Honey-Sweetened Sourdough Muffins

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Over the past few months, I’ve been getting to know my sourdough starter bit by bit, and I’m doing it in a really “intuitive” way, meaning I mostly eyeball it with my timing and ingredient amounts rather than weighing things out on a scale and being precise with hydration or flour ratios. I’ve kept my starter on the counter, fed it twice per day, and when it’s not used for bread, I try to find something enjoyable to do with the discard. I’m baking bread nearly every day because, as someone who learns by doing, I know it’s the only way I’ll ever improve my skills. As a result, I’ve got bread coming out of my ears. I’m baking more than we can eat and giving most of it away to any family member or friend I can.

With two feeds per day, I’m learning a whole lot about sourdough and the way we enjoy it. Mostly my loaves turn out edible and beautiful in a rustic sort of way, but there are occasional duds. Even with this many feedings, it’s rare that I’ll throw that precious discard down the sink. Mostly it goes into sourdough dutch babies, pancakes or muffins, and I’m always looking for other easy ways to use it because that’s a whole lot of good quality flour down the drain if you can’t find a way to bake and eat it. 

I eventually plan to learn how to make all-things sourdough: pie crust, bagels, pastries, crackers, quickbreads… but for now, while I’m still focused on learning how to make basic bread and feeding my starter this often, I’m just looking for solutions that can be accomplished quickly and easily with a napping baby and a 4-year-old underfoot.

That said, I’d like to share a recipe for sourdough muffins that I’ve been using nonstop this summer for my discard. It uses all-purpose flour and cornmeal for a light, yet robust muffin that won’t get soggy with berry add-ins. Plus, they’re lightly sweetened with a bit of honey. Delicious.

SOURDOUGH MUFFINS
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sourdough discard
¼ cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup melted butter or oil
½ cup honey
2 cups berries, fresh or frozen


Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a muffin tin. Set aside. 

Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.

Wet ingredients: Whisk together the sourdough discard, milk, egg, butter/oil, and honey in a large bowl until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. 

Fold in the fresh berries. 

Fill the wells of a standard sized greased muffin tin with batter until ¾ full. Place in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and then remove muffins from muffin tin and place on a cooling rack until room temp. Store in an airtight container. Muffins will last for a couple days on the counter, a couple weeks in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

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Our zucchini harvest season is winding down, but we still have a few large specimens awaiting their fate on the kitchen counter. If the zucchini is small and tender, I’ll usually eat it without much ado: lightly sautéed and seasoned with salt and pepper. The larger ones, however, have a tougher skin, larger seeds and not as delicate of flavor, so those are usually reserved for batch after batch of zucchini bread which I’ll freeze and eat, or give away to friends and family throughout the year.
 

My zucchini bread recipe stems from a recipe given to my husband by his family. I’ve experimented and tweaked some things here and there, and have come up with my own well-worn and loved variation. Every kitchen witch has their own method, after all.
 

For me, the chopped dates are essential. The original recipe calls for chopped nuts, which are also delicious, but I reduce the sugar from its original 2 ¼ cup down to 1 ½ (or less), so the dates give it a little added sweetness. The real magic in the dates, however, is in their texture. They almost melt into the bread while it’s baking. 

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar (I usually only use 1 cup)
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped dates
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two standard-sized loaf pans.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and grated zucchini.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the chopped dates.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans and place on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let loaves cool for 20 minutes before removing from loaf pans. Serve immediately or store in aluminum foil. Loaves can be frozen and thawed at room temperature when ready to serve.