I’ve talked before about fermented things and bread and how the intersection of these things is surely heaven, but now I feel the need to share a recipe I’ve been working on for the past few weeks as I’ve gotten back into the routine of making sourdough bread.
Sourdough is delicious and storied and so many other adjectives, but I’ve always felt a little sad for the discarded starter culture that accumulates in its container every week, like the left-behind sibling, while the bright, shiny other sibling goes off the make things of themselves—namely, bread. The internet does a good job of offering ways to make use of sourdough discard, but the idea of muffins (which, I must be honest, have not always gone well for me) seemed like a good way to go. If for no other reason than to test my mettle in the muffin baking category.
And the results, based on this recipe and its variations, were amazing. These babies have huge lift and a nice crumb (though not as fine and cakey as a standard muffin, be warned—they’re made with bread dough, after all). They feel substantial in that way sourdough things do, which is to say, they are nutritious like no standard bread. Also, as I note below, this recipe is huge, so you can decide if you want to feed your neighbourhood or freeze a bag of muffins for later, both of which I have done.
Sourdough Morning Glory Muffins
Adapted from Restoration Acres sourdough muffins
Makes around 24, depending on size of muffins
For the Sourdough Ferment
2 cups active sourdough starter (aka, sourdough discard)
1 cup lukewarm water
1½ cups whole wheat flour (I recommend a pastry, or fine-ground, version)
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, making sure everything is well combined. The dough will be very stiff. Cover with a tea towel and leave on the counter overnight.
For the Muffins
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup brown sugar (or raw sugar)
½ cup melted butter (you can use oil instead, but butter gives the best flavor)
⅓ cup orange juice
Zest of 2 oranges
½ cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 cups grated carrots
1⅓ cups raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 grated apple (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp each ginger and cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
In the morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set up a stand mixer with its paddle attachment. Grease two twelve-muffin tins.* Whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the other ingredients except for the sourdough ferment. Now add the ferment to the empty bowl of the stand mixer, sprinkle over the baking powder mixture, and mix on low for a few moments. Then carefully add the liquid ingredients, a bit at a time, taking care that the mixture doesn’t slosh out of the bowl as the paddle goes around. Once things look partly combined, turn the mixer up to medium speed to thoroughly combine the ingredients, but for no longer than about 10 seconds. If you’re adding nuts, add them now and mix on low. Fill greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffin springs back when lightly touched.
Let cool in the tins for one minute, then turn out (they come out really easily) onto a cooling rack.
*A note on the muffin tins and quantity: this recipe makes a tonne of muffins because it uses up a lot of discarded sourdough starter (a great thing!), and I recommend not halving the recipe—these muffins freeze and reheat very well. If you like bigger muffins with significant ‘tops’, you might not need to use all of the two tins. I have also used a six-muffin tin and reused it immediately after taking out the cooked muffins and it’s all been fine—it just means more time in the kitchen. Also and very important: don’t use paper muffin wrappers for these—they will stick to the paper. Grease is all you need.