February 5th, 2015

Sourdough Popovers

Sourdough amazes me, and popovers do too. When they come crashing together it’s a delicious thing to behold.

I am enthralled with sourdough bread–how basically a handful of ingredients: flour, water, and salt, can make a crisp, webby loaf of bread– it gets me every time. I feel like I am truly making something great out of very little. In my research for the the book, I found a lot of sourdoughs that were given a little help with commercial yeast. I understand why. Yeast speeds the process; it insures levity; it can help. But it also seemed like cheating and  I didn’t want my recipe to be a cheat! It was important to me to have a reliable, easy sourdough starter, that used NO commercial yeast– that did it on its own. If homemakers, settlers, and pioneers, could bake sourdough bread without the aid of commercial yeast hundreds of years ago, surely we could do it in 2015!

It took awhile, but I developed a starter that works for the home chef, and it’s been going strong now for over two years. The recipe for the starter is in United States of Bread along with several recipes for loaves, but now that the book’s out, I have begun experimenting more with my starter. There have been waffles (stellar!), and pancakes (to die for!). And last weekend there were these superb popovers.

SourdoughPopoversTypically, popovers aren’t made with any sort of leavening. Made in a hot pan, they display the alchemy of baking by transforming from a runny batter, into an eggy, puffy dream. The sourdough popovers, made with a bit of sourdough starter, is leavened and more substantial than the original, but this resulting popovers is like a whipped muffin. (If that makes any sense!) Still airy, still eggy, slightly sour, with substance from the starter, these popovers only needed a smear of jam and a cup of coffee. Forget Wheaties, this was my breakfast of champions.

This morning treat does behave like a standard popover– they rumple and deflate– so they really should be eaten moments from the oven. I don’t have a popover pan, so mine were made in a muffin tin. If you don’t have a popover pan either, just try to space the popovers out in the tin. This allows for expansion.

Sourdough Popover
from the King Arthur Flour website

1 cup milk (I used whole)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

Makes about 9 popovers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a muffin tin in the oven to preheat as well.

Warm milk slightly, it is fine to do this in the microwave. Combine the milk, eggs, starter and salt. Add the flour and mix. It is fine if lumps in the batter remain; don’t overmix.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Spray well with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter. Pour batter into the tin, filling the batter almost to the top.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes, until popovers are golden brown.

Remove from the pan. You may need to pry the popovers from the tin with an offset spatula. Serve immediately.

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