Growing your own sourdough starter (levain)

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Our sourdough starter, Chad, fast asleep in the fridge.

The idea of growing your own sourdough starter from just flour and water is something that many people shy away from. Maybe the idea of fermenting something at home is intimidating or unappealing; maybe it seems too risky or complicated. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame because the process itself is actually quite easy, and the starter can be used to yield wonderful results in the kitchen! In any case, the point of this short post is to dispel those nasty rumours and let you know that with a little patience, you can make your very own sourdough baby completely from scratch!

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English-Style Scones

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When done right, scones have a crazy-high return on investment. With a few basic ingredients, and a few not-so-complicated steps (we’re basically making biscuits here, people), you have a deliciously flakey – sweet or savoury – pastry. We already have one scoopable-scone recipe, this one is a more traditional dough and processes. Different shapes – both delicious. Can’t choose? Make both!

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Crumb Topping

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Student: Sir, you know what I’ve realized after taking this course?
Me: What’s that?
Student: I love sugar.
Me: *realizing I need to work on pushing some healthier recipes with the kids…*
Also me: Crumb Topping? I put that stuff on everything!

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Banana Muffins

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We run the nutrition club at school. I don’t call it a breakfast club because the kids come throughout the day, not just in the morning. We often have healthy stuff like apples, bananas and yogurt on hand for snacks. I never know how much we are going to go through, so we occasionally end up with overripe fruits. For the bananas, we freeze them in packages of 4-5 so that they are ready to be made into banana bread. When needed, the kids can take out a package from the freezer the day before, and it will be ready for use the next day.

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Pain de mie

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As part of our nutrition club at school, the students often come for a snack whenever they are hungry. The simplest thing for them to do is to grab a bagel, toast it and put some spreadable cream cheese on it, (trust me they tell me when it’s not the spreadable kind). We haven’t managed to get a proper bagel recipe yet, that’s probably our next project. But in the meantime, we have managed to standardize a pain de mie recipe  that’s easy to make in our 74 minute time frame. It takes an extra day or two, but that’s OK. For Ms. Brignull’s class, they even used this recipe for a fundraiser where the students made the bread into grilled cheese sandwiches to sell with soup and one-of-a-kind bowls produced by Ms. Levay’s class.

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