Sunday, November 16, 2008

Playing with Sourdough and Making Pancakes

Never thought of making a sourdough starter and learning to use it as a way to ward off dementia. Then I talked with my mom yesterday. She reminded me that learning new things and exercising the mind are good practices in keeping Alzheimer's at bay. Guess the whole process has been a true learning experience.

'Pancakes for breakfast' has always been a happy phrase. Now that my starter is there, just waiting to be used, it takes on a whole new meaning. For one thing, you need to start your batter the night before (or at least 3 hours before you cook the pancakes). Even though my brain was tired, I did remember to start the batter.

What I forgot the next day when I was mixing the rest of the ingredients in was that I also added a half cup of Polly so that I wouldn't have to throw it away when I was feeding her some more whole wheat flour. So in the morning I followed the directions as given on my recipe, but ended up with a very thin batter which made pancakes that looked like crepes! Seeing that, I whisked in a whole bunch more bread flour and tried again. This time the pancakes were just right...thick enough but not too thick. It wasn't until later that I remembered the extra starter and understood why I needed more flour...about a make the batter right. So playing with is the right term to use with sourdough when you are as forgetful as I am sometimes.

I served the pancakes with some butter, maple syrup, simmered apple slices with cinnamon, and a couple of pan browned frozen turkey breakfast sausages. The pancakes were light and flavorful and well worth the effort of starting the batter early.

Since these are made with a starter that has wild yeast in it, I'm going to send this off to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting roundup. With two starters going, she will probably be getting one or more posts a week.

This sure is fun!

Sourdough Pancakes
(Not sure where this recipe came was in a stack of recipes I'd printed out a while back. Very sorry I can't tell you whose recipe it is.)

1 cup sourdough starter - I used Sukey which is a thinner type of starter, plus 1/2 cup of Polly, also a thinner type of starter, just more whole wheat in it
2 cups water at room temperature
2 1/2 cups whole grain flour - I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1/2 cup spelt flour (then about 1 cup unbleached bread flour when the batter was too thin the next day)
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

3 to 24 hours before you want to eat, combine in a large bowl the starter, water, and flour.Make sure that you have plenty of room for this mixture to rise. If it is a very hot day, beware of leaving it too will ferment very quickly. To make for breakfast, make this part the night before. The sponge should soak for at least 3 hours.

After the soaking period, add the rest of the ingredients, and combine well. A whisk works well. If you want thinner pancakes you can thin with water or milk. Drop about 1/4 cup of the batter on lightly oiled hot griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Cook until the top is set and the bottom lightly browned. Flip when small air bubbled form around the edges. Cook the other side until pancake lightly browned on the griddle side. Repeat until all of the batter is used, re-oiling the pan as needed. This makes a lot of pancakes...enough for 4 - 6 hearty appetites.

Server warm with maple syrup, butter, fruit toppings and/or whipped cream.


  1. Oh yum! I love sourdough pancakes. Sometimes I will just feed a starter to make some. Can't wait to see what Polly will be making :-)

  2. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Beautiful! I love SD pancakes and we sometimes have breakfast for dinner. Thanks for sending these to YeastSpotting!

  3. Hey, nice header! Love that tree.

    "Pancakes for breakfast," is a Tomie De Paola book from 1978, and I remember when I was a kid loving the book because it had TOWERS of pancakes...

    I'm thinking Polly and Sukey would be good for the towers I want!! That looks SO amazingly tasty. I want breakfast again now!!

    I read something about making doughnuts with starter... I'll let you know...

  4. Mmm... I love the addition of the apples. I'd have to add walnuts too, just because I'm a nut addict. Delicious!

  5. I've never had sourdough pancakes - maybe I need to make my own starter!!

  6. Breadchick, Wait till you hear about the whole wheat rolls with Polly!...soon.

    Susan, Can see breakfast for dinner with these.

    Tadmack, thanks for noticing the header...the tree and lane are right near my workplace. Never read that book, but I like the idea of towers of pancakes!
    Let me know if you make the donuts...or pretzels...or....

    Susan, These would be great with walnuts. Next time I'd shred the apples and fold them right into the batter.

    Deborah, I highly recommend it. The first couple of weeks are a bit of daily effort, but not difficult and then it's just lots of fun.