sourdough Black Forest brownies!

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Sourdough brownies might sound bizarre but these are a great way to use up sourdough starter that might otherwise get discarded, with the starter adding a subtle tang to the brownies. Certainly everyone who has tasted these has gone back for at least another brownie!

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I am fussy with brownies and I get so disappointed when brownies are dry or just like a standard cake. For me a brownie needs to have a thin crisp top and a squidgy interior – almost to the point of seeming under-cooked.

These brownies are rich, sticky and very moist and they are laden with boozy cherries: just dried cherries that have been steeping for a few weeks in Kirsch – I always have a pot or two of these on the go, some with Kirsch, some with rum and a pot with a mixture of liqueurs!! Great to chuck into cakes, brownies and the like.

If you don’t want alcohol, you can dehydrate dried cherries overnight in orange juice – just enough to cover them, to give the brownies a chocolate orange vibe.

Using sourdough starter

Often the sourdough starter gets discarded, although I like to make sourdough crumpets and quick flatbreads with them: partly as I hate waste, but mainly as I adore crumpets!

The starter needs to be active and fed regularly, so I use the starter in these brownies just before it is ready for another feed or is ready to be used to make a sourdough loaf.

I keep my starter at 100% hydration ie) whenever I feed it, I do so with equal weights of flour and water.

I have made these brownies with a friend’s starter that is more liquid than mine and even without adjusting the quantities below, the brownies were excellent. Basically, it is very hard to mess up a brownie!

A non-sourdough version of these brownies

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, simply replace the starter in the recipe below with 100g plain flour and 100g milk.

Recipe: sourdough Black Forest brownies

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, 70%
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 200g active sourdough starter
  • 80g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g caster sugar*
  • 100g soft brown sugar*
  • about 100g cherries soaked in alcohol of choice or orange juice (lightly press them to squeeze out excess liquid)

*or use 250g caster sugar if not using brown sugar

(1) Preheat the oven to 160C (fan) and line a square or rectangular brownie tin with greaseproof paper.

(2) Put the butter and chocolate in an oven-proof bowl and sit on a pan of barely simmering water, stirring from time to time until the butter and chocoalte have started to melt. Remove from heat and let them continue to melt. Stir in the salt.

(3) Whisk the eggs and sugars together either with an electic hand whisk or a balloon whisk for a few minutes until light and frothy. You want the sugar to dissolve, so when you can’t feel the grains of sugar it is ready.

(4) Add the starter, salt and the melted chocolate and butter to the egg mixture and whisk in gently to incorporate. Gently whisk in the cocoa powder and stir in the cherries.

(5) Pour into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is well risen, has cracked slightly on top and there is no wobble around the centre. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting.



Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

6 thoughts on “sourdough Black Forest brownies!”

  1. That’s something I have yet to try, sourdough in cakes. In fact, I ve assembled a few examples over the years, but definitely trust your recipe to be a winner

    agree with you – brownie must have that “have I baked it enough?” quality… otherwise it’s just cake!


  2. Been looking for something to switch up my current two month craving for dark chocolate raspberry muffins, and this is it! I haven’t yet acquired any kirsch though… do you think red wine might work instead? Always have that on hand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy them. Yes a little splash of red wine should work – perhaps even mixed with a little sugar to give a liqueur feel to it. Best wishes.


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