Sourdough Brownies

[Tuesday, August 2, 2011] LUCAS VALLEY: At 7 p.m. a man received a package containing a used pump from his mother-in-law, which was supposed to contain a picture frame. The man did not want to keep the pump.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this item from the Sheriff’s Calls column in the August 4, 2011 issue of The Point Reyes [California] Light leaves just too many questions unanswered. What kind of pump was it? Why did the son-in-law not want to keep it? Was the poor man able to get hold of another picture frame, and what was the fate of the one he was counting on receiving from his mother-in-law? Was this her first offense, or did she have a list as long as your arm of bait-and-switch priors? Did deputies arrest the woman, take care of disposing of the pump, or simply give advice?

And why did the mother-in-law not just send brownies? No one ever calls the sheriff about brownies.

These brownies have a melt-in-your-mouth texture and less sugar than most.

Sourdough Brownies

Yield: 24 brownies (9 x 13-inch pan)


  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Bake: 40 minutes

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 300 g 72% cocoa (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
  • 226 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 200 g sugar
  • 6 g (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 8.4 g (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 160 g (3 whole) eggs, at room temperature
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 220 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Butter a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment.
  3. In the microwave, melt together the chocolate and the butter. Check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  4. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
  6. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Add the starter and stir gently until it is completely incorporated.
  8. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center come out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife, invert onto parchment paper, and re-invert onto a cooling rack.
  10. When completely cool, cut into squares.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    With super-active starter bubbling away downstairs and chocolate of all sorts in the pantry, I’m going to have to try this immediately! It looks like my kind of thing — deep dark chocolate with just a touch of sweetness. Thank you, Susan! I love this post.

  2. says

    This has nothing to do with your post (which was very funny!) but I’ve been playing your Steve Forbert track over and over…I haven’t heard him in years. :)

  3. says

    This is definitely something new to me, and I’d love to try it as it also looks delicious!
    I’d appreciate it if you could tell me how you made the starter

  4. says

    Yes!! All these questions really should have been answered in the article. I trust you have written a sharp letter to the editors.

    Those brownies look brilliant. (Hmmmm, perhaps someone sent brownies to the Sheriff’s Calls Column reporter. Yes! THAT’S why the item was so lacking in detail. Look for crumbs in the typesetting….)

  5. says

    Wow! Sourdough brownies! What an awesome idea! Susan, please don’t stop finding creative ways to use up sourdough starter – I hate to throw mine away.

  6. Anne says

    Great recipe, thank you. I have made them twice since you posted it. Very smooth, tasty and perfect in terms of sweetness. The second time I added half a cup of walnut chips and a half cup of dark choc chips. Next time I will add some strong glace ginger. A keeper for sure.

  7. says

    They were really great, like a fudge! Although I did reduce the amount of sugar which resulted in a bit too salty taste, but anyway – those were my first brownies with my new sourdough (SourdoLady’s recipe). Thanks from Russia!

  8. Laura says

    I just made these, and am eating them out of the pan with a spoon as I type. I didn’t have dark chocolate so I used chocolate chips and lessened the sugar by about 20-30 grams, and I only had salted butter so I reduced the salt by about half.

    I used my starter that had been sitting in the fridge for a few months, so it may be more sour than this recipe intended it to be.

    The texture is great, and the brownies are delicious, but I can definitely tell they are sourdough. This recipe wouldn’t fly with my picky non-real foodie friends, but I definitely enjoy them.

    I wonder if they would have turned out better had I not used the über sour starter from the fridge…

  9. says

    Laura, starter that has been sitting in the refrigerator is not only more sour but less active, since many of the yeast will have died. This will affect both the taste and texture of your brownies!

  10. says

    this is too fancy make it easier please. make it as though a five year old was going to cook it thankyou and before i forget where is the yeast starter recipie? thats what i was looking for.

  11. Chuck says

    Made this today – an absolute mess. An unfortunate waste of good chocolate and sourdough. No plans to ever try this recipe again.

    Will go to my other proven recipes. Not sure I will revisit this site based on this experience.

  12. Sarah says

    These are AWESOME! I added about half a cup of frozen raspberries to the baking tin just before pouring in the brownie mix and it turned out perfectly. I think I will be making these a lot….

  13. Amy says

    I have always been addicted to brownies especially Duncan Hines. I have yet to find a single whole grain brownie recipe that can replicate the same crunchy top texture and chewiness. So, I have a few questions before I try this:

    Does it matter if I use a whole wheat or einkorn sourdough starter for this?
    Also, could I use coconut sugar or rapadura instead of white sugar?


  14. Virginia says

    I love this recipe and have made it multiple times! My family loves them and my step soon will go out and buy a quart of milk when he hears i am baking them. I make it as is, no additions or substitutions and it is now my favorite brownie recipe!


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