Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sourdough granola bars

...or should I say "Granola Bars à la Susan"? Because it is on Susan's blog, Wild Yeast, that I got the awesome, fantastic, super clever idea of using leftover 100% hydration levain to make granola bars! It simply had never occurred to me before. Here is Susan's original post.
Like her and like most bakers I know, I just hate pouring starter down the drain (or in the compost bin). It smells yummy, it's all set to get to work rising amber waves of crusty bread, so why, oh! why must I throw it out?
But of course I understand that if I kept feeding it the amounts of flour and water it needs to continue to thrive, I would soon have enough levain to fill a swimming pool and then where would I be? So yes, I do throw some out more often than not but when I happen upon a great way to do otherwise, I just jump on it, and yesterday morning when I read Susan's post (it dates back to the end of May but I was traveling then and it had escaped my attention), I quickly took stock of what I had on hand and went to work.
Since I didn't have all of the ingredients that Susan used, I substituted a few things: almond butter instead of peanut butter, maple syrup instead of honey, dried blueberries instead of golden raisins, dried apricot instead of dried cranberries and almonds instead of walnuts. I put in ginger as suggested in one of the comments to her post but, mindful of the calories, I used a bit less less pumpkin seeds and I halved the amount of sweetener. However, keeping in mind that my family has more of a sweet tooth than I do, I put some brown sugar on top to even things out a bit. Also, since Susan found her bars a bit too thin, I used more levain than she did and I baked mine in a biscotti pan.
285 g 100% hydration levain (sourdough starter)
100 g smooth unsalted almond butter
100 g rolled oats
75 g dried blueberries
75 g dried apricots, chopped
50 g maple syrup
50 g pumpkin seeds
50 g almonds, coarsely chopped
50 g pecans, coarsely chopped
15 g candied ginger, finely chopped (this could easily be doubled as the taste of ginger was rather faint)
6 g salt
brown sugar to taste (as a topping)
I followed Susan's instructions except that I toasted the pumpkin seeds, pecans and almonds at 350° F in the oven prior to chopping them and that I baked the mixture for 30 minutes instead of 20 since it was thicker.


  1. Wow, fantastic! Cutting down on sweetener and adding a brown sugar topping is such a great idea. They look so yummy!

  2. Super yum! Well you two inspire me, these look great! I may have to try some too....

  3. MM, I love sour dough bread. I've never experimented with the flavor for other usages. I bet these are great!

  4. Hi, Grace! It is actually a lot of fun to look for and find new uses for starter.

  5. I'm going to have to try this as I am always looking for ways to use left over sourdough. I have never heard of a biscotti pan. I've alwasy just used a cookie sheet to make my traditional biscotti. What is the brand of your biscotti pan and how do you use it? Thank you for this post!

  6. Hello Maribel, I bought my biscotti pan years ago (amazon still carries it: but I have to say I do not use it for biscotti. I find a cookie sheet is just as easy. It is just the right size however for these sourdough bars... :-)



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