Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Sourdough Oats and Nuts Granola
Every Sunday morning, once I get back from the dog park, I take out my ceramic canister of sourdough starter and let it come to room temperature. Then I empty out about two ounces and feed it equal parts flour and water--two ounces each (which is call 100 percent hydration). It's my weekend ritual--and no surprise to anyone who reads San Diego Foodstuff.
Today, instead of tossing or giving away the discards I used them--actually a little more than usual--to make granola. Weird, huh? Usually, I include my starter in some kind of baking project. But it was an intriguing idea I had found online and since I enjoy granola and had the main ingredients in my pantry and freezer I thought I'd try it out.
What does the sourdough starter add to granola? Think of it as a tangy binder. Once it's added and then baked you can't see it. But, thanks to its subtle flavor, you'll know it's there.
Now while you can use the spent starter you will want to refresh it a bit. So the first thing to do is mix it with a little water, a little flour, and some brown sugar. Then, let it sit on the counter for three or four hours. It'll get a little bubbly. This releases more flavor than it would straight out of the fridge and the flavor is what you're after here.
Once your starter is ready, preheat your oven and start mixing the other ingredients. The dry ones obviously go together first. And you can be flexible with the type, amount, and proportion of nuts and seeds you use.
Add your honey or maple syrup to the starter mixture, along with vanilla and oil, then whisk it together and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir it all up and spread it onto a half sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Off into the oven it goes. After it's baked, let it cool before breaking it up into little pieces and adding dried fruit, cocoa nibs, or whatever strikes your fancy. I had lots of different packages of dried fruit, some chocolate-covered cocoa nibs, and dried coconut flakes that I added.
The result is a great mix for cocktail parties--or in a bowl with milk. It's sweet and savory and very crunchy. And it's a versatile foundation for creating a snack based on your specific tastes or needs. You can add more brown sugar or honey/maple syrup for a sweeter flavor--or add mini chocolate chips or other sweets as well as cinnamon or cardamom. Alternately, you can minimize the sweetness and create a savory granola with more seeds and the addition of dried herbs. Even as is I sprinkled a handful into a bowl of my Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup and the sweetness really complemented the sweet spicy soup and gave that thick texture some crunch.
Sourdough Oats and Nuts Granola
4 ounces sourdough starter (100 percent hydration--meaning equal parts flour and water)
1 ounce room temperature water
2 ounces brown sugar (light or dark)
1 ounce flour (AP, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)
½ teaspoon sea salt
5 ½ ounces rolled oats
2 ½ ounces lightly toasted nuts
2 ounces mixed seeds
2 ounces honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ ounces neutral oil, like grapeseed
Dried fruit, cacao nibs, crystallized ginger, coconut flakes, or other add ins
Mix first 4 ingredients and let sit at room temperature to ferment for 4 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
Combine salt, rolled oats, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl.
Whisk honey/maple syrup, vanilla, and oil into the starter mixture, then pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Spread in a thin layer on a silicone- or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Check in between to make sure your granola isn't getting too brown. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Then break the granola into pieces and add dried fruit, etc. once completely cool. Store in airtight container.