Sourdough Surprises

So, it’s been a while. Bread has been baked, cakes have been consumed and all that jazz, but no blog has been blogged. My only excuse is that getting married proved more of a distraction and time-eater than I had anticipated.

Anyway, I have decided to give myself A Fresh Start. And I’m doing so by joining a monthly sourdough baking club called Sourdough Surprises. They have a new fun, atypical sourdough recipe each month, and folks like me get to bake along. That’s my idea of fun (nerd, or what?).

So this month they were making muffins and quickbreads. More here on that.

I decided to get in on the act with an old favourite – blueberry muffins. 

Blueberry sourdough muffins.

I combined a couple of recipes for this. Mostly, it’s the work of the wonderful Felicity Cloake in the Guardian’s how to cook the perfect… series. But I sourdoughed it up using this method from Cultures for Health.

So, how did it go? Well, firstly quickbread is not really the word for it (but then it never is with sourdough!). Once the starter was all active and bubbly (it’s in great shape a the moment and almost spills out of its kilner jar!), I made up a biga with 100g of 100% sourdough starter, and all the flour and buttermilk from the recipe minus 50g of each (so, 190g flour and 190ml buttermilk). I left this to rise for 12 hours during the day.

Buttermilk biga - pre-rise

Buttermilk biga.

Buttermilk biga after 12 hours

Buttermilk biga after 12 hours.

I wasn’t sure what the rise would be like – I’ve never mixed my sourdough with anything other than water before, and I wasn’t sure what the acidity of the buttermilk would do to it. As you can see from the pictures, it worked a treat and more than doubled in size, going soft and silky too (the original mix was suprisingly stiff).

Once the biga had had its growing time, I proceeded with the recipe almost as published. The result? Well, they tasted delicious. They were supermoist, with a lovely depth of flavour. I couldn’t specifically taste the sourdough, but I think it added a note to the taste, and also helped keep them fresh for days.

As you can see, however, they fell a little, er, flat. I don’t think this was the result of the sourdough. They definitely rose – it’s just it wasn’t very sustained! I think I took them out too early, as I was worried they were burning on top. Doing them again, I’d do them on a lower temperature for longer, and maybe spread the mix between 12 cases instead of 10.

Muffins in the tin

Blueberry sourdough muffin.

Blueberry sourdough muffin.


100g active sourdough starter, 100% hydration
150g blueberries
190g plain flour, plus a little extra
110g butter, softened
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
½tsp salt
190ml buttermilk


Combine buttermilk, flour and active starter to make a biga. Cover and leave for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

In a small bowl, mash the blueberries with a fork.

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer for 5-7 minutes.

Add the egg and mix well, then add the salt and about three quarters of the blueberries.

In thirds, add the risen biga and make sure it is all well-combined without over-mixing. At the last minute, add the bicarb.

Spoon into 12 muffin cases. Add the remaining blueberries on top, and sprinkle on a tiny bit more brown sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, and don’t open the oven too early for fear of flat muffin syndrome!


2 thoughts on “Sourdough Surprises

  1. Yum, blueberry muffins are a personal favorite, and a great way to use sourdough. I love the sprinkle of blueberries on top so all of the fruit doesn’t end up at the bottom.

  2. Pingback: Buns, buns, buns | my london kitchen

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