It took a long time for me to master sourdough starters. I’ve spent years trying out lots of recipes and trying to find one I love. Some of them have flat out not worked. Others appeared to work but just didn’t get the sour taste or function long term.
But I’ve had one going for about a year now that I love. I only use it once every week or two, so it lives in my fridge rather than on the counter, and I generally only feed it when I use it. It often has a layer of “hooch” on the top because its been underfed and it doesn’t always look particularly great. But it’s still a sourdough starter. And it’s still working. And I barely have to maintain it. So I call that a win.
I love making sourdough bread, but it is a lengthy process and often I would rather make my 90-minute bread just for ease’s sake. I will sometimes make a sourdough loaf or two on the weekend, and it’s always really delicious. But I felt I needed to make more with my starter to warrant feeding it regularly, so I started searching around for ideas on other things to make with it.
And I hit a goldmine. Did you know you can make sourdough pizza, pancakes and even cake? There are some amazing ideas out there! But my favourite by far has to be sourdough waffles.
These are beautifully soft, fluffy and delicious. The perfect weekend breakfast loaded with yogurt and nut butter and banana or fresh berries with a tiny drizzle of rice syrup to top it all off. Or make them savoury with spinach and melted cheese topped with a poached egg. They are really versatile and stand up to strong flavours.
And they are unbelievably easy. Once you have an established starter, you can make them every week without flinching. They are so simple, within a few waffle breakfasts you probably won’t even need this recipe any more. And with just a minute’s prep before bed, they’ll take just a few mins to put together in the morning!
How to Make a Sourdough Starter:
DAY 1: Dissolve 1 and 1/2 tsp yeast in 1 cup (250ml) of warm water. Stir in 1 cup (125g) of flour (strong or plain, white or wholemeal, your choice). Cover and leave overnight.
DAYS 2-4/5: Each day, stir the starter and then cover again.
DAY 5/6: You should have a bubbly, slightly sour smelling starter now. If you are making bread, or anything that requires the dough to rise or needs an “active” or “fed” starter, making a sponge by mixing 1 cup (250g) of the mix with an equal amount of water and an equal amount of flour (so 1 cup of each). Leave overnight and then use as required for your recipe. For waffles, there is no need to make a sponge as you will essentially be doing this as part of the recipe when you soak it.
TO KEEP IT GOING: I keep my starter in the fridge so that I need to “feed” it less often. Usually I feed it when I make these waffles on a Friday night. After removing my 1 cup of starter in preparation for the morning, I add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup water to the rest of the starter, mix well, and then I re-cover it and place it back in the fridge for the next time I use it. If you plan on using your starter more regularly (every few days), you could leave it on your counter and “feed” it more regularly, and either use or discard the 1 cup that you have removed (to make bread, waffles, or whatever else you are using it for!).
If you feel like something has gone wrong with your starter and aren’t sure whether to discard and try again or if you might be able to save it, I have found this link to be really really helpful. On the whole, I have found that sourdough starter is surprisingly resilient. It has a reputation for being high maintenance, but I have actually found it to be anything but. Several times I have thought it’s ruined, only to be able to restore it completely and keep it going!
A yummy, super easy recipe for sugar free sourdough waffles to make with your sourdough starter. This is our regular Saturday morning breakfast - it's just so simple, and we all love it, whether it is served with nut butter, yogurt and fruit or topped with wilted spinach, melted cheese and a poached egg. Play around with your own favourite sugar free toppings to find what you love best.
- 1 cup (250g) sourdough starter (see recipe above - I just get it straight from the container in my fridge that I "feed" about once a week when I make these waffles)
- 1 cup (140g) flour
- 1 cup (250ml) milk kefir or buttermilk (you could also use plain full-fat milk with a squeeze of lemon or yogurt)
- 1 tsp rice syrup
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup (50g) butter or coconut oil, melted (I actually prefer coconut oil, but you can use butter if you wish)
- 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- pinch of salt
Mix the starter with the flour, kefir or buttermilk and rice syrup. Cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel or cling film, and leave overnight.
In the morning add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and make the waffles straightaway on a hot waffle iron.