Sourdough Pasta

pasta made from sourdough starter

A bowl of chicken and rustic sourdough noodle soup with a side of buttered sourdough bread. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks!

Pasta has always been my “go-to” favorite for an easy, quick meal.  Of course, that was when I purchased the pasta, pasta sauce, the meat or cheese (or both) and spices!  Now that I know better and have more time, I have started canning my own pasta sauce, grinding my own beef and even growing and dehydrating my own spices!  Naturally, I also make my own pasta.  A couple of months ago I began experimenting with sourdough, and when I found a recipe on Cultures for Health for making sourdough pasta, I was all in!

how to make sourdough noodles

This is fresh out-of-the-refrigerator, hungry sourdough. Do you see that brownish liquid? That means this starter is HUNGRY!

My sourdough starter has performed very well.  When I first told people I wanted to try sourdough, I was given all kinds of dire warnings about how I would have to bake every week or the starter would die.  Well, I can tell you now from experience that I don’t have to make something with the starter every week – it hibernates just fine while in the refrigerator!  All I really have to do is feed it by stirring in some flour and water once a week, set it back in the fridge, and all is well! I even forgot it for a few weeks, but once fed and out of the fridge, it perked up just fine! 😀

how to make noodles out of sourdough starter

This is my expanding supply of sourdough starter, warm, fed and very, very happy!

Now that I have been experimenting with the sourdough starter for a while, when I plan a sourdough baking day, I make it worth my time!  Instead of throwing away half the sourdough (oh no) and feeding the rest, then repeating every 8-12 hours for at least three feedings, I save all of the sourdough and feed it all!  That way, I can make a lot of stuff with the sourdough!

pizza crust made from sourdough

This is the first batch of sourdough pizza crusts ready for the oven.

This last week I made a bunch (eight, to be specific, but who’s counting!) of sourdough pizza crusts, shaped into rectangles (it fits better on my baking sheets and in the freezer) and partially cooked them before I froze them for future meals. Sourdough pizza is really delicious!

Then I made some bread.  You can see this post on some of the first sourdough bread I made.  The olive and parmesan loaf is wonderful!  On this most recent epic sourdough day, I tried adding Italian flavoring to one loaf – oregano, basil and garlic – and it was really, REALLY good!  I will do that again!

♪♫♪♪ O sole mio ♫♪♫♫

So, let’s see – two loafs of bread, eight pizza crusts…   lots of sourdough starter left!

Hmmm…

Now what…

That’s when I went to the Cultures for Health website and saw it…   Pasta!

I won’t go through all the recipe details here, but in a nutshell you add whole wheat flour to the starter along with egg yolks, mix it up until it forms a nice ball (not much kneading necessary) and then let it sit for at least 8 hours or over night.  This allows the sourdough yeast to work it’s magic throughout the mix. I let mine rest overnight because I figured the longer it fermented, the better the dough would be for my health!  I also assumed it would be easier to roll it out, and I was right.

The next morning I was happy to see that my sourdough pasta dough had become spongy, which is a good thing. Sourdough is more digestible than standard bread and more nutritious, also. Lactic acids help neutralize the phylates in flour which can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The acids also slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream, lowering the bread’s glycemic index, preventing insulin spikes. They also make the gluten in flour more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance.

Rustic sourdough noodles

I love my pasta roller! It rolls out pasta in 10 different thicknesses and does a much better job than I can do with just a regular rolling pin!

I grabbed a handful of the dough and rolled it flat with my handy-dandy pasta machine. One important note when rolling sourdough through a pasta roller – make sure both sides are floured first!  If the dough is not floured, it will stick in the roller and make an epic mess! Haha – I know this well from experience! Of course, you can roll it out by hand. Once flattened, the pasta dough goes through the noodle cutter, which you can also do by hand. Waa Laa  – sourdough pasta noodles!  (waa laa means “there it is” in redneck French)

How to make noodles from sourdough

“Necessity is the mother of invention”, or in my case, “making do”!

But then, where to hang them to dry?  My dearest has already agreed to make me a pasta drying rack (thank you in advance, sweetheart), but what do I do now? Improvise! 😀  This large container with the wooden spoons laying across actually made a decent pasta dryer!

Don’t laugh, it works!

But I didn’t stop there.  Did you expect me to?

I bought a ravioli maker last year because it looked like it would be an easy way to make a lot of raviolis.  I got it on sale at Williams-Sonoma (free shipping also!) and when it came in the mail I had to set it aside because Christmas was coming, the goose was getting fat, and I had other things to do.

Today was the day to try it out.

First, I rolled out some of the sourdough pasta dough and got it pretty thin.  Then, I laid the pasta on top of the ravioli maker after it had been floured, and gently…  oh so very gently… pushed the dough into each depression.

Sourdough ravioli

After placing the dough on top of the ravioli maker, then pressing into each depression gently, I placed the filling into each and then covered with another layer of sourdough pasta.

Hmmm.  I got a couple of tears in the dough, but was able to patch them.  Then I filled each depression with a mixture of cooked chicken, some gouda and crimini mushrooms, all diced very small to fit a good mixture into the pockets.

Making ravioli with sourdough pasta

This was Mmmm Mmmm good! A light bechamel sauce with mozarella topped the ravioli quite well!

Next, another sheet of pasta was rolled out and placed on top of the first!  Then, all I had to do was take a wooden roller (included with the ravioli maker) and roll over the top, and – presto – ravioli!

I can see how I could spend an hour making a lot of raviolis and freeze them for several meals later in the month.  After-all, once you have all the equipment out and everything is coated in a fine dust of flour 😉 , you may as well just get a bunch done!  Right?  Just remember to lay the ravioli on a parchment or waxed paper lined baking sheet and freeze for about an hour.  Once frozen, you can throw them into a freezer bag or other freezer container and they shouldn’t stick together.

How did they turn out?  Absolutely delicious!  What would I do different?  I think next time I will add a bit of sauce into the filling mixture so that it is more “full”.  The chunks of chicken and mushrooms and cheese had pockets of air between them after they were cooked.  Luckily, that didn’t effect the flavor, but I need to experiment just the same.

How to make ravioli with sourdough starter

Just for fun, I thought I would show you a few of the “fails”! Remember – flour, flour, flour!

Whew – what a day – actually almost two!  But look at what I accomplished – all done with Frank, my sourdough starter.

Frank?  Well, yes.  I name my cultures…  don’t you?  I decided to call him Frank because my specific culture is San Francisco Sourdough.  Francisco…  Frank… get it?  😀

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Sourdough

Mmmmm…  making your own sourdough bread

Fresh sourdough bread!

I grew up and have lived in Northern California my entire life.  One of my favorite places to visit has always been San Francisco.  There are so many things to do there, but I never go to the “City by the Bay” without visiting the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.  I shamelessly eat an entire sourdough “bowl” filled with clam chowder, then waddle on over to the store to buy a loaf (or two or three) to bring home.

I tried to make my own sourdough by catching the wild yeast in the air in a slurry of flour and water, but was never satisfied by the taste of the sourdough. It just wasn’t what I was used to. I do plan to try this again, however, because I found out that it wasn’t supposed to taste like the San Francisco Sourdough!  Each region around the world has it’s own “wild” yeast floating around, and each bread will taste different!  Some will taste more sour, while others will rise faster!  Then, I found out that you can actually buy the San Francisco Sourdough yeast and “grow your own”!

That’s exactly what I did.  I had previously bought my Kombucha starter through Cultures for Health and saw on their website that they had quite a few different fermented items for sale, including sourdough.  The company offers sixteen different sourdough yeast varieties, including ones for spelt, rye and brown rice.  But I was after my favorite, which is the San Francisco variety!

homemade sourdoughWhen I got the yeast packet, I decided to just dive right in and get the yeast activated.  It was simple enough – especially since I wasn’t having to “catch” a wild yeast – which made me feel a bit more confident.  I followed the instructions that came with the yeast packet.  I had to buy some water, because our tap water has both chlorine and fluoride (ick), which can kill the yeast.  Our well water on the future homestead is good and pure, without chemicals or excessive minerals, so I will bring home a gallon or two of that water the next time we go up.

One thing I have learned sohomemade sourdough bread far is that it’s a good idea (for me, at least) to write the time on your sourdough container.  That way, you won’t forget when you last fed your sourdough.  Also, beware!  This stuff is like Gorilla Glue!  Seriously!  Wipe up any spills immediately and wash off spoons and jar rims right away, otherwise you will have to soak and then scrub.  Also, a word to the wise – it doesn’t smell anything like you might expect!  That’s why I had thrown out my “wild” sourdough attempts – it really has a strange smell to it.  Not that real sweet “yeasty” smell that you get from the commercial homemade sourdough pizza recipeyeast packets we are all used to.  And it wasn’t really “sour” either, but more alcohol-ish, but not really like beer either.  I was worried that I had contaminated the sourdough with my kombucha.  Apparently, I hadn’t.  However, if you are fermenting several things at the same time (kombucha, apple cider vinegar, sourdough, even vegetable pickles), it’s wise to keep everything at least five feet apart!

Oh…  one more thing – these little yeasty beastys like to escape!  I put my quart jar of sourdough into our entertainment cabinet where it is always warm due to the electronics, then came back several hours later to find sourdough dribbling over the rim of the jar, down and over the shelf and then to the floor!  That’s when I went out and bought the half gallon size of jars.  😉sourdough bread recipes

Once I got the sourdough bubbling well, and had fed it four times, I was ready to make some bread!  I followed the simple sourdough recipe that Cultures for Health have on their website.  Word of warning:  the sourdough takes a LOT of kneading!  20 minutes!  The

homemade sourdough bread recipes

………………………….It’s Alive!!!

first time I did the kneading, my husband helped.  Now, I just turn on TV and mindlessly knead while watching!  Hey, don’t judge me – at least I’m multi-tasking!  Once kneaded, the bread must rise for 4-12 hours!  Yup, it takes a lot longer to raise sourdough than it does the “regular” kind of bread, but of course a lot depends on the air temperature.  When we have a fire going, it takes about 4-5 hours for the bread to rise.  But, in a cool kitchen (about 65 degrees) it may take overnight, or as long as 12 hours!  You just need to get used to your sourdough to figure out how it will work for you.

sourdough bread recipes

A nice warm fire helps the sourdough bread rise!

Let me tell you, baking that first loaf of bread was pure torture. It smelled so good while it was baking (our mouths were watering and our tummies growling) that when it was done we couldn’t wait for it to cool down, like the instructions stated. We were like ravenous vultures tearing into the bread!  It was so good!  Not quite as sour as the San Francisco Sourdough that I’m used to, but very good just the same.  Apparently I need to let my sourdough “sour” a bit more to get that rich sour flavor, by feeding it one more time before I cook with it.  I have also read that as my sourdough “matures”, it will get more sour.  Also, I think the crumb is just a bit too fine, so perhaps this first batch didn’t rise enough or maybe the oven wasn’t hot enough.  These are all things I just need to learn with my sourdough!   I don’t mind practicing.  🙂

Of course, I couldn’t stop there.   The Cultures for Health website has oodles of recipes, so my next dish was pizza. homemade sourdough pizza recipe This was easier and faster than the bread because you don’t have to knead it so much or even let it rise for hours.  However, when I rolled it out on the cookie sheet, I thought I had it thin enough, but it was still just a bit too thick for our taste.  We don’t like doughy pizza dough, but are more partial to the thin crust types, so now I really roll it thin.  What is great with this recipe is that you actually cook the dough before you put the toppings on it, then finish it in the oven – which gave me a great idea!  I could make several pizza crusts, bake them, and then freeze for future meals!  One caveat, however, is that they take up a lot less room in the freezer if you make square or rectangle crusts, then stack one on top of the other!homemade sourdough pizza crust

What was next?  Crackers!  Bacon, Rosemary and Cracked Peppercorn Crackers!  These were really good.  Again, the recipe is on the website at Cultures for Health.  Luckily I have an old overgrown rosemary bush out back, so I was able to harvest my own rosemary – can’t get any fresher than that!  The bacon flavor comes from bacon grease, not the actual bacon, so if you want to make these crackers, save your bacon grease! These were really good with a little cream cheese spread on top.  Yum!  But, where the recipe says to roll very thinly, they mean it!  I really didn’t get mine thin enough the first time, and though they tasted great, the crackers just didn’t have any crunch. They are better when they crunch! sourdough crackers

Finally, I wanted to show you my Olive and Parmesan sourdough bread.  Well, I wanted to show you the bread, but before I could take a picture of the final product, it disappeared!  Yes, this one is that good. Here is another tip I would like to share with you:  don’t add the olives right away.  They get torn into quite a few small pieces while you knead the dough.  Knead the dough for a good five minutes first, before you add the olives.  You might also consider adding whole olives (the recipe calls for sliced), because even by adding them toward the end of the kneading, they still get torn into smaller pieces.Olive Parmesan Sourdough recipe

I hope you try making your own sourdough, if you haven’t yet!  There are tons of blogs and recipe websites out there with instructions on how to “capture” your own “wild” yeast.  Or you can do like I did and start with a proven source of sourdough yeast.  Either way, I am sure you won’t be sorry.

And for those of you that are gluten intolerant: apparently fermenting the wheat makes the gluten more tolerable!  There are those who cannot eat “regular” white bread, yet can eat sourdough bread.  Of course, if you truly have celiac disease, you want to be cautious, but read this article first – you may be surprised: Gluten Intolerance & Sourdough Bread from Livestrong.  

For my next batch of sourdough, I am going to make the smaller boule type sourdough shapes so that I can make a sourdough bowl and add some salmon chowder to it!    One recipe that I have been looking for (can’t find the original blog) is actually using stale sourdough (is there really such a thing?) to make stuffing.  I would also like to find a recipe for a french herbed sourdough using herbes de provence, but actually using the individual spices and not the herbes de provence already mixed together.  Do you have a favorite sourdough recipe?

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