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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A fermented ragi kulcha recipe to make good use of sourdough discard

Use discard for your breads, cakes, dosas, idlis, rotis, dhokla, handvo, and everything else that compels you to add commercial yeast, baking powder, baking soda, or fruit salt and eno.

Written by Shalini Rajani | New Delhi |
January 16, 2022 5:25:16 pm
shalini rajaniSourdough fermented bhatura with lacto-fermented pickles, some authentic Kashmiri radish walnut chutney and pindi chole. (Photo: Shalini Rajani)

If you love to bake sourdough breads and have been struggling to manage the discard, here are simple hacks to keep it fresh. Sourdough bread baking involves maintaining a healthy sourdough starter and regular feeding with regular discarding.

I believe ‘discard’ is not the right term. We are feeding the starter (active microbes) with fresh flour to help them grow, and to make space for that, we need to take out some portion of that active starter (the colony of same microbes), and save them inside the fridge without having to feed further regularly.

What we take out is termed as ‘discard’. Whereas, if you start adding that discarded culture to your everyday roti, paratha, kulcha, bhatura (type of Indian flat bread), without actually collecting, you will be cooking up much healthier meals every day. You will feel much lighter and better. And if you are gluten sensitive — like 97 per cent of the world — you can easily overcome some common issues like severe acidity, bloating, and skin disorders easily.

What I am trying to explain here is, going gluten-free is excellent, but if you are someone who can’t live without their wheat rotis, parathas and naans, sourdough discard is a reward that you shouldn’t be ignoring (or discarding).

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A gluten-free or minimal gluten life is what we all should be aiming for. For beginners, sourdough discard (reward, in my case) is the only way to simplify gluten and make it more digestible.

Now, when you do not keep that discard active, it may develop hooch (the water deposition on the top) that smells sour and sometimes alcoholic. Discard that hooch and feed your discard. Even if it is lying in the fridge, feeding once in 15 days should keep it healthy for use.

On a regular basis, use a well-fed discard for your breads, cakes, dosas, idlis, rotis, dhokla, handvo, and everything that compels you to add commercial yeast, baking powder, baking soda, or  the most commonly used in Indian household, fruit salt or eno. Remember, there are ways to make your food healthier: slow cooking, slow fermentation techniques and ancient grains.

For today, I have a simple finger millet (ragi) bhatura recipe. I hope it gives you great insights on how easily you can use up everyday sourdough discard without having to discard it at all.

RAGI BHATURAS WITH SOURDOUGH DISCARD

Ingredients: (for 8-10 bhatura/kulchas)

· ½ cup sourdough discard

· 1 cup whole wheat flour

· 1 cup freshly milled ragi flour

· Luke warm water to knead

· For kulcha toppings: kasuri methi, garlic, butter, black sesame, red chilli powder, etc

· Cold pressed oil to deep fry bhatura

Method

1. In a deep bowl, mix everything with optimum water to make dough. Leave the dough for 2-3 hours (in winters, it may need 5-6 or overnight to ferment).

2. Once fermented, roll out thick bhaturas or kulchas (roll till 1-2 cm thickness).

3. If making kulchas, apply little water and garnish with the toppings. Cook it on a well-greased cast iron griddle. Initially, you will have to cover it to help the kulcha to rise well.

4. If making bhatura, deep fry a rolled out bhatura in preheated cold pressed oil at a medium flame. Once they puff up, drain excess oil and enjoy your winter meals.

5. I clubbed my sourdough fermented bhatura with lacto-fermented pickles, some authentic Kashmiri radish walnut chutney and pindi chole.

6. Enjoy them hot and try using up the fermented dough the same day.

7. Never forget to feed your discard once a week or once in 15 days.

(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops and Sourdough Baking Workshops for all age groups.)

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