Strawberry Sourdough Muffins
Since I came to possess sourdough starter about a month ago, I’ve been discovering new worlds. Sourdough starter is a living thing that you keep in a jar in your kitchen. It is simply flour and water, but the fermentation process harnesses the wild yeast naturally present in the flour and the mixture transforms into a bubbly leavening agent (mine's name is Pan). To keep it going, you feed it, keep it warm, and it loves you back with gorgeous, crusty loaves of chewy bread. But I’m learning that that’s just the start of sourdough. When you feed the starter, you pour off some of the mixture, and this is known as 'discard'. Discard isn't strong enough to rise a loaf of bread, but you can use it to put a sourdough spin on pretty much any recipe that calls for flour. I’ve been using discard to make pancakes that are beyond fluffy, waffles, biscuits, pizza dough, and this morning we tried these muffins. I was skeptical to use sourdough in something sweet, because it most definitely has that signature tang. But strawberries are in season, so we gave it a try. Wow. The sourdough gives a complexity of flavor that compliments the fresh berries, as does the crunchy brown sugar on top. They are still sweet, but unlike most muffins that are JUST sweet, these are a little more sophisticated. We will be making them again, maybe experimenting with different seasonal fruit.
So, obviously this recipe makes sense if you already have active sourdough starter on hand. But if you do not and you are intrigued, the easiest way to obtain one is to ask around! Scoring a portion of established starter from a friend will save you time, as it takes about a week to make one yourself. But it can be done, and all you need is flour and water! I like The Prairie Homestead for Jill Winger’s tutorial. Honestly, since I’ve had that little jar going on my countertop, I’ve been inspired to create. It has taken my cooking in a new direction and my family loves having scratch-baked goodies more often. I am justifying the carbs with the rationale that the natural fermentation of sourdough is good for you! It breaks down gluten to make it more digestible (I have a gluten sensitivity, I can vouch). The lactic acid bacteria is great for your gut and sourdough has a lower glycemic index than traditional bread, so it helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Seriously, if you are even a little bit curious, I encourage you to bite the bullet and venture into the world of sourdough. Those bubbles won’t disappoint.
Strawberry Sourdough Muffins
1 cup sourdough starter (discard is fine)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, plus more for topping
5 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup self-rising flour*
1 cup fresh diced strawberries
Preheat oven to 375° and place 12 liners in muffin pan. Combine the starter, sugars, eggs, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the flour and stir to combine, then gently fold in the strawberries. Spoon into muffin liners, then top with a sprinkle of brown sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
*If you do not have self-rising flour, simply combine ¾ cup all purpose flour with 2 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp salt.
This recipe was adapted from the one found at A Little Saucy.