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.
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.
- 2 cups sourdough starter
- 1 cup sifted flour, (buckwheat, einkorn, spelt, wheat etc.)
- 2 eggs, (beaten)
- ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- butter, coconut oil or ghee, (for frying the pancakes)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 ¼ 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.