Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sourdough Pancakes

So you have this little starter. Or perhaps it's not so little anymore. You feed it, and water it, you sing to it at bedtime. You nurture it, from flour and water, to a living, breathing creature. Think of it as a pet. Or rather, millions of little pets. Anyway. You put all this time and energy into creating something, and then, according to many sourdough recipes, you throw it away. Just chuck half of it daily.

I want you to join me in Just Saying No to throwing away perfectly good food. If nothing else, it costs you money. You wouldn't throw away money, would you? Heck no. What would your mama think?

So what is a person to do with this abundant starter, especially if it isn't ready to make bread with? The answer, my friends, is pancakes. Or muffins. Or any quick bread type application. Just because your starter isn't ready to leaven bread doesn't mean it can't be eaten! Quick breads are leavened with baking powder, or soda, or a combination, and thus don't require yeast to rise, which makes them a perfect home for your immature starter. Even better, this pancake recipe calls for two whole cups of starter - more than used for bread!

Enough jibber jabber. On to - PANCAKES!

Sourdough Pancakes

2 cups starter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
4 T melted butter, cooled
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T warm water

Combine the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients, except baking soda and warm water, and mix. Dissolve soda in warm water, and add last, folding in gently until combined, immediately before cooking. Unlike regular pancakes, bubbles on the edge do not indicate done-ness. Cook until all the bubbles pop, and the pancake is visibly cooked mostly through on the first side, then flip, and cook a couple more minutes until brown on both sides. Feeds two hungry people, usually on Saturday mornings, with fried eggs, maple syrup, and coffee.

Can you substitute stuff? Heck yes! If you are vegan, you could simply sub coconut oil or olive oil for butter, and a tablespoon of ground flax and three tablespoons of water for the egg. Easy as pancakes! In fact, I have accidentally made these with no egg before, and my partner said he preferred them that way. If you have objections to sugar, you could use honey or maple syrup (maybe even agave?) in place of it. I hear you can make starter with non-wheat flour, too, for gluten avoiding types, but I don't know enough about that to recommend it. If it intrigues you, I recommend further research.

This recipe was adapted from Heavenly Homemakers myriad sourdough pancake recipes. They have an amazing whole wheat sourdough recipe collection, so if you are experiencing an abundance of starter, check them out! If you have an aversion to religiousity mixed in with good sense recipes, however, consider yourself forewarned.

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