Too much sourdough starter? Try Inn at Virginia Tech's recipe for crumpets
April 13, 2020
With more people forced inside and looking for things to soothe their anxious minds, breadmaking is on the rise. Even a quick glance at social media finds thousands of bakers rolling in dough — particularly sourdough.
That’s no surprise to Scott Watson, executive chef at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, part of Outreach and International Affairs. “Baking is a very comforting thing to do in times like these,” he says. “Even though baking — and baking sourdough, in particular — can be almost ‘scientific,’ it’s also very therapeutic.”
Originally from Richmond, Watson started at the Inn in 2018. He says he learned to bake by watching his mom. He developed a recipe for sourdough crumpets as a way to use up excess sourdough starter.
“As a chef, I hate wasting food,” he says. “My starter is 2 months old, and the discard has a wonderful sour taste and aroma. Why throw it away? So I had to develop a way to use it.”
He says the discard is what many bakers throw away while “feeding” their starter. “If you never discard or repurpose some of it, you will have a 5-gallon bucket of starter within two months,” Watson says.
A crumpet is a griddle cake similar to an English muffin. Watson recommends serving them warm with a local Virginia apple butter.
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Servings: 4-5 crumpets
1 cup sourdough starter discard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Place the sourdough starter discard in a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar and salt.
Add baking soda. The batter should rise and bubble.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly grease the skillet with oil and a small piece of butter for flavor.
Spray a round, metal cookie cutter with nonstick spray or oil and place in the center of the skillet. Scoop the batter into the center of the cookie cutter.
Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the top of the batter is set and full of small holes. Flip the crumpet and remove the cookie cutter ring. This should come right off; if it doesn’t, gently cut around it with a butter knife.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and jam or cut in half and toast.