Before bread making, (BBM) I had a dog, in fact two, but I didn’t bake. I had one recipe for liver cake which the dog trainer gave me which I made, froze and doled out for reward based training. Apart from that the dogs had cheese squares, bits of sausage, toast, the less disgusting dog chews, dried fish bits, dried ostrich bits, dried tripe. The usual sort of stuff a spoilt western dog gets given. It’s a huge industry – pet food. If you worry about the origins of your own food, don’t keep a pet unless you are prepared to start fretting about where their food comes from too. The ‘pet food’ industry is a murky place. I work on the principle that if it is pink and tastes of sugar and synthetic bacon it is probably not something I want my dog to eat. Dog tooth decay is endemic and dogs smell bad a lot of the time because of it. Really they don’t need treats at all, any more than we need chocolate brownies!
Then, the first time I made bread sticks, the dogs became very interested and for a while I experimented with variations on the bread stick theme…but the dogs were trained by the time they were about a year old and didn’t need so many exotic treats to get them to do what they should be doing… I made the odd batch of liver cake, but it wasn’t really needed. Then we discovered that the supermarkets did small boxes of cocktail sausages and lazily we moved on to those for those days when the dogs needed some little something extra or were being looked after by someone else who needed a hand.
But Steve’s comment today (see his recent post on his delightful blog Burntloafer) reminded me that not so long ago he had used some sourdough to make tasty treats for his fussy dogs and Abby says she doesn’t mind the odd dog post… So today, having made a very flat pain de campagne, one of those breads, that sticks to the banneton and then collapses and spreads on the peel, to rouse itself into a light arc in the oven, sighing all the while, “Forgive me, I know I was supposed to be a jaunty, springy little number but this is all I can manage today, honest… whine, whinge….”
(Does sourdough suffer with depression sometimes?)
Sorry where was I?
So being the dog’s birthday and all, what the hell, make him some sourdough treats, he eats enough bits of toast… he knows what it tastes like. If he doesn’t eat them I will offer them around with some taramasalata.
This is what I made:
Sourdough chicken parmesan potato birthday dog treats
- Strip 3 ounces of chicken off last night’s roast chicken pieces
- Blitz in small food processor to crumbs
- Mix with 1 cold cooked potato
- Add an egg
- Add 75 – 100 grams white sourdough starter
- Throw in a tablespoon of left over parmesan (Zeb would walk over his mother to get to the cheese)
- Mix together
- Add enough bread flour to make a sticky but manageable dough
- Knead a bit
- Sprinkle lots of flour on a board, pat the dough out
- Hunt for your dog bone biscuit cutter
- Cut out shapes
- Put on parchment lined tray
- Cover with towel, leave to prove for about an hour
- Heat oven to 200 C Fan
- Put trays in oven
- After 20 minutes take little biscuit sized treats out
- Turn down the oven to 180 C and give the big bone shaped treats another 10 minutes
- Take out and allow to cool
Do a taste test. Yes, they’re acceptable to everyone.
This is a crazy world. We shouldn’t be baking for our dogs. On the other hand if you see the rubbish or dare to taste the stuff that the pet food industry wants you to give your dogs as treats, you would consider doing the same. Given that I have a pair of dogs in my home, the deal is they give me eternal love, I give them food, a walk a day, a warm bed and just once in a while – sourdough chicken biscuits.
Fantastic! I saw these on Steve’s site – so impressed you’ve made them too! Lucky Zeb! :)
Hi Celia, Steve’s cutters are more elegant and I think his recipe might be a bit different, but yes he certainly inspired me to use up my sourdough starter. Never tried that in a dog treat before :)
I was reading the title thinking…”oh these sound good!”, then got to dog biscuits- oh. Finished reading post, and yep they still sound good. Any baby would give that a red hot go, grinding teething teeth in to it :-)
Now interesting you talk of the murky depths of the dog food industry, not being a pet owner, I hadn’t really thought about it. But ‘duh’ of course its going to have the same problems of people food. Thanks for the prompt.
Organic chicken, potato, egg and sourdough should all be ok but parmesan – don’t know if you can give that to babies? But there’s no other added salt.
You remember all that fuss about MRM (mechanically recovered meat) being used in kebabs? Most dog and cat food has a lot of that in it too, and a lot of additives and colourants. It is designed to please two consumers, the pet owner and the animal, and the one who counts? The one who has the purse. There is now, of course, a whole organic/alternative dog food industry and some of the products seem better than others, but who knows really what is in it. If you are curious about protein adulteration in both pet food and animal feed, which will end up in the human food chain, you could do worse than start with this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_protein_adulteration
Good evening dear Zeb.
Dogs should be fed the raw offal and detritus of our furrred and feathered friends. If you start feeding them such food as you describe, it is only a matter of time before they take over your kitchen and start cooking for themselves. Darwin then says that shortly afterwards they will start planning to take over the world (as long as at the same time they develop opposable thumbs.)
Dont say I didnt warn you!
I knew someone would say something like that :) On opposable thumbs, that’s my line, see the about page !
Thinking about your comment… we used to do the raw thing, almost killed Zeb with gastro enteritis, suits some dogs not all. He gets offal in the form of dried bits of animals usually. Mostly tripe.
*sigh*…I often wonder how the world got to this stage? I remember a while ago a lot of chinese babies getting incredibly sick from melamine in their infant formula.
I guess you are being rhetorical here :) It’s mostly a numbers thing, isn’t it? Billions of us on this planet all wanting stuff that the planet can’t give us, so we ‘engineer’ solutions that cause further problems and so on….
These sound and look utterly delicious. I want them. If I come and howl and snuffle and sniff posteriors, can I have some? As his aunt, I should, of course, have sent Zeb a card. Apologies. Copious ones. Met a very nice labradoodle in the park today, called Mia. Brown, wolfish, and quite unlike either of its parents. Funny old world, dog breeding. xxx
Funny old world indeed xx
the wolfie labradoodles – I know the ones you mean – maybe the ur-dog wasn’t a wolf but a doodle.
They will have to remake so many movies
A Weredoodle in London, Dances with Doodles, Never Cry Doodle, Company of Doodles, Doodlehearts Revenge, Eye of the Doodle…..
Lucky Zeb – he looks as if he’s enjoying his treat!
My niece had a dog I loved deeply- and for his birthday I made doggy bread treats- whole wheat bread with extra dried milk and dipped in gravy and rebaked at the end.
He loved them and me.
Thanks for sharing- it was nice to remember Rocky.
Your treats sound lovely Heidi. Rocky must have been a loving dog. A wise friend of mine said that the loss of a beloved animal leaves a different shaped hole in space and time, and without becoming mawkish and sentimental I think I know what he meant. Thank you for your memories.
Awww he’s so cute! What a lucky puppy to get such delicious treats! :D
What lucky dogs you have to bake them delicious looking treats! How long does a ‘bone’ keep Zeb going for?
@ Lorraine – thanks for visiting my blog! Yours is amazing, will have to have a really good read over there :)
@ Christine – not long enough ;)
I KNEW you would be making some dog cookies!!!!!
Sally, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion but you know me pretty well :)
They’ve gone a bit soft; I think for really hard crunchy biscuits I should have turned the oven down and left them in there for another half an hour…. most of them have gone in the freezer for now, to be doled out at a later date.
I loved this post and the post with the garden photos and description of the Robin. I named my youngest daughter Robin purely because I loved these little birds. As for lucky Zeb, a friend once said, if there was reincarnation, he wanted to come back as one of our dogs, but I do know the mental conflict of lavishing love on my dog and considering what life if like for those in the world who scavenge for food. Have you seen the movie/documentary ‘Food Inc’? It’s very disturbing and I wonder if such information doesn’t make one want to shut out such knowledge and bury oneself in ones own little sphere albeit living as ethically as possible. Your blog is part of my little sphere.
Hi Jan, thanks! I’m going to email you because I want to chat and my comment here will get too long – I’ll do it tomorrow when I am more awake :)
Ok it is a good thing our dog is not sitting in the office with me today (sunning herself out on the back step instead)….or she would have really gotten a few ideas and raised expectations! I love the dog bone shapes….and that very healthy looking dog happily munching away on those treats.
A year later almost Spice and I just peeked at this post and realised I never said thanks for commenting…. He’s pretty healthy most of the time, though is developing a fondness for corners of sponge cake, tsk tsk tsk.
I might start replacing Molly’s Frolic with these. I’ve added a dog bone biscuit cutter to me scavenger list.
I was asked if I could make a dog’s birthday cake the other day by some friends who have a dog walking business. I looked up dog’s birthday cakes to see what was on offer on the internet, I was quite surprised to see full on sponge cakes with some sort of non chocolate ‘chocolate’ icing. I don’t think I’m going down that line. Though, I did pick up a tub of chicken hearts at Sheepdrove (organic butchers) the other day for next to nothing, and I might make him kebabs with those for a birthday treat this year….
Cakes. Gosh. I don’t approve of giving dogs sweets. We have never given Molly anything that mimics the flavour of chocolate. Don’t want her developing a smell-taste relationship between the two, and begging with those Springer eyes for choccies whenever someone has one….which of course doesn’t happen often in this household but still …
Zeb unfortunately has a taste for sugar and a general interest in cake (following an incident with a tray of lebkuchen and other goodies left on a low table at Christmas a few years ago). He has never sampled chocolate but he can smell the sugar content and so will look vaguely hopeful if there is chocolate around. He doesn’t get it though, ever.
Christmas seems to be a time when dogs get to sample goodies. Molly ate a block of butter from the coffee table. We grabbed the bread and cheese before she finish that off, too. We were cross with yourselves for be so silly as to tempt her, setting it right within reach, and Molly was oblivious; she just smiled and licked her lips. Her nose (and mouth) are exactly the height of the coffee table, so I can’t really blame her. She’s a dog after all.
I once sat at a cafe with a blind woman and her dog. The dog, she said was never ever fed by hand, only ever got food in its bowl and therefore did not entertain the possibility that she might be given food from the table or from a person. The dog sat there peacefully while she ate and watched the passersby, didn’t look at her sausage sandwich once. Maybe she realised there was no point in looking as her owner was blind and wouldn’t be able to make eye contact with her and ask for the food using the ‘directed glance’ that dogs use so effectively with people. I was very envious. But as they teach us to train our pets using food as a motivator I wonder how that dog was trained to do everything it could do so competently, clickers maybe?
I know a woman who takes on puppies for the hearing impaired, and she starts them off with chicken bits and then progresses to a clicker, completely eliminating chicken, cheese, tripe, etc. (food bits) entirely by the time they’re 4-5months ago. At 6-months, they go to the proper puppy training facility where they’re accessed. Molly is semi-trained with a clicker. She’ll certainly come running with one click …. unless she’s chasing a squirrel or a pigeon. :D Molly wants her walkies; time to empty the dog.
Wow, these look delicious, but I never seem to have much luck when I try to make homemade treats for my dogs. Something always seems to go wrong. Either I don’t cook them long enough, I cook them too long, or I just don’t get the ingredients right.
I was wondering if I have to worry about the parmesan upsetting my dog’s stomach, because of the milk. Can a dog be lactose intolerant?
Hi James, I wrote this quite a while ago when my dog was younger and his treats were useful for training purposes. You know your dog and what she or he csn eat safely. I no longer make treats for my dogs as they are happy with their regular food which is low in fat and I reward them with their normal kibble if they need rewards amd give them less in their main meal.