate cravings and may even be beneficial to my health. I would like to believe Jacques Torres is correct when he shares that chocolate is “good for your heart”. As a home baker with moderate LDL cholesterol, I want to continue baking and enjoying assortments of treats, pastries, and bread. This desire encouraged me to experiment with reducing the saturated fat in Little Spoon Farm’s muffin recipe. Would it taste just as delicious as the original version?
Instead of sour cream, I exchanged it with the same portion of low-fat yogurt and replaced cow milk with oat milk. Finally, I replaced 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of walnuts (healthy fat). Such simple changes were easy to do. These changes seemed to modify the taste only slightly with excellent results.
Whether or not you modify this recipe, these double chocolate muffins are amazing. I want to ensure that this recipe is a keeper in my collection.
Check out the recipe link below and learn about the world-famous Jacques Torres! — Carole
“…no one is born a great cook. One learns by doing.”– Julia Child
In March 2020, I discovered sourdough. As they say, good can come from the challenges we face. And, indeed, that is what happened to me.
While working at home during the Covid 19 pandemic, I could not locate dry yeast in the grocery stores, so I decided to see if I could grow my own. I began by reading everything I could about making wild yeast and discovered sourdough starters. The process of making my own yeast seemed overwhelming, but through experimentation, I applied what I read. My first starter began with starchy potatoes and flour. My second experiment was a mixture of flour and water. Since I was unsure what the starter should look like or when or how to use it, it took me a few weeks to understand how it all worked. Quite a few of my early baking attempts using my sourdough starter created baked goods that tasted and looked terrible.
Now I have improved greatly! Before baking, I begin to prepare the levain.* First, I take my oldest sourdough in the jar from the refrigerator and stir the hooch* back into the dough beneath it. The starter becomes very watery. Then I add and mix almost equal amounts of room temperature water (yes, I use Vermont tap water) and one and a half times the all-purpose white, wheat, or a combination of flour. More flour is added until I am stirring a thickish batter-like dough. I select the correct size glass jar for the amount of starter, and especially during the winter months, I warm up the jar with hot water and pour it out before adding the sourdough. A black sharpie marks the height of the sourdough. Over the next few hours, the sourdough gases intersperse the dough doubling its height. The texture is beautiful and is ready to use in your baking!
Since those early days, I can’t believe how successful my sourdough starter has been. Three years later, I am still using that same sourdough starter by adding water and more flour. Bread, baked desserts, pizza dough, and pancakes have never tasted so delicious as they are with my homemade levain or discard sourdough starter. Of everything I have made, the most challenging has been crusty french baguettes. It has taken quite a long time to learn to make these look authentic. I am still working to improve them.
Finally, I should mention that experimenting with sourdough baking is both messy and fun. Flour and dried sourdough can often be found in my hair, between my fingers, stuck to my clothes, and hardened on kitchen cabinet doorknobs. Still, as I scramble around the kitchen measuring by grams, scooping, leveling, folding, and stretching the dough, I am joyously doing what I enjoy and sharing yummy food with my family too. — Carole
Below are some successful sourdough recipes referenced in this post. Good luck trying them out.
Do you want to improve the taste of your homemade pizza? Make it with sourdough! Start with a basic recipe and you will notice the difference in taste right away. Don’t know how to make a sourdough starter? Watch the video at the end of this post!
King Arthur has a sourdough pizza crust recipe that includes adding 1/2 tsp of commercial yeast. I began making sourdough pizza with this recipe and it makes a great pizza dough. The King Arthur Pizza Flavor listed in the recipe is full of unnecessary ingredients. Instead, I add a touch of honey and reserve the spices for a rich Italian tomato sauce topping.
More recently, I discovered another delicious sourdough pizza dough! It requires overnight refrigeration, which improves the taste. No commercial dry yeast is used. This recipe makes a thick pizza crust full of air pockets that are associated with fermented sourdough. This pizza has a flavorful soft layer beneath the sauce ( Trick: Don’t add oil directly to the dough before adding the sauce). I always bake my pizza on an oven stone (this makes a big difference in the crispiness of the bottom crust). Avoid the bitter flavor of burnt cheese topping by adding it during the last few minutes of baking.
These pizza photo toppings include crushed tomatoes, with added basil, 1 tbsp of capers & olive oil. Vegetables are sauteed onions, garlic, slightly pan-fried broccoli, romano cheese, and feta. Sprinkled oregano and pepper are added once out of the oven.
Try making your own sourdough pizza using the links below.