Feb
05

“Discard” May Not Mean What You Think

by , under Uncategorized

I’ve been taking such good care of this starter. I’ve even given it a name. And now you want me to what? Discard most of it? Are you nuts?

First, “nuts” is not a valid medical term. And second, yes, but not in the way you might think.

If you’ve ever made sourdough starter–or even just looked up instructions for doing so–you’ve likely come across instructions to discard as much as three-quarters of it before feeding. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? I know it did to me. The rationale was generally given as one of two things. First, it’s like spent rocket fuel; you get rid of the old to freshen. And second, if you’re feeding regularly, such as when you’re keeping it out of the fridge, you may have an overwhelming amount before too long. Whatever the reason, it seemed like an expensive habit to get in to.

I confess I did so in the beginning. After all, I was completely new at this and had no idea what to expect. But I got over it. I do, however, discard some often, but in a way you might not expect.

Keep in mind that “discard” doesn’t mean throw it away. Uh uh. Oh you can, of course, but who really wants to do that with something they’ve nurtured and even named? Not me. No, I prefer to think of it as the Sourdough Starter Relocation Program.

I may not relocate an entire 75 percent of a starter, but I often pour some out before feeding. I always make sure to have some dried and in the freezer. I also keep a small jar of my favorites in the refrigerator for emergencies. (Like when I accidentally fed Gwen Cooper with vinegar instead of water. Yesterday.) I’ve also sent dried starter to others who want to try making sourdough. After all, that’s how I got some of mine.

Stir-fry with starter spring pancake

But what if you want to use it yourself? There are lots of recipes on the Internet for using starter. But most require planning ahead, which I’m not always good at. Or they’re more work than I want to put in. Then I discovered Brothers Green Eat on YouTube. Particularly this video for scallion pancakes.

A word about Brothers Green. I really like this channel and have learned a lot, but it’s not for everyone. The language is often “salty,” so if you’re offended by such things, this may not be the channel for you or children. This video doesn’t have that issue.

As soon as I saw the video, I knew I had to try it. And it was certainly easy enough, especially since I keep at least one starter on the counter. Unlike the video, I only used scallions. I served it with a stir fry, and it was really good. To cook, I simply poured some of the starter into a hot cast-iron skillet. Of course, you don’t have to use cast iron, but really, why not?

Since then, I’ve made starter pancakes several times. I’ve made them as a vehicle to carry peanut butter and jam. And I made a pizza.

Starter Pizza

I generally keep my starters on the thin side. For the pizza, though, I fed it a higher ratio of flour to water. I brought a cast-iron skilled to a screaming heat on the stove and cooked the starter until lightly browned on the underside. Then I topped with cooked chicken, cheese, sauce, and spinach and put in a preheated oven until the middle was warm and the cheese melted. Then I topped with labneh and returned it to the oven until it was melted. Oh good gosh that was tasty. I’m now experimenting with toppings. There’s no end in sight.

Oh, and if you’re dying for a wrap but don’t have a “wrapper,” these starter pancakes work. See, for example, my starter tuna melt.

Starter tuna melt

The lesson of this post? Don’t send your starter to the trash. Send it to the Sourdough Starter Relocation Program. You’ll like yourself better for this.

© Copyright 2018 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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