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.