3.14.17 Sourdough cake, no Pi

I wonder if there is a sourdough pie recipe that I could make on Pi day next year? By then I may well be long past this sourdough madness phase. Yes, we have sourdough!

A day or two after my last post I saw an elderly widower neighbor at the community center who I’d heard makes terrific sourdough biscuits so I asked him for some tips. His face lit up as he launched into a detailed explanation on making a starter and the ingredients for his biscuits. He tore off a piece of paper and with a stubby pencil pulled from a shirt pocket (My dad always carried a pencil in his shirt pocket too.) jotted down the threads of his recipe. Once home I muddled through his spare writing then stirred up another ceramic bowl of milk and flour, this time with a smidgeon of honey. I covered it with a scrap of woven cotton cloth left over from a shirt and set it on the back of the stove for a couple of days then added more flour and milk to the bubbly mass to sit another three days. That evening someone knocked at the door just as Ed and I were finishing supper. The neighbor, Elvin, held out a lidded container, a copied pamphlet of sourdough recipes and his handwritten recipe for his sourdough biscuits. He had no idea how old his starter was — he and his wife had used it for years.

Plenty of food from supper was still on the table so we invited him to eat. For the next couple of hours we had a delightful talk as he told about sourdough, cooking, and growing vegetables. He’d grown up on the farm, only a couple of miles from here, which his grandfather had homesteaded in the 1800’s. He’s filled with lots of stories, local information, lore and legends.

As we visited I measured out enough starter to let sit overnight, eager to try his starter and recipe.


I’ve made three more batches of biscuits, and another attempt at bread. This time the bread was a bit more successful, thanks to Jocelyn‘s comment about not adding too much flour but it’s still not the lofty bread I hope to make sometime soon. Making biscuits has helped to get a feel for just how wet the dough can be / should be in order for the feeding frenzy to happen in the dough and the bubbles to form.

Two batches of starter reside in the fridge; the one Elvin brought over and the one I’d started from scratch from Elvin’s instructions. They both smell wonderfully tangy sweet. Elvin’s has a deeper, more intense tang but considering my starter is less than a month old it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been alternating between them so they’re both being used and refreshed.
Melt in the mouth tasty.

Early this morning as I was setting out the starter for biscuits to have with our soup supper I remembered seeing a Sourdough Chocolate Cake recipe. Since Tuesday is cake baking day and I’d already planned to make a chocolate cake I hunted up the recipe (King Arthur’s baking book) then measured out the half the amount needed from each jar of starter, added more flour and milk into the starter jars and set them on the counter along with the two bowls of dough; one for tonight’s biscuits, one for the cake.

The cake rose beautifully in the oven. It’s been very tempting to nibble at a corner but I’ll wait until morning when it’s frosted. A small corner might be missing when Ed takes it to the Wednesday supper crew. I hope it tastes as good as it smelled when cooking!

Why yes, I have been spinning. Next post…

PS Sorry for my lapse in replying to comments. I’ve had a heck of a time disciplining myself to replying even though I have the best of intentions and I love reading all your comments! I’ll try to do better.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

4 thoughts on “3.14.17 Sourdough cake, no Pi”

  1. Ooh! Those biscuits look amazing. I think you may have inspired me go get some sourdough started again! It may have to wait until I get back from visiting Tess, but once I have some going, I may ask for that biscuit recipe 🙂

  2. What a treasure your neighbour gave you! Not only his well-loved starter, but also the recipes and the stories… That’s wonderful! Your biscuits look amazing, and I can imagine how tempting that chocolate cake must have been. I’ve long been toying with the idea of making a sourdough starter, so of course I find your experiments very inspiring!

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