When I started a sourdough culture last year, I had flashbacks to earlier times, when the Herman Starter and the Amish Friendship bread were making the rounds. Seems like everyone I knew wound up with a cup of starter and some bread at one point in time. These sourdough cultures usually came with complicated, day by day instructions that involved a lot of feeding, and then either giving away or throwing away the excess starter. Either that or you did a lot of baking!
But I have discovered that keeping and using a sourdough culture doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Once I get a good, strong culture going, I put it in the refrigerator. To keep it going, I feed it once a week, more or less. It can actually go at least two weeks without feeding if I’m not baking or I forget to feed it. If I know I am going to use the starter, I get it out a day ahead and feed it with equal parts of flour and water, making sure I have plenty for the recipe I’m making plus some to hold back for the next time. Then on the morning I’m going to bake I get the starter out and let it come to room temperature.
This coffee cake is my new favorite thing to do with sourdough. And it’s a great way to use apples when they are in season and tasty. The diced apples help keep this coffee cake moist, while the sourdough starter helps give it lift and a tangy taste. And the cinnamon – which is my favorite spice – it keeps me wanting to make this cake over and over again!
This coffee cake actually tastes better on the second day. And it’s just as good on the third day, if it lasts that long! The honey helps to not only sweeten the cake, but also aids its keeping qualities. I usually use a sourdough starter made with spelt or whole wheat flour, but you can certainly use one made with white flour. I love using spelt because of its sweet, nutty flavor and for the extra nutrition it adds. You can easily convert a starter from one type of flour to another. If you’re interested, the instructions are right here in this article.