Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sourdough Adventures - Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes with Dates Syrup

2 years ago

AJ was mesmerized by the stream of people carrying bowls seemingly made of  bread and filled with some steaming hot liquid at Fisherman's Pier. Hot soup seemed like a great idea on a cold, wet day. Trying hard to not to be obvious, she began searching for the 'source' of those bread bowls. She found herself at the display of Boudin Bakery  in San Francisco, completely taken by the different shapes the bread (think - alligators, tortoises, bears!). AJ soon discovered she was unwittingly standing at the door of Boudin Bakery - the birth place for San Francisco sourdough. It had an unusual tangy taste from the fermentation of wheat. AJ was hooked. 

Fast forward to 1 week ago

AJ willed herself to complete the conference review despite this being among the top five boring things in the world to do. 15 more minutes and then you can go exploring the internet, she told herself. 

15 minutes later...

 Meandering through the daily news, AJ accidently clicked on a website and it opened a page on sourdough. Intrigued, AJ began browsing through. After getting home, she started her research. Before she knew it, it was already 1:00 am before she decided to go to sleep.

5 days ago...

After much research and postponing, AJ decided to take the plunge and initiate the sourdough starter.

5 days. That's exactly how many days it took for these pancakes to be made. I did goof up and didn't follow instructions, but warm weather makes it easy to correct mistakes and contributed to the 5 days. Stay tuned for my next post for the actual sourdough starter recipe.

Let me explain how I ended up with sourdough pancakes. Sourdough starter process requires half of the starter to discarded every 12 hours. I didn't realize how quickly it all added up which sent me flying to my laptop for recipes. The pancakes came at a convenient time - it was breakfast time on a lazy vacation day.

And I made a happy accidental discovery. Dates Syrup. It totally works. A very good replacement for the super expensive maple syrup. It has a rich, deep flavor which works very well with the tangy sourdough.

So, without much ado, let me present the recipe for sourdough.

Sourdough Pancakes with Dates Syrup

Adapted from WildYeast
Makes about 6 pancakes

1 cup mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1&1/2 tsp baking soda


Heat non-stick girdle/tawa on a medium-high flame. Melt butter.

Whisk all ingredients till well mixed. Pour 2 tbsp of batter on the griddle and cook on one till bubbles appear.  Flip and cook till well browned. 

Serve with generous amounts of dates syrup.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Coconut Oats Muffins

I am on a muffin making spree. It's the perfect dessert and I wish I had discovered them sooner. I love their size; it is the perfect serving size for 1 person. Its completely another matter than I can't just stop eating them!  Perhaps that's why I waited so long before dabbling in baking. It was pure self preservation. Oh well, you can't stop things which are meant to be. 

I think it also had to with her beautiful blog. Joy makes baking so irresistible and simple. A lot of blogs make baking sound tedious; careful measurements and taking temperatures. Not Joy. With her, its just a matter of mixing, beating and popping in the hot oven and voila! 

I am also totally loving my convection microwave. It takes much lesser time to heat up and get cracking. Baking times are shorter too. So unlike the monstrosity that came fitted with the apartment in Seattle.

I never experimented with coconut flakes or coconut oil till now and this recipe seemed like just the thing to get started. Mine actually puffed up as you can see in the photographs. Maybe because I used quick cooking oat meal rather than traditional oats. I also made a batch with mangoes, but I much preferred the ones without mangoes. Mangoes tend to get super mushy when baked and don't keep well till the next day.

Coconut Oats Muffins
Adapted from The Kitchn.
Makes about 12 muffins

1/2 cup coconut oil (I used Parachute cooking oil)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup oat flour (I processed the quick cooking oats into the flour)
1/2 cup oats (I used quick cooking oats since that's the only one available here)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh coconut - grated
1 cup yogurt - I used home made
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp sugar for sweetened coconut
1 large egg, room temperature 
Vanilla essence - 3-4 drops
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, for top


For making sweetened coconut, add 1-2 tbsp coconut water and 2 tbsp sugar to grated coconut. Microwave on high in 30 second bursts till the sugar melts, taking care the coconut or sugar doesn't burn.

Preheat the oven to 150 degree Celsius.

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Add coconut flakes to the dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, stir together all the wet ingredients along with the egg till mixed well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till well combined.

Line cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers. Pour batter into the cupcake wrappers till the top and top it with sweetened coconut. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes till the toothpick comes out clean. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Boiled Custard With Ripe Mangoes

Evolution of recipes is a fascinating thing. Recipe follow people and mingle with other recipes resulting in delightful consequences. Check any pastry shop in India and you would find a medley of products that are reminiscent of the bygone British era. Some recipes have even become extinct elsewhere but still continue with strong patronage here. Cream horns for instance. This article in Sunday's livemint tells tales of delicacies made out of pastry filled fresh cream and jam which were once popularized by the British in India. You can still find these in local pastry and bakery shops across India. I suspect pineapple pastry and black forest cake also belong to the same genre. Another dinosaur, the boiled custard, captured the imagination of Indians like no other. You can still find the yellow boxes of Brown and Polson vegetarian custard mix boxes which claim to be vegetarian custard are little more than yellow coloring, cornflour and vanilla essence in every grocery store.

Custard reminds me of summer vacations at my grandmother's. The yellow custord and the jiggling red rasperry jelly captured 5 year old me's imagination much like my ancestors. And if I was really good, I would get a mango pieces with it.

I didn't want the out-of-a-yellow-box version to satisfy today's craving. After hunting around a little, I came across one in The Kitchn. On one of these rare instances, I followed the recipe verbatim. I can now understand why people prefer the from-scratch version. The box version does not do it justice at all!

While the recipe was good, I would probably cut the sugar in half the next time to suit my tastes. I prefer custard to be vehicles of other goodies and not an end in itself.

I took some really bad pics this time. Will try to get some next time! Promise.

Vegetarian Chocolate Muffins

Some days are bad. Then there are days which only chocolate muffins and Adele can salvage. And on some days, those chocolate muffins are also dinner. Stop staring open-mouthed at me. What? I am just human. I will get to that Yoga class on Monday. Promise.

Now, back to those muffins. Baking without eggs has always kind of confounded me. I have tried to tackle this monster many times but I always ended up with a flat, fudgey mess. 

But, today, the urge to make chocolate muffins was too strong. I picked up the first chocolate muffin recipe Google offered and replaced eggs with flax seed concoction. With some other alterations of course! Mostly around removing some of the items from the original recipe. 

And I was rewarded with glossy, perfect muffins. My first victory of the day! 

Only later did I take time to read the rest of this. Life works in strange, mysterious ways to soothe you when everything seems lost. :) 

Vegetarian Chocolate Muffins

Inspired by one of those days. Adapted from Orangette's cake.

Makes about 12 muffins

1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup powdered sugar

1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used low fat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp ground flaxseed mixed with 8 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup sunflower oil (Can be reduced to 1/3. I added extra to make up for egg yolks)
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Slowly add the liquids while making sure no lumps are formed.

Preheat the oven to 150 degree Celsius. Grease and dust the cupcake pan with flour. Pour batter into the cupcake till the top. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes till the toothpick comes out clean.

Make sure the pans are cooled somewhat before removing the muffins. Try to remove them when they are semi-warm, otherwise the bottoms tend to get soggy because of condensed moisture. You can also use cute muffin wrappers. That should help with the sogginess.