Traditional Sourdough Pancakes

sourdough pancakes

Sourdough pancakes keep us going through the winter when the days are short and cold.  They have staying power – like soaked porridge or baked oatmeal.  As my grandfather said, sourdough pancakes make for a breakfast that’ll stick to your ribs.  And on those cold days when we make our way outside for sledding or snowshoeing, I make these pancakes for they offer satiety that will last well into the afternoon.

And for my little boy, sourdough pancakes are always a favorite – like Dutch baby pancakes. So I make them with joy because it delights me to see his delight.

Unlike traditional pancakes, the sourdough version offers a more complex flavor – they’re tarter, richer and slightly more dense.  I typically serve them with pats of grassfed butter, billows of fresh raw cream (you can find a supplier here), fruit and a touch of raw honey or real maple syrup (you can find it here).   Quite often, though, I make my own fruit syrups out of butter and fruit juice.

Why Sourdough

There was a time, not too long ago, that all breads were sourdough, and that every cook kept a crock of yeasty flour and water bubbling away in her larder.  It was fed daily – scraps of dough or more flour and water – and she would dip into the crock, and pull out starter to make breads, biscuits and even old-world sweets like Election Cake.  By contrast, granulated commercial baking yeast has only been made available very recently.

The traditional process of sourdough fermentation not only yields beautiful breads, biscuits and pastries, but it also enhances the nutrient profile of grains – deactivating naturally occurring antinutrients while also increasing folate content and the availability of minerals which is why the grains I serve my family are, invariably, soaked, sprouted or soured.

And while grain-free everything seems to be the trend these days, let’s not forget that properly prepared grains, breads, porridges and even sourdough pancakes have nourished generations of healthy families across the globe just as the work of Dr. Weston Price illustrated in his landmark book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  It’s simply a matter of proper preparation techniques.  As Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, writes: Be kind to your grains, and they’ll be kind to you.

How to Get Your Sourdough Started

To prepare sourdough pancakes, you’ll need to first tend a sourdough starter.  To prepare a starter, you’ll need to whisk a bit of flour and water together, and, gradually add more flour and water each day for about a week.  The carbohydrates in the flour will feed wild yeast that give your sourdough breads loft and lactobacillus bacteria that give it flavor.

Newcomers to sourdough greatly benefit from incorporating an existing sourdough culture into their first starter – this helps to achieve consistent results in flavor, rise and texture.  You can find sourdough cultures online (see sources) or through friends.  You can also follow my method for how to make a sourdough starter here as all sourdough recipes posted at Nourished Kitchen rely on this starter.

sourdough pancakes

Sourdough Pancakes

sourdough pancakes

By Jenny Published: November 26, 2012

  • Yield: 8 (6-inch) pancakes (4 - 6 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Ready In: 8 hrs 25 mins

Tart and rich with eggs and whole grain flour, these sourdough pancakes are an excellent way to use up excess sourdough starter. You can learn more about making sourdough starter here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 cup sifted flour (buckwheat, einkorn, spelt, wheat etc.)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • butter, coconut oil or ghee (for frying the pancakes)

Instructions

  1. Beat sourdough starter with flour, then place the batter into a mixing bowl, cover it and allow it to rest at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Punch down the sourdough if it has risen, then beat in the eggs, salt and baking soda. If your batter is too thick, thin it with a bit of milk, cream or water.
  3. Warm a skillet over medium-high heat, drop in enough butter to prevent the pancakes from sticking (about 1 tablespoon). When the butter melts, reduce the heat to medium-low, then spoon 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Cook each pancake until bubbles begin to rise to the surface - about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and continue to cook a further 2 to 3 minutes. Continue working in batches, adding more butter as necessary, until the batter is exhausted. Serve warm with fresh fruit, butter, cream and syrup or honey.

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What people are saying

  1. mari says

    This sounds great and I would like to try making the starter.
    How much is ‘a bit of flour and water’? Tablespoon, half a cup, a cup or more?
    Is it left uncovered, you mentioned it collects yeast particles from the air?
    Does any flour work?

  2. Josefina says

    Thank you! The recipe I’ve been waiting for!
    For fruit syrup, how much butter do you you use for a cup of fruit juice? Just mix the melted butter with juice, or do you cook it too?

  3. Joe says

    Where can you purchase a flour sifter to remove the bran? Most sifters are not fine enough and essentially you are just aerating the flour.

  4. says

    Do you use fed/active or unfed/inactive sourdough starter for the pancakes?

    I see that they will sit with the new flour for 8 hours so perhaps an unfed/inactive sourdough (such as the amount you “throw off” when feeding sourdough) would be ok?

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. Rosie says

    Can you make a sour dough starter with gluten free flours (rice, potato,sorgum or favabean). I would love to have some sourdough bread but it has to be gluten free

  6. says

    I’ve been on a sourdough kick lately and made a starter out of one part coconut water kefir and one part sprouted spelt flour. It was ready in 12 hours! Amazing… And after feeding it for 3 days, I made this sourdough chocolate cake from the gal at Whole Intentions: http://www.grainmillwagon.com/sourdough-chocolate-fudge-cake/ It was incredible! And I am planning on making the pizza dough next: http://www.grainmillwagon.com/one-ingredient-sourdough-pizza-crust/. Thanks for the pancake recipe – I may just make it with all starter…

  7. says

    These were lovely. i’ve been meaning to try them for a long time because I am one of those people who can’t stand to throw away the “extra’ starter when i feed. i put peaches in them which I had frozen from the summer. mmmm, thanks.

  8. Melissa says

    Hi!
    I’m in love with your blog. It’s been such a blessing. My question is can I use sprouted flour in this recipe? I assume I can, but just thought I’d make sure.
    Thx!!

  9. says

    A ‘bit’ of flour and water would be 1/2 cup of flour and enough water to make it the consistency of batter.
    I only use rye flour for the sour dough. Let it set uncovered or cover it with a thin cloth. Real sour dough is only made from rye flour and water.

    • Jenny says

      “Real sour dough is only made from rye flour and water.”

      What an absurd statement.

      What about San Francisco Sourdoughs or Pain au Levain – both wheat-based sourdoughs? What about injera – a teff-based sourdough?

      • Josefina says

        Yeah, wheat or teff is just as real as rye. Rye just happens to be an easier grain to ferment, but doesn’t make it any more real than ferments made with other grains. With wheat, I think it helps to leave a little of the bran/germ if sifted. But the problems with wheat are mainly when doing a spontaneous ferment, from scratch. If using an established sourdough, in my experience, it’s easy to get the bubbles going.

  10. justine mapes says

    Hi, I love you posts! I started my sourdough starter from your recipe today…and I would love to try these pancakes. My son loves kale pancakes…but I want to use them with this recipe, and just add the kale…should I cook the kale and blend everything or blend uncooked kale with most of the recipe then add the sourdough starter before making them?

  11. Jolene says

    Just a question about the flour…. I’m assuming its wholemeal flour and the sifting is to remove the bran???

  12. says

    I have followed your site for years and really love it—but I still feel intimidated by culturing and fermenting and starters. They seem to need so much attention and be so finicky (I’ve had a failed kombucha experiment) and I’m not sure where to start—which starter type, which recipe, etc. But this sourdough pancake recipe, which you just posted on facebook, seems so doable and easy and delicious! I can’t WAIT to give it a try.

  13. Rachel says

    So I made these pancakes today with my new baby (a sourdough starter I got from a friend). They would have made excellent English muffins, but they weren’t really pancakey, too chewy and bready. I’ve narrowed the problem down to one of two things – I only had one egg (tomorrow is grocery day) and my batter was a bit thick. Do you think the second egg and maybe some more milk (or butter or coconut oil?) would make them more pancakey or do these turn out a bit on the chewy/English muffiny side for you, too?

    I am pretty excited that my starter did rise and tastes like real sourdough, though! Definitely time for some bread baking soon!

  14. Sheri says

    Delicious pancake recipe!
    Why do all sourdough quick-bread recipes include baking soda?
    Isn’t the natural sourdough enough to leaven the product?
    Thank you.

    • Jenny says

      Sourdough quick-bread recipes use baking soda as a leavening agent. Since the rise in these recipes needs to happen quickly, we rely on baking soda. Natural Sourdough requires time (just like a yeasted dough) to rise.

  15. Julianne says

    Hi Jenny,
    I find that the batter is too thick when I first make it, and that it needs some liquid the night before. Would it be okay to use leftover whey from cheese making for this?

  16. Maria says

    I accidentally added the eggs back soda and salt to the 2nd sitting and let it sit out for 8! Hours is it still good?

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