School day mornings are often hectic and many children head out the door with nothing more than a pop-tart and a juice box to fuel their bodies and brains. Whole grain sourdough waffles, on the other hand, can be a convenient toast-and-go breakfast or enjoyed at a leisurely pace when you have time for a family breakfast.
For a long time I was intimidated by sourdough. I had heard it was difficult to maintain, time consuming to use and a lot of work all around, but from a healthy eating standpoint it was tops. Sourdough is a very ancient method of breadmaking. It requires minimal ingredients. It does a wonderful job of neutralizing the phytates in grains so that the end products are very digestible and very nutritious. The bottom line for me, though, was that my daughter loved the taste of sourdough and kept asking me if I could learn how to make it.
My guide and resource on my sourdough journey was the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook edited by P.J. Hamel. It was the summer of 2009 when I decided to take the plunge. I read through the book’s sourdough section several times, gathered together the ingredients and equipment and gave it a try. Making the starter wasn’t hard at all, it took about a week to really get going and nearly all of that was just wait time, very little hands on effort was needed. By the end of the second week I had tried my first loaf of bread – a sourdough rye – and everyone in our house thought it was terrific. The whole loaf was eaten up within the first day! After that I slowly worked my way through most of the sourdough recipes in thw book and then started looking around for more. My goal was to gain experience using sourdough; I tried not to let perfectionism into the picture. With many of my bread baking experiments in the past I would get discouraged if the finished product was ugly to look at, and I would get downright irritated if it wasn’t absolutely delicious. Sourdough was a journey rather than a means to an end. The journey has been going on now for four years! Many of my attempts have been delicious, some have been bakery beautiful, some have been total disasters. All have been learning experiences.
Making a sourdough starter is a great learning experience and when you’re done with your lesson you can make delicious bread! Being a homeschool mom I’m always on the lookout for ways to incorporate learning into daily activities. I love fellow food blogger and homeschool mom Wardeh Harmon’s video “What, How & Why of a Sourdough Starter”.
So what does all of this have to do with waffles? While on my journey I discovered, like many sourdough bakers, I felt a little guilty just dumping out the leftover starter every time I fed it. What if you don’t have time to bake bread? You make waffles!! This waffle recipe came from an old King Arthur catalog that came in the mail years ago. I cut out the recipe and gave it a try one weekend when I had some time to experiment. The whole family loved them! I made a few adjustments to the basic recipe to reflect my desire to use all whole grains, and now these waffles have become a family favorite. Following the Weston A Price Foundation‘s suggestions we use plenty of butter on these waffles plus 100% maple syrup or raw honey drizzled on top. I like mine with crispy walnuts or pecans, and my daughter loves blueberries!
Make a double batch of these waffles and enjoy them fresh on a lazy summer vacation morning, then freeze the rest between sheets of wax paper to use on busier mornings to come. Pop one in the toaster and then spread with natural peanut butter and bananas and fold for a to-go breakfast.
Here is my version of the recipe for sourdough waffles:
(by the way, if you don’t have a waffle iron this recipe also makes great pancakes)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tblsp sucanat or honey
2 cups kefir (you could also use buttermilk or thinned yogurt too)
1 cup sourdough starter (not yet fed, just as it comes from the refrigerator or discarded from a feeding)
2 large eggs, preferably free range
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
At least 12 hours before or overnight: Combine the flour, sugar, kefir and sourdough starter in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel or loose lid and let it sit at room temperature.
12 hours later or the next day: Combine the eggs, butter, salt and soda and stir into the big bowl of batter. Stir well to blend it all together. Pour a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into your preheated, greased waffle iron. Cook as directed by your waffle iron instructions. Serve hot with plenty of butter and maple syrup, raw honey, fresh berries or homemade applesauce.
If you have waffles leftover you can let them cool on a wire rack then freeze them separated by squares of wax paper in a freezer bag. Reheat one in the low setting of your toaster for a quick weekday breakfast.