I’ve been in a bit of a sourdough “rut” lately… haven’t had much time or motivation to dedicate to making bread (especially since I’ve found the gluten free sourdough loaves I’ve attempted disappointing so far.) For the last few weeks, I’ve been feeding my starter every day or two, then, when the jar gets full, whipping together a batch of sourdough pancakes. It’s the quickest, easiest way to enjoy the tang of sourdough while giving your starter a “fresh start.”
Honestly, as ruts go, this is a pretty darn delicious one. I’d even go so far to say that it’s worth keeping a jar of starter around, even if you don’t have the time or interest in sourdough baking, just to make these pancakes. Not sure how they have eluded this blog for so long.
I’m afraid I can’t offer much of a recipe, since I never measure anything when I make these. It’s funny to look back and remember how, when my father finally entrusted me with the recipe for his famous pancakes, he provided two full pages of instructions about how to tell when the pan was at the perfect temperature, how to test if the batter was at just the right consistency, and so on. Needless to say, I approached the fine art of pancake making with reverence, care, and a bit of trepidation. How far I’ve come, to where now I just scrape starter into a bowl (unless I am planning on baking soon, I generally leave just a couple spoonfuls at the bottom of the jar and use the rest), then add whatever flour(s) I fancy, enough liquid (usually yogurt thinned with water, stock or cooking liquid, or straight up water) to bring it to “batter” consistency, salt and whatever other spices or herbs or mix-ins I feel like. I usually add an egg as well to help it hold together. They never turn out quite the same twice, but somehow so far they have always turned out! Sourdough pancakes are incredibly forgiving, and the possibilities are endless!
If you’d like fluffier pancakes or to neutralize the sourdough tang, try adding a teaspoon or so of baking powder.
Here are some of my favorite variations so far:
Oatmeal: Mix in leftover oatmeal with starter and a little liquid, breaking up clumps with a fork as much as possible. Then add additional flour and liquid to bring it to the volume and consistency you want. Stir some cinnamon and cardamon into the batter, or whatever spices and mix-ins you like in your oatmeal, and top with tahini, jam, or yogurt.
Parsnip: Cook 1-2 parsnips until very tender (I recommend braising or roasting), then puree and mix with starter and additional flour, along with enough liquid to create a thin batter, as the parsnips will make it tend toward the thick, dense side of things. It’s worth a little extra trouble to enjoy the distinctive sweet and spunky flavor of this incredible root veggie. I’d also recommend at least one egg to help hold the batter together, and spices like cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves.
Turmeric, Black Pepper, and Garlic: Sourdough pancakes aren’t just for breakfast! They are the perfect “flat bread” for scooping up curries and stews, or dipping into soups. I particularly love the combination of turmeric, black pepper, and garlic to accompany mung bean deals. Cornmeal and tulsi basil are great additions.
Onion & Fennel: Possibly my favorite yet! Chopped onion, with minced fennel leaves (caraway or dill are also great) is amazing topped with yogurt as a side to soup or for a savory breakfast.
Other sweet and savory mix-and-match combos: Paprika or chili powder, anise seeds, ginger, cilantro, oregano, sage, grated summer squash… raid your spice cabinet, scope out your garden or the farmer’s market, and get creative!