If you are a sourdough baker dealing with natural starter, you know that the process of feeding and enlivening your starter for a bread yields leftover funky, gluey, fermented flour. As a person with an almost-emotional attachment to my starter, it can feel sacrilegious to compost or flush this magical mush of cultured nutrition.
Often I make sourdough pancakes, but there are only so many savoury wheat pancakes you can eat, and often (especially if you're in a rush) if they're made from 100% hydrated, unseasoned starter they come out gluey and bland.
I've learned that the trick to nicely textured starter pancakes is to mix the starter with other ingredients in order to season the dough/batter, distribute the cultures, and balance the moisture, then ferment it again. The fresh flour feeds the scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) through the process of fermentation and makes its nutrition more bio-available to our gut.
Here's a muffin recipe that I adapted from farmfreshfeasts.com when I was looking for a way to use up leftover sourdough starter from baking my Full-Moon Sourdough. It yields 12 muffins but as the following notes explain, it can be baked into almost any form you want it to be.
fermented spice muffins
*(or whatever flour! I've used ground raw oats, gluten-free all purpose flour, whole grain spelt flour... possibilities are endless)
**for fruit, I use whatever weird treats I have in the freezer, left over from making liqueur infusions, or going soft on my counter. In the photos I've used halved plums.
(at least 8 hours ahead)
Combine cake ingredients in this order:
3) wet and dry together.
Allow to ferment on the counter overnight or all day. You'll know it's ready to bake when it looks billowy, like a happy cloud of sourdough starter. If your timing is off you can toss it (covered) in the fridge to slow it down, or in an oven or dehydrator on the lowest possible setting to speed it up.
(at the time of baking)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Coat the fruit with sugar and starch and set aside.
Build your muffins in tins or silicone cups in this order:
1) 1 tbsp batter
2) starch-coated fruit (if desired)
3) 1 tbsp ricotta sprinkled with lemon rind (if desired)
4) 1 more tbsp batter
Try to seal the stuffing inside the batter so it doesn't ooze all over the place and empty out your muffins.
If you want to top the muffins, combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on the top of the muffins. Bake at 350 F 30-40 mins.
besides waiting for the batter to ferment...
...this recipe is mega-easy. It's also very forgiving so be creative with modifications. If you just want a nice muffin without too much fanfare skip out on the stuffing and/or topping altogether. If you hate muffins or don't have a tin you could make this into a loaf or cake instead. Try swapping a stuffing for a caramelized fruit underside for an upside-down cake baked in a springform pan- I've done it with caramelized pears and it was ridiculous. You could even skip baking the batter altogether and cook it on the griddle as pancakes. Adjust the spices, substitute the sweeteners, make it vegan with flax eggs... you get the idea.
Also, please share any experiences you've had making this recipe and modifications you've made!