I keep a sourdough starter. I made it with wild yeast using the instructions found at the kitchn. I like having it, bread takes on a whole new flavor when you make it with sourdough.
However, I haven’t really been using my starter very much lately. My favorite sourdough recipes fit well with our former Standard American Diet way of eating, but not so much with our new mostly plant-based, whole food way of eating.
I used to frequently bake things like sourdough cookies, cakes, scones, quick breads, and my absolute favorite – the richest, most chocolatey brownies I have ever eaten. The sourdough gives a depth of flavor you don’t get in ordinary brownies.
Unfortunately, the recipe I used for sourdough brownies relies heavily on sugar, butter, and eggs. Delicious, but not very healthy. I’ve been wanting to make over the recipe for weeks, hoping I could make it as delicious as the original.
Finally I gave it a try, by replacing the butter, sugar, and eggs with applesauce, honey, and chia seeds. The resulting brownies are very different from the original, especially in texture. Much more gooey and moist, though still with a dense chocolate flavor.
I consider this attempt to be a good starting point in making over the sourdough brownie recipe. Delicious as they are, I want to play around with the ingredients a bit more to get a texture that is closer to the original.
These brownies can be made vegan by using vegan chocolate, and choosing maple syrup instead of honey for the sweetener.
Healthier Sourdough Brownies
Makes 24 brownies
300g dark chocolate (vegan if desired)
3 tbsp chia or flax seeds
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
150g honey or maple syrup
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
40g cocoa powder
220g sourdough starter (preferably not recently fed*)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, leaving extra paper along the 13-inch sides to make it easier to lift the brownies out. Lightly grease parchment paper.
Melt chocolate gently in the microwave or on the stove. While it is melting, combine chia seeds and water, and set aside.
Combine melted chocolate and applesauce in large bowl and mix well. Add sweetener, salt, and vanilla, and mix well. Stir in chia/water mixture, mixing thoroughly.
Sift cocoa powder over batter and mix thoroughly. Finally, add sourdough starter and sift gently until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into brownies comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then carefully lift out of pan using parchment paper. Remove paper and place on rack until cooled completely.
*A note on sourdough starter. Some recipes require starter that has been fed recently, and is active, bubbly, and “happy.” Some recipes do better with “discard,” which hasn’t been recently fed, and is flat, sour, and “grumpy.” Some recipes do fine with both. Bread requires happy starter. These brownies prefer grumpy starter. They can be made with active, bubbly starter, but they get really crumbly and hard to cut. They hold together better and have a richer flavor with flat, sour starter.