Sourdough Fried Chicken? Best thing since….sliced sourdough!
If you’re like me (a professional baker) or just a regular person (a new sourdough afficianado, thanks to Covid), you probably stare at that sourdough starter and wonder: is that all there is?
No, there’s more. There’s sourdough bread tales and then the great beyond of sourdough biscuits, waffles, scones and cinnamon rolls. But then there’s something savoury and trending: Sourdough Fried Chicken.
If all you ever used your sourdough starter for was to make this chicken, you’d be a success story. That wee bit of sourdough starter in the batter is the secret ingredient to frying up exceptionally crispy fried chicken that crackles when you bite into it. Serve it with a spritz of Sirracha sauce or maple syrup (or both, for a sweet hot fried chicken legend), a side of biscuits, corn on the cob and plenty of appetite (and print-outs of the recipe).
There are many recipes online but I fiddled and made this mine © and I think you’ll agree, it breaks the mold! Enjoy!
Right — there’s one more thing! Cast iron panware is a must for fried chicken. I am currently using The Lodge, Stargazer and Smithy Ironware but if you have your vintage cast iron hanging around, this is the time to make it shine (well, poetically speaking; cast iron never quite shines). These are exceptional brands of cast iron and The Lodge, incidentally has a a lighter weight version of their classic, called Black Lock.
And now, tada, the recipe! (The basic sourdough starter recipe is way below — scroll down)
1 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup sourdough starter
¼ cup beer
¼ cup milk
A few hours before or overnight, toss the chicken in the buttermilk and spices, cover and chill.
To prepare chicken, have 1–2 large cast iron skillets filled halfway with vegetable oil (a deeper skillet is recommended if you have it such as a chicken fryer).
Take one piece of chicken at a time and let the buttermilk drip off a bit. Then dredge in the seasoned flour, then dip in sourdough batter and back into seasoned flour. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes as oil heats up to frying temperature, 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and a wire rack. Preheat oven to 300 F.
Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time, turning once, modulating heat so the chicken cooks evenly and browns but doesn’t burn. Place cooked chicken pies on the wire rack and when all the chicken is cooked, place in oven to keep warm until serving.
This is a basic sourdough starter. Build it up for two weeks or so before using in recipes.
1/2 cup coolish warm water, preferably spring water
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, approximately
In a ceramic or non-reactive bowl, whisk together the water and flour a gloppy or pudding-like batter. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature.
Over the next 24 hours, it should foam and froth and then sink or deflate. If it deflates before the 24 hours pass, add in a cup of water and flour (each) and stir well.
After 24 hours, feed it once a day, with equal parts of water and flour (about 1/2 cup each). This builds the starter from immature to mature. After 3–4 days of this, spoon it into a clean container with a snug cover and refrigerate indefinitely.
To revive the starter for a recipe, measure out what you need and allow starter to again, froth and bubble, lightly covered. If it doesn’t˜wake up then feed it with a cup flour (all-purpose or bread flour) a cup of water. Then once it is active and frothy, measure out what you need for the recipe. Return remaining starter to its container and the fridge.
Makes about 4 cups of sourdough starter.
Essentially once you have a mature starter, you take it out to warm up (before a baking day). Feed it by removing 1/2 cup of starter and add back in1/2 cup each flour and water. Let it sit and get foamy (a few hours or overnight) and then use it in a recipe