Sticking with Sourdough

Sourdough baking should fit into your lifestyle and let you build a habit of using it. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Another Twice as Tasty sourdough giveaway is winding down; there are just a few days left to get your starter. This month, I delivered jars of bubbly starter to local bakers and shipped dehydrated starter as far away as Slovenia. People have been sharing their creations of longtime and new Twice as Tasty recipes, including this month’s cracker, cookie, and ciabatta recipes and variations. I’m excited to see what everyone makes in the coming months.

For some of you, just remembering your starter may be the biggest challenge as the year takes off. Sourdough baking should fit into your lifestyle and let you build a habit of using your starter often enough to keep it lively. It may take a few attempts, and I’m always happy to resend starter if you need a fresh try. But a sourdough culture is more resilient than you think. So as life distracts you from baking, you have several options to bring your starter back to life.
Read more about sticking with sourdough

Sourdough Ciabatta & Bread Variations

With a handful of easily mastered recipes, including Sourdough Ciabatta, you can make every batch of sourdough look and taste unique. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Long before I got hooked on sourdough, I made yeast-based Italian slipper bread using Patricia Wells’s Trattoria. I used the recipe from the 1993 edition of her book without changes because it is so good.

Once I started into sourdough, I fell for the flavor and texture of long-ferment loaves, and Sourdough Cabin Bread, aka Auntie Julie’s Special Bread, became my go-to recipe. But one day I flipped passed the slipper bread recipe and was inspired to create a version that could use sourdough starter.

Wells describes Italian slipper bread, or ciabatta, as “ideal for those who want great flavor in a hurry.” This sourdough version takes a little more time to build than a yeast loaf but far less than long-ferment doughs that spend hours to days in the fridge. It’s definitely a high-hydration dough: expect it to be wet, sticky, and hard to shape. Your final loaf will look different every time, with lots of holes inside, and will cool and be ready to eat more quickly than denser loaves.
Learn to make Sourdough Ciabatta and bread variations

Sourdough Cookies

Putting sourdough starter in cookies bumps up against some problems, but you can solve them. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Sourdough cookies, like last week’s sourdough cracker recipe, have two goals: capture some sour flavor and use your starter. Sourdough’s leavening power doesn’t take charge: you’re still relying on baking soda, baking powder, or both to create the cookies’ shape. That puts them in the same category as Sourdough Pancakes, Sourdough Waffles, and quick breads.

But unlike those baked goods, putting sourdough starter in cookies bumps up against some problems. Most cookies have a low hydration level—they have little or no added liquid. The “wet” ingredients they do have usually contain fats, proteins, and other elements that balance the cookie recipe. This week, I focus on things I’ve learned about baking cookies with sourdough and the best recipes to use with your starter.
Learn to make sourdough cookies

Biscotti

Biscotti pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. Get biscotti recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
At some point in my childhood, my mom started making biscotti at Christmas. As a kid, it was low on my priority list—there were so many other, sweeter cookies in the house. But even though my mom was the household’s master baker, my dad, sister, and I ate most of her creations before she had a chance to enjoy them with a cup of tea and a good book. She probably made biscotti because we tended to leave it for her.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to appreciate these twice-baked cookies. They pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. When I traveled in Italy, I ate them with straight espresso and once with a dry Italian dessert wine I assumed was a type of sherry but later discovered was called vin santo (holy wine). The Italians are biscotti masters, traditionally flavoring them with almonds. But the technique works with many flavors, from nuts and dried fruit to my mom’s favorite gingerbread biscotti. And because they’re so dry, they can be stored a long time, making them ideal for sending to others.
Learn to make my Biscotti Master Recipe and several flavors