How to Convert a Quick Bread into a Sourdough Recipe


Sourdough is well known for its ability to raise yeast-based breads. It lends a lovely tang, or not, depending on your preference. It also helps to make the grain more digestible by pre-digesting the fibers and anti-nutrients.

Those same benefits can be had for your quick bread recipes that normally call for baking soda or baking powder.

By replacing some of the flour and some of the liquid with a bit of sourdough starter and then allowing it to ferment for at least 7 hours, you can achieve a delicious quick bread like muffins, pancakes, or banana bread with many of the benefits of a loaf of old-fashioned sourdough.

The Formula

Assuming that you keep your sourdough starter at 100% hydration you can safely assume that half of the quantity of your sourdough starter is flour and the other half water. You can therefore replace part of the flour and liquid in the recipe with the sourdough starter itself.

Furthermore, sourdough is acidic in that it contains lactic and acetic acids that will act on your recipe in the same way as the cultured dairy products that are often called for in a recipe.

If, for instance, you have a recipe that calls for 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of buttermilk, as in a pancake recipe, you could combine 1-3/4 cups of flour, 1-3/4 cups of buttermilk (or milk, since the sourdough is also acidic), and 1/2 cup of sourdough starter. (The sourdough starter replaces 1/4 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk.)

This mixture can be combined the night before and left to culture on the counter. The next morning add the rest of the ingredients, including a bit of baking soda to react with the acidity of the sourdough and create a rise, and mix just to combine before cooking into fluffy delicious pancakes.

If you want your quick bread to be baked right away, then simply skip the fermentation step. It won’t be as easy on the tummy, but you will get a bit of extra rise from the yeast in the sourdough starter. Just proceed with the recipe as written.

Beyond Quick Breads

Once you start using sourdough in your baked good recipes you may find that it helps make lighter breads that are easier to eat. And so you might want to start souring just about all of the grains you eat.

You can use the exact same formula as above, replacing 1/4 cup each of liquid and flour with 1/2 cup sourdough starter, in everything from porridge to cake to cookies to granola.

If you love those sourdough benefits and flavor then just let the dough or batter culture for at least 8 hours before cooking up with the rest of the ingredients.

Sourdough Quick Bread

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