This cake uses sourdough discard in the batter for a uniquely delicious taste that has a lovely flavour that comes from a mild tang of the discard. It is a sustainable, healthy and a delectable treat

The woods are still, the hills standing in deep stillness, the birds silent. It is a winter evening. It is freezing cold outside. 

A group of White-throated laughing thrush are huddled together on the wild cherry tree, letting out soft squeals at intervals. There is a calm, a numbness pervading all around. 

The stillness of the eternal night is shattered by the sonorous notes of small tits that crowd the cherry tree for the nectar of the flowers. 

The cherry tree blossoming profusely adds some colour and breaks the monotony of the brown winter foliage all around.

Our pond is frozen and so is the smaller pond where the birds drink water. Our younger one is intrigued to see the frozen pond. The stones below gleam in the icy frame. He breaks the ice at different points. Soon the Blue Jays arrive and drink water at the fragmented joints.

The Sun is pale and dull but with a little warmth. The batter for a Sourdough discard Cake is resting outside. It ferments and is ready to go ahead with other ingredients. Soon it is in the oven and a chocolaty aroma pervades all around. It is a Birthday Cake. A healthy and Vegan Birthday Cake at the insistence of the birthday girl who turns fifteen.

Sourdough discard cake is one of the tastiest cake ever. It has a beautiful flavour that comes from sourdough. A mild tang of the sourdough takes it to another level. 

We baked two cakes. Since it is a birthday cake, we baked two cakes,   dressed it up with ganache and wrapped it in a delicate chocolate collar.

Vegan Sourdough Discard Chocolate Cake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour / whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup sourdough discard
  • ½ cup warm water or warm milk (non-vegan version) (2 tbsps more if using whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar/white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line and grease one 7 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a large deep bowl, mix the discard and water/milk.
  3. In another bowl, sift flour, cocoa and sugar. Add this dry mix to the bowl that has discard and water/milk. Mix to get a homogenous mixture.
  4. Cover and keep for 2-3 hours in a warm place. The batter will get fermented. It will expand a bit.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  6. Add salt, baking soda, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract and mix well to get a smooth batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the pan after 5 minutes. Cool on the rack. Slice when cold.

Note: This is the recipe for one cake. The cake is a little crumbly, especially if using whole wheat flour,  If baking with whole wheat flour, use the fine variety.




 Herb and Cheese Star Bread is a showstopper on the dining table.  With an overload of cheese, the bread has a soft buttery cheesy centre full of flavours of the herb mix. Star bread makes a great accompaniment to hot soup. 

Forests are a complete world in itself. One can learn all the important lessons of life here. Pause! says the season of fall. The fruit trees are bare. The brown branches were once full of leaves all verdant and vibrant. Now silent in winters, conserving the energy and waiting for spring to arrive. Then there will be blossoms of all hues and colours and of many vibrant shades.

Similarly in life, one needs to pause, introspect and go slow. There are always good times ahead after a gray period. And this is always cyclic. One has to see the beauty and goodness in every season and behind every reason. The bare orchards look calm and serene. The wind gushes through them whispering through the branches.

A clear morning offers a breathtaking view of the snow-clad mountains and one can never have enough of it. A Grey Winged Blackbird sings on the bare branches of the pear tree.

 As the sun sinks in the horizon and the temperature plunges down. The stones gleam as they wear a layer of frost. The grass looks like needles of glass.

Everyone is excited about the dinner. A Herb and Cheese Star Bread with an overload of cheese would be so comforting with tomato soup. 

 This bread gives such festive vibes. The cheesy petals were pulled and dipped in soup. It was a sumptuous meal.

Shaping the bread is like an adventure.  

This can also be made into a sweet bread. Use cinnamon, sugar and butter for a sweet filling.


Herb and Cheese Star Bread



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour / whole wheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons warm milk

For the Filling

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt (at room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons herb seasoning
  • 3 cubes cheddar cheese
* if you are using whole wheat flour, you will need more milk. Make sure the dough is really soft and pliable. It will help in shaping the bread well.


  1. Take all the ingredients for the dough in a large bowl and knead into a soft dough. Add more milk if the dough feels tight or hard.
  2. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil.
  3. Cover and keep it in a warm place to rise for one hour or until double in size.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the mixture for filling. Mix everything except cheese to get a well-mixed paste.
  5. When the dough is ready, divide it into four equal pieces.
  6. Roll out each piece of dough into a 10 inch round.
  7. Place the first round of dough onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Spread 1/3 of the butter mixture over the round. Leaving 1-inch space around the edge. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the filling.
  8. Place the second circle of dough on top of the filling. Repeat with butter mixture followed by cheese, top with next round of dough, repeat with filling, then top with the final round of dough.
  9. Make sure the edges are levelled. Else, trim the edges. Place a 2inch wide glass or a bowl in the center of the top round of the dough.
  10. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut through the dough from the outer edge to the edge of the glass or bowl kept in the center. Cut sixteen equal slices ( refer to the pictures).
  11. Take two slices of dough and twist them away from each other twice. Repeat around the entire circle. Take each pair of twisted slices and press the ends together to seal the ends.
  12. Cover loosely with a cling film or a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 20-25 minutes.
  13. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  14. Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg (optional) and bake for 15 minutes or until brown.
  15. Remove from the oven. Serve warm.

 Linking to #BreadBakers

Bread Bakers logo

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

This month, the Bread Bakers group's theme is Tear & Share (AKA Pull-Apart Bread), and it is perfect for a holiday get-together. There is a lovely collection of sweet and savoury recipes to try.

Our host this month is Felice from All That's Left Are the Crumbs

The days are getting shorter and colder. It is a blessing when the Sun comes up and embraces the frostbitten world with its warmth. Everything becomes alive and active.

 A group of Black-headed Jays flock the birdbath every day several times. Some drink water and some plunge into the cold water and bathe. More birds join the group and all vie to get into the water. A little later our dog scampers down from the field above and scares them away. An activity it loves so much. And the birds seem undeterred. 

As the dog retreats, the noisy Jays return to the birdbath. This game carries on the whole day and is so much fun to watch.

Cold winter days ask for simple and comforting meals. Sourdough infused dough for Naan is rising in the gentle warmth of the Sun while Matar Panner (Peas and cottage cheese curry) is being prepared in the kitchen. A generous amount of green coriander adds so much taste and flavour to the curry. 

 The Naans made with sourdough discard are digestible and nutritious than the regular yeasted Naans.

Generously apply ghee and sprinkle nigella seeds and chopped fresh green coriander before serving.

You may also sprinkle nigella seeds while rolling out the dough so that the seeds get pressed into the dough.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Naan


  • 1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter discard
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ - ¾ cup warm milk
  • 3 tablespoons thick yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
  • Clarified butter (ghee) or butter to brush on naans
  • Chopped green coriander


  1. In a large bowl mix together the discard, ½  cup milk and yoghurt. Add sugar. Mix until smooth.
  2. In another deep bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and combine to form a  shaggy and sticky dough. Add more milk if the dough feels hard and dry.
  3. Cover and keep the dough in a warm place to rise for 2-3 hours. It will take less time in a warm environment and it will take longer in cold environment. The dough should increase in volume and be a little puffy.
  4. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Knead for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
  5. Preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Divide dough into 8-12 pieces.
  6. Roll out each piece into an oblong naan.
  7.  Place on the griddle. Cook for a minute. When the bubbles appear on the surface, flip it over, apply some ghee and place on the griddle ghee side down. Apply ghee on the other side that is on top. Slightly press with a flat ladle and cook till both the sides get lovely brown spots.
  8. Brush some more ghee, sprinkle nigella seeds and chopped coriander and serve hot.

Fatayer are Middle-Eastern savoury pies that can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings. Fatayer is usually triangular or boat-shaped. These pies are the perfect appetizer, mezze and finger food.

There is a thin film of fog lurking in the air. The air is cold and vaporous.  A group of white-throated Laughing Thrush is all over the walnut tree. Some hopping from branch to branch while some preening each other.  The Himalayas melt into clouds and disappear as evening approaches.

On a pear tree, a Verditor Flycatcher swoops down and returns to its perch with an insect. 

The temperature drops further and the stones get wet and slippery due to dew that makes everything around watery, cold and clammy. Our dog is curled up upon a mound of dry leaves that gives it some relief from the cold ground below.

We are all bunched up in our dining room. The fire crackles in the room and makes it warm and cosy. Our dinner is tomato soup and double cheese fatayers. Fatayers were baked in the day. Such light and sumptuous dinner is loved by all.

Fatayer are Middle-Eastern savoury pies that can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings. Savoury fillings like spinach, meat or cheese are the most popular. Fatayer is usually triangular or boat-shaped. These pies are the perfect appetizer, mezze and finger food.

We made Fatayers with all that could be found in the pantry. A block of cottage cheese, two onions, a bowl of fresh seasonal peas and four tablespoons of cheese spread.

We added some pepper and homemade herb seasoning.  Feel free to use prepare a
stuffing of choice.

 Double Cheese Fatayers



  • 200 grams cottage cheese
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bowl fresh peas
  • 4 tablespoons cheese spread or grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour/ whole wheat flour / or, 50% all-purpose flour 50% whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk

Other ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 egg for egg wash (optional)


For the Stuffing

  1. Heat oil in a thick bottom wok. Add onions. Fry until translucent.
  2. Add peas and salt. Cover and cook till peas are tender and cooked.
  3. Add grated cottage cheese to the wok. Add salt to taste. Add pepper.
  4. Add cheese spread/grated cheddar cheese.

For the Dough

  1. In a large bowl,  stir milk and sugar. Add yeast. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. It will turn frothy.
  2. Take flour in a large bowl. Take flour, salt, oil and add yeast milk mix.
  3. Knead for 8-10 minutes. From a shaggy mass, it will become a smooth and stretchy dough.
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes or until almost double.
  5. Now form 2 inch round balls from the dough. You should get at least two dozen balls. Cover and keep to rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
  7. Roll out the dough to a 5-inch circle. Place about two tablespoons of the stuffing in the centre. Bring two sides together and pinch to close. Bring the third side up so that it looks like a triangle and pinch to close well. Arrange on the baking tray. 
  8. To make egg wash, beat an egg in a bowl.
  9. Brush the top with egg wash or milk wash. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden all over.
  11. Serve warm 

Linking to #BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Bread Bakers logo

 This month, our theme is Stuffed Baked Breads and our host is Renu of Cook with Renu.


Sourdough discard crackers are very crisp and flavourful. The crackers make a helathy snacking option. The recipe is very versatile. One can add seeds or herbs of choice.

Baking  a sourdough bread is such an involving activity and such a pleasure.  In the hills, we have a very limited period for baking bread as it is getting colder and days are really short. Last week, we baked a 100%Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich  Bread that turned out really well.

This was followed by another baking adventure and a 50% whole wheat loaf was baked.

Every time while feeding the starter, discard keeps collecting and a lot of starter in the box called for using it. And one of our most  favourite sourdough discard recipes is Crackers.

 And, by the way, did you know that you could bake a Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread with discard? You can get a stunning light as air sandwich loaf. 

Sourdough crackers come out very crisp and delicious. This is such a versatile recipe. One can experiment with different flavours. We used homemade herb mix. One may add seeds of choice, use different herbs, add grated cheese and also add some chilli flakes or pepper. The crackers are a big hit and such a healthy snack with tea or to take along on a  journey or to satiate the in-between hunger pangs.

If you are using Italian spice mix, for pizza seasoning, then adjust the salt in the dough as  these herb mixes have salt.

Sourdough Discard Whole Wheat Crackers


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sourdough starter/discard
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs of choice/sesame seeds/ any seed or dried herb of choice
  • Some oil for brushing
  • Some salt for sprinkling on top (optional)


  1. Mix together flour, salt, discard, butter and herbs. Knead to get a very smooth dough.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for an hour,  or until the dough is firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  4. Take a piece of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to even thickness. The dough should not be very thin as the crackers will turn brown too soon and burn.
  5. Brush the surface with oil. Sprinkle some salt all over (optional)
  6. Cut the dough into 1 ¼ inch squares with a pizza cutter.
  7. Prick the crackers with a fork or a toothpick.
  8. Transfer the sheet to a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Midway through, rotate the sheet once for even browning.
  9. When all the crackers turn a light brown, remove the baking tray from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Whole Wheat Sourdough  Sandwich Bread has a tender crumb. It is a mildly sweet bread that toasts well and makes great sandwiches.

Autumn mornings in the hills are misty. There is a thin film of mist covering the Himalayas early in the morning.

 In the distance, there are coils of white smoke rising from a hut. The fire must be burning bright and the tea must be boiling we presume. 

The smoke from the chimney rises and merges with the fog above.

As the day progresses, it becomes brighter and warmer. Bunches of flowers bloom. 

There is an audible hum of the bees that visit the flowers. 

Wild Marigolds,  Dahlias and Chrysanthemums add a touch of gold to the garden.

Warm weather in the hills is a luxury and calls for baking bread.

Baking a Sourdough Sandwich bread had been on my mind since long. We have locally milled flour which is coarse. And after a lot of experiments, I have discovered that overnight cold autolyse works best with coarse flour.

Every baker has his/her own rituals of sourdough baking. It takes experience, expertise and sometimes failure to learn some aspects of baking. Every session leaves you wiser. There is no one formula that works for all. You have to experiment and discover the formula that works best with your schedule, ecosystem and taste.

Make sure that you have fed your starter twice at least two days before baking. 

The levain should double up in 6-8 hours and should be bubbly and stringy with small bubbles breaking on the surface.

Our family prefers a soft crust and a sweeter crumb. And this is our favourite Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread. There is no sourness in the bread. The crumb is soft and sweet.


Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread (with extended cold autolyse)



15 g active starter

35 g whole wheat flour

50 g water


525 g whole wheat flour

460 g water

9 g salt

20 g unrefined sugar/brown sugar/jaggery

35 g oil



  1. Start  the autolyse at night. Mix whole wheat flour and 430 g water. Mix and keep in the refrigerator. Remove two to three hours before mixing so that the autolysed dough is at the room temperature.
  2. Alternately, you may autolyse dough for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
  3. Mix all the ingredients for levain. Mark and keep in a warm spot. It will double in 6-8 hours (keep an eye on the levain as the whole wheat peaks faster).
  4. To prepare the dough, take a deep bowl. Add Levain, oil, sugar and 20 g water. Mix well. To this, add autolysed dough and mix everything well, kneading for 6-7 minutes or until you get a very smooth and tacky dough. At this point, if your dough can take in more water, add remaining 10 g water. If you cannot handle more hydration, avoid.
  5. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle salt on the surface of the dough and pinch with fingers to incorporate salt evenly. Stretch and fold a couple of times till you feel the salt has mixed well. Cover and keep in a warm spot.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough 5 times every hour.
  8. The dough should have become cohesive, smooth, puffy and increased in volume by the end of the last stretch and fold.
  9. With the help of a bench scraper, transfer the dough onto the floured counter.
  10. Spread out the dough and then roll it tightly. Shape into a loaf and transfer to an oiled loaf pan ( 9x5 inches)
  11. Cover your pan with plastic and then retard in the refrigerator and keep in the refrigerator for 12 to 14 hours. Even at the cool temperature, the dough can overproof. So keep an eye on it.
  12. Next morning, remove the risen loaf from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Slash the loaf from the top ( a simple straight slash will do).
  13. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden from the top.
  14. Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool on the wire rack for a few hours.
  15. Slice the bread after a few hours or the next day and the interior may not be wholly set. Give it some time to relax.

  Note: Every flour acts differently and absorbs water accordingly. Start with a lower percentage of water when mixing levain with autolysed dough. And add water till the dough is wet looking, extensible but not soupy. The dough should hold shape.

Linking to #Breadbakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

 Garlicky, buttery garlic rolls make a great addition to the dinner table. Enjoy them plain or dunk them into soup or have them with hot tea, either way, the rolls are delicious.

Saturday morning was bright, warm and pleasant. A walk to the forest was the best way to enjoy a beautiful Autumn morning. We embarked on the narrow trail that took us downhill through Oak and Rhododendron trees really thick and dark. Our dog kept sniffing and scratching the ground and inspected the wet earth dug by the wild boars.

We passed by a transparent mountain stream born out of the monsoon, and it made the most calming music as it babbled on the round pebbles and danced down the hill.

The air was crisp, fresh and invigorating suffused with the scent of the moss and wildflowers.

Massive Turkey Tails on the trees had lovely hues.

Lichens on the tree trunks and stones grew in peculiar patterns.

We returned with sore feet, sweaty body but a happy heart.

Back home hot tea with Garlicky and buttery garlic knots was such a treat.

We baked garlic knots with lots of fresh minced garlic and with lots of homemade seasoning.

Garlic knots pair well with the soup. We love them as snacks.

Whichever way you eat, you’ll love them.

The dough has to be rolled into a 16-inch rope. Cut dough into 16 one inch pieces. 

Roll out each section into a rope and tie a knot. Tuck in the loose ends.

If you wish to see the video on shaping these, kindly visit my Instagram page @ambrosiasoulfulcooking

Garlic Knots 


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 1 /3 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Topping (Garlic Butter)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon herb seasoning
  • 1 pinch salt (1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter)


  1. Whisk warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and allow to rest for 5-6 minutes. The yeast will turn frothy. Start with 1 cup water and add the remaining water while kneading as needed.
  2. Add flour, salt, butter, garlic and knead for 6-8 minutes or until you get a very smooth and soft dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until double.
  4. Punch the risen dough.
  5. Lightly dust the counter with flour.
  6. Transfer the punched dough to the counter, shape the dough into one 16 inch log. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper slice into 16 pieces (one inch each). Roll out each piece into one 7 inch rope. Tie each into a knot. Tuck the two ends of the knot underneath the knot.
  7. Arrange the knots on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  8. Cover and leave in a warm corner to rise for 30-45 minutes or until double.
  9. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  10. Mix all the ingredients for topping. Brush on the knots.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and brush warm knots with the remaining garlic butter. Sprinkle some more seasoning.
  12. Serve warm.





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