I’ll try to keep this simple because there’s a pandemic going on and everyone just wants their cookies, so scroll down if you want the recipe.
These cookies were born of a desire to use up the sourdough starter I find myself discarding everytime I make bread—that healthy, well-fed stuff produced after reactivation. If you haven’t started making sourdough yet, or want to learn how, start (haha) with The Kitchn’s sourdough tutorial that takes you through making a starter to baking your first loaf. I was lucky enough to get some starter from my friend Rob a few years back, and have seen a massive improvement in my bread since adopting The Kitchn’s technique.
A few months back I started making Ovenly’s Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, found via Food52, and since it uses both water and flour, it seemed logical it might be possible to adapt it to using a sourdough starter (which is just flour and water … and yeast, I guess, it’s not an exact science).
I reverse engineered the recipe by calculating how much water the recipe contained, then substituting the amount of water in the recipe with enough starter to supply that water, and subtracting the flour content of the sourdough starter from the overall flour content of the recipe. To make things simple, I started feeding my starter exactly 50% water and 50% flour at all times.
In other words: The original recipe called for 75 grams of water and 250 grams of flour. So, using sourdough starter that contains half flour and half water, I needed to add 150 grams of starter to supply that 75 grams of water, which added 75 grams of flour, so I subtracted 75 from the 250 grams of flour for 175 grams total.
This is just in case you wanted to know the science for reverse engineering any of your own recipes. Sourdough behaves differently than just a mixture of flour and water because certain starches and proteins and transformed with fermentation, but it’s a good starting point.
Anyway, if you’re curious about the flavour and texture: They aren’t sour, just more well developed than the regular recipe; and the texture is crunchy and crisp around the edges and bottom, but absolutely chewy in the middle if they’re not overbaked.
Also, I used artificial vanilla because there was no regular left on the pandemic panic-cleared shelves, and you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference. (The person on the news literally just started talking about the flour shortage as I wrote that last sentence … weird timing!)
Well, here are the cookies.
Vegan Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Ovenly’s Secretly Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 16-20 (depending on size)
175 g all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t fine salt
1-1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
150 g active, 100% hydration sourdough starter
130 g sunflower seed oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
100 g white sugar
110 g brown sugar
2 t vanilla
maldon or coarse salt (optional)
Sift the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large bowl, beating enthusiastically until the mixture is fully emulsified.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones, stirring with a proper wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
Cover the dough (hello beeswax wraps!) and put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably up to 24, or up to 96 (4 days). You can use some of it one day, and save the rest for later in the week.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 340 F and place a rack in the top third of the oven.
Scoop out 1-3 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll them into balls, and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with maldon salt if desired. You shouldn’t need to press them down, but if they don’t flatten enough for you, press them a little next time.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through. They should be puddled and golden around the edges but still seem a little soft. The total baking time will depend on their size and your oven. Like with any cookies, it could take a few tries to get them juuuust right.
Let them cool for a couple minutes on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy warm with a glass of cold non-dairy milk.