I've been making sourdough bread once a week now for the last couple of months, and I've been lamenting all the sourdough discard I've had to throw away (plus, it stinks up my trash can!). My friend Alison who originally gave me the sourdough starter also mentioned that I could find some recipes online that used sourdough discard. That gave me the idea to try to use it for pizza dough.
Since I've been using the Tartine Bread country loaf recipe, the starter I use is 100% hydration with a 50/50 mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I basically just applied that math to the pizza dough I've been making the last few years and found that it works pretty well and even adds a little more flavor.
After making the same recipe for so many years, it's naturally migrated towards what works for me in my kitchen. To account for the addition of the sourdough discard, I reduced the amount of yeast I add to just a pinch. If you have enough time and want even more flavor, you could probably omit the additional yeast altogether. I add it for insurance, just in case the discard isn't active enough.
Sourdough Discard Pizza Dough makes two 8 oz. balls of pizza dough (enough for two 10" pizzas)
50 grams sourdough discard (100% hydration)
150 grams warm water (about 90-95°F)
225 grams all-purpose flour
5 grams kosher salt
A pinch of yeast
Mix the sourdough discard and warm water together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix until there are no dried bits left. Cover and let sit 20-30 minutes.
Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the dough. Wet one of your hands thoroughly with warm water and use it to knead the salt into the dough until you can't feel it anymore. Refer to my original pizza dough post for the fold and pinch method. You should rewet your hands a few times during this process to keep the dough from sticking to you and to help the salt dissolve. Cover and let rest.
After 30-60 minutes, apply a fold to help develop the gluten. During the last fold I dribble some olive oil into the bottom of the bowl and then flip the dough over so the seam is on the bottom and the top (which used to be on the bottom) is coated with oil. Cover and let rest until the dough has doubled in volume, around 6 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen and how active the sourdough discard is.
Prepare 2 sandwich bags by folding the tops over and adding a little olive oil to each. Flour your work surface and transfer the dough onto it. Flour a knife or scraper and divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a ball. Transfer to the bags, seal, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough until ready to use; just thaw it in the fridge overnight the day before you want pizza.
It's certainly taken its own sweet time, but I think spring is *finally* here, just in time for the #strawberriesarethejam collaboration! I mean, it might've snowed last week, and it's snowed on Mother's Day before, so I'm not ruling winter completely gone either, but I'm just happy to be finally seeing the trees outside starting to bloom!
This tart was inspired by the sakura matcha Kit Kats I saw in the Narita airport on my way home from Taiwan this month. While I don't have access to sakura (cherry blossoms) as an ingredient, I thought these sliced strawberries would add a nice, springtime sweetness.
As a bonus, they can also be arranged into pretty flowers that remind me of sakura blossoms. For this tart I used Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough with nuts, but her regular sweet tart dough would work as well.
Strawberry Matcha Cream Cheese Tart
makes 1 tart
Your favorite sweet tart crust, fully baked and cooled
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ceremonial grade matcha powder
Chopped nuts (optional)
Use the paddle attachment in a stand up mixer or a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar, and matcha powder until smooth and creamy. Spread into the tart shell and chill while you slice the strawberries.
Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cream cheese in the shape of a flower. Add a little sprinkle of chopped nuts in the center if you like.
I've been paddling in the annual Boston Dragon Boat Festival for over a decade now, and every year I consider trying to make zongzi, the traditional food eaten for the festival, but by the time the festival rolls around, I always find myself too busy with the races or traveling to attempt them. This year I decided to get a head start (the festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, so June 18 this year). If you don't know what zongzi are, they're packets of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves (or sometimes lotus or banana leaves). The fillings differ depending on where you are, and sometimes they're even sweet! The ones I grew up with were filled with marinated pork, shiitake mushrooms, fried shallots, peanuts, and sometimes chestnuts and/or dried baby shrimp. I've also had versions with salted duck egg yolks and Chinese sausage in them too.
Even beyond the fillings there are different ways to wrap zongzi. The ones my mom makes are shaped like tetrahedrons, whereas I've also seen them wrapped in a rectangular shape. Some of the recipes I've found online cook the zongzi in boiling water for up to 8 hours, but because the filling is cooked before being stuff in the sticky rice, you only need to cook these for an hour. My mom told me that in southern Taiwan they boil it for even shorter by wrapping cooked sticky rice and boiling just long enough to impart the bamboo leaf flavor.
I posted a picture of these zongzi on Instagram and mentioned that when I had asked my mom for the recipe, she told me it would be too hard to make. I don't think my mom has ever told me something would be too hard for me to do before, so it only made me want to make them even more. I was really surprised to read in the comments though that a lot of other people had the same reaction from their mothers when they had asked them for their recipe! I wonder if that's what their moms told them too, and they're just passing the advice along.
Since these are indeed very difficult to make, I wanted to share some of the tips I figured out while trying to figure it out myself:
Soak at least 1.5 times as many leaves as you think you'll need. A good portion of mine would tear while I was trying to wrap them at which point you have to start all over. Don't throw those leaves away, though! Fold them in half vertically, and use wrap the outside of any of your more precariously wrapped zongzi to add another layer of protection.
Be very careful handling the leaves. The edges are razor sharp and will give you a wicked paper cut!
My mom folds the bottom of the leaves up so that the root ends don't stick out, but a lot of other people just cut that end off.
My mom ties a bunch of strings to a doorknob so there's tension on the string when you try to tie it around the zongzi with one hand (the other hand is used to hold the zongzi tightly closed). Some of my friends mentioned that their moms would use a broomstick set across two chairs for the same purpose. I read somewhere that you can also hold one end of the string between your teeth, and actually that method worked the best for me, although I know my dentist friends would definitely frown on that because there's a chance of chipping your tooth from all the tension.
I found that the easiest way to tie the string around the zongzi was to place it close to the anchored end and use your free hand to wrap the other end of the string multiple times around the zongzi. You want to try to wrap it around the "equator" of the tetrahedron, so that there are two corners on either end. This will help keep the string in place, otherwise it may fall off when you're cooking it (I know from experience).
I made this video to show you how to wrap the zongzi, but after showing it my mom to confirm it's how she wraps hers, she said she does it differently!
Then she sent me a link to this video which she said is more like how she wraps it. I love listening to it because you hear a mixture of Taiwanese and Mandarin which is kind of like what I heard growing up. That said, if you wrap it my way, you'll get smaller zongzi and will probably be able to make at least 24 with the amount of ingredients below. If you wrap it the way my mom does, you'll make fewer but, larger ones.
Soak glutinous rice in room temperature water for 2 hours or overnight.
Soak bamboo leaves in room temperature water for an hour or overnight, weighing them down so they're completely submerged.
Soak shiitake mushrooms in room temperature water for an hour or overnight, also weighing them down so they're completely submerged. Soak the peanuts for an hour or overnight in a separate bowl.
Combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, the rice wine, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Slice the pork into bite-sized pieces and marinate in the soy mixture for an hour.
Cut the kitchen twine into 60" pieces (this is easy for me since that's my wingspan). Gather them all together and fold in half. Make a loop knot at that halfway point so that there are now twice as many pieces of 30" long twine connected at the top by a loop knot.
Wash the bamboo leaves thoroughly after they've softened. Drain the rice and then add the remaining soy sauce and sugar and mix. Cut the ends off the mushrooms and slice the caps into quarters. Drain the peanuts.
Heat a large wok or pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the sliced mushroom, pork, and fried shallots. Stir fry until the pork is almost completely cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. Add any liquids left in the pan to the rice and mix well.
Set up your work station: hook the twine over a sturdy latch-style doorknob or cabinet handle*. Have the bamboo leaves, seasoned sticky rice, peanuts, and meat mixture nearby with a large spoon.
Grab two of the leaves and with the smooth sides facing you, position them so that they overlap slightly on the bottom and angle towards each other at the top. Fold the bottom half inch up and over so that the tough root end doesn't stick out anymore (or cut off the bottom half inch)*. Now fold the sides of the bottom of the leaves together like a book. Fold the bottom inch or two up along one side and then open up the leaves so that it forms a short cone.
Continue to grip the bottom of the cone with one hand and use the other hand to place a large spoonful or two of the rice in the cone. Pack it down well, then add a spoonful of the cooked filling, making sure to get a bit of each of the ingredients. Cover the filling with another spoonful of the rice and pack it down again. Fold the top of the leaves over the rice so that now you have a 4-sided pyramid. Fold the remaining portion of the leaves that are still sticking out together and then continue to wrap around the pyramid. Holding the pyramid tightly with one hand, use the other hand to wrap the twine around the middle a couple of times and then tie it off tightly. Leave it hanging from the twine and wrap the rest of the zongzi.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and submerge the zong zi. Continue to cook for an hour, until the sticky rice is cooked through. Drain and let the zong zi cool before unwrapping to eat, discarding the leaf. Serve with sweet chili sauce and/or soy paste. These freeze very well, just microwave to reheat!
When I first found out that the ingredient for this season's collaboration was carrots, my heart sank. Because, you guys, I hate carrots. Always have, always will. I'll eat them if I have to, but I would never go out of my way to make a recipe spotlighting them. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided: challenge accepted!
At first I thought about doing some sort of carrot cake, because that's the only way I like carrots--when I can't taste them. But then I decided I could push the envelope a little farther and came up with this tart, which is basically a deconstructed carrot cake, cream cheese frosting and all!
I used Dorie Greenspan's spiced tart dough from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours, the cookbook the Food52 Baking Club is going through this month. It works well for this tart because it has the nuts, cinnamon, and cloves traditionally found in carrot cake. The filling is just a simple mix of cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar.
But the candied carrot roses is probably what you want to know about. I got that idea from Stella Park's Bravetart cookbook when the Food52 Baking Club went through that book a couple of months ago. She covers the technique on Serious Eats and her own blog, so I didn't bother taking pictures myself (plus, sticky hands + taking pictures = not good).
In order to make sure that I made enough roses to cover the top of the tart, I found a plate that was about the same size as the tart and kept making the roses until the plate was covered. It took me a little less than 6 large carrots to get there, including a bunch of ribbons that were too short. And I had to candy all the carrot strips in 3 batches since they wouldn't all fit into the syrup at once. If you want some extra shine/sweetness, you could brush some of the leftover poaching syrup onto the roses just before serving.
Candied Carrot Rose Tart makes 1 tart
Your favorite tart shell, fully baked and cooled
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
Juice from half a lemon
1 cup water
1/2 a cinnamon stick
6 long, thick carrots
Use the paddle attachment in a stand up mixer or hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Spread into the tart shell and chill while you make the carrot roses.
Combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.
Cut off the carrot tops and peel. Then, using the vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long, thick strips.
Once all the sugar has dissolved in the syrup, add a third of the carrot strips. Cook for about a minute, then turn off the heat and allow the strips to cool in the syrup.
Pick up one of the strips and squeegee the excess syrup off with your fingers. Hold the thinner end with one hand and start twirling the rest of the carrot strip around it to form a rose. Tuck the end underneath and set it down on a plate about the size of your tart pan. Repeat with remaining strips until you have enough to cover the plate, and thus, the top of your tart.
Carefully transfer the carrot roses to the tart and return to the fridge until ready to serve.
Check out the rest of the bloggers who participated in the #24carrotgoals collaboration below:
Next up in my updated posts is my mom's pork and cabbage dumplings! I made these slightly healthier by substituting some of the pork for tofu and reducing the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar a bit. See my original post from 9(!) years ago for a lot of tips and tricks to making and cooking the dumplings (as well as to see how my photography skills have improved over the years, haha).
Pork, Cabbage, and Tofu Dumplings makes about 80
1-1.5 lbs. ground pork
1 medium head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped
19 oz. firm tofu
2 bundles of bean thread vermicelli
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
80 dumpling skins (about 2 packs)
Press the tofu between a couple layers of paper towels for 15 minutes. Soak the bean thread vermicelli in lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
Use a food processor to finely chop the napa cabbage and scallions. Transfer to a large bowl. Chop the softened noodles and add to the cabbage. Crumble the tofu into the bowl and add the pork. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and mix well.
Fill the dumpling skins and seal the wrappers with a little water on the edges. Boil or steam-fry the dumplings and serve. If not eating immediately, place the plates of filled dumplings in the freezer until firm, then transfer to freezer bags.