When I first started keeping sourdough starter I wasn’t sure I wanted to make bread all the time or if I’d like it that much (spoiler alert: I love it! Here’s some more info about my starter). But one of the first things I made were these sourdough pancakes and they sealed the deal; convincing me to keep a starter even if I used it for nothing but pancakes! That’s how good these are!
It’s funny, I read the recipe in a comment on a blog and I can’t even remember where. I’ve looked through so many sourdough pancake recipes and can’t find one that matches what I use. So I can’t give credit to whoever shared this with me. One thing I really like is it’s simplicity. It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients (I have it memorized by now) and is simple to throw together even if you’re not a morning person. Also I’m pretty flexible with how much starter I use, and they always turn out great.
The recipe I saw made a lot of pancakes, so I wrote down the halved recipe and it’s a really great size. I make it for myself (and have leftovers) but I think it’d be good for 2 people too.
1 Cup of fed starter
1/2 t salt
1/2 t soda
2 T sugar or honey
2 T melted butter or coconut oil
I cook mine in my cast iron skillet. I melt the butter in the skillet while I mix up the other ingredients, and I add the soda last, which helps the fluff factor! The pancakes aren’t very tangy or sour, but have a thinner, chewier texture than say, bisquick pancakes. Enjoy!
I first read about sourdough starters in my Cooking Alaskan cook book. The cookbook said: don’t worry about making something from your starter every day. Sometimes you just have to throw away the discarded starter and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. So I don’t!
In case you’re not familiar, sourdough is a wild strain of yeast that is kept alive with regular feedings of flour and water and kept under control by a symbiotic relationship with a strain of bacteria (lactobacilli). King Arthur Flour has a lot of great info about sourdough. (You’ll find that every source tells you different things! Pick and choose and find a system that works for you and don’t worry too much about finding a “right” way. Similarly, what I’m posting here is what has worked for me– I’m not claiming to be an expert on sourdough starters, but I have done a lot of research!)
I first started the starter with commercial yeast. (I know! Sacrilege!) The thing about sourdoughs is even if you have a starter from, say, San Francisco, eventually the wild yeasts in your area will win out anyway. So it’s cool to say your starter has been around for many many years and maybe over time they develop some extra depth of flavor… but it’s really not a big deal to start your own.
I was feeding my starter and taking care of it and all of a sudden it just stopped being bubbly. I have a couple theories: 1) I was feeding it according to my schedule and refrigerating it and not really understanding what was going on and 2) Perhaps the commercial yeast died off and the wild yeast wasn’t quite strong enough to take over.
No real reason to discard unless you just have too much starter.
Even if you get your starter from someone, the starter-along is worth reading. The only thing I don’t think they’re clear about is the importance of feeding the starter enough– they instruct you to just keep feeding it until you run out of room. But if you have 8 oz of starter and you’re feeding it just 1 oz flour, 1 oz water, you’re starving the starter. You can smell this– the starter starts smelling acidy and less yeasty and bready.
I took my “sick” starter and started following some of the principles (weighing my ingredients and more stirring!)… and it was bubbling away in just a few days. Anyway, a few months and mishaps later and I’m still keeping my starter alive! I’ll gather my favorite recipes, experiences with refrigeration and drying starter and share those in separate posts. There’s so much to write about! GOOD LUCK and have fun!
Let me tell you a tale about how I really screwed up my sourdough starter…
First of all, I’m planning on gathering my sources and writing up a more in-depth post about sourdough and my starter, but I think that will have to wait. I was thinking of that more in-depth post when I snapped a few shots of my sourdough starter:
Let me tell you, there are few things LESS exciting to photograph than sourdough starter. You can see it has risen and sunk back down– ready for another meal of flour and water! I usually keep it out on my counter under that (*lucky*) towel.
My Mom and Dad came up to visit recently and I couldn’t wait for them to taste my sourdough bread and my sourdough pancakes. In fact, I was so excited that I made pancakes with ALL THE STARTER. I know everyone says you can start a starter with what’s left on the spoon or bowl, but I was nervous about the eggs and sugar and everything… My starter has only ever been flour and water! Plus, I had a tiny bit of dried starter that I had put away a few weeks ago, so that seemed like the better solution. We were going out of town so I mixed up the dried starter with a little water and flour, put it in the fridge before we left and hoped for the best.
Nothing happened while we were gone! I was n.e.r.v.o.u.s! Alas, this story has a happy ending. I took it out of the fridge and fed it and the next day it was bubbling away again! And in a few short days I was even able to pack up a little starter for Mom to take home and play with!
Happy sourdough-ing! I’m making a loaf of bread tonight!