It’s a grey Sunday in May and the kitchen is stifling warm. I woke up early and had a pancake breakfast, alone, which, prolonged by coffee refills, continued peremptorily into lunch. That seemed a reasonable excuse to cut into one of the still-warm loaves of bread that had come out of the scorching hot oven some hour or two ago. I ate five slices consecutively, hastily adorned with salty butter that melted into the crumb like it was an overly cushioned lazy chair.
This post is about pancakes made from the portions of sourdough that are leftover from feeding the starter for sourdough bread. I recommend enjoying these pancakes with housemates or with whomever happens to be in your warm kitchen on a May morning. Or alone, if they are nowhere to be found.
Right after publishing my previous post, I was challenged by one of my readers (to be clear: one of my very few readers) to use the discarded portions of sourdough starter produced from feedings instead of discarding it. “Wait a second,” she lamented, “do you just THROW AWAY all that food?” My response was unapologetic. “Yeah. What else are you going to do it?” With daily feedings, I had an image of an ever growing starter slowing taking over the kitchen in a disastrous frothing mess.
But this reader's comment made me stop and think. Undoubtably, this was a form of food waste - something I normally go at lengths to avoid. So, I took up the challenge. Over the past month of baking sourdoughs (producing at least 15 loaves), I didn’t throw out a single bit of starter.
The consequences of this experiment were twofold:
Erik’s sourdough pancakes
I never “eyeball” a bread recipe. But, when I make these pancakes, it’s eyeballs all the way. I don’t measure things out. I just sort of mix and stir until it seems right, maybe while sipping a piping hot coffee and looking out the window at a neighbourhood cat sitting in back garden. In any case, the proportions listed here are just a guide. Adding more eggs, for example, will result in a fluffier, more delicate pancake - but pancakes made in this way should be cooked at a slightly lower heat and will be a bit tricker to flip without tearing them. Here is Norway, they don't use leavening like baking soda. The result is a flatter pancake that you can fold up or roll up over your favourite additions - like fresh fruit, jam, or even just sugar - sort of like a crepe. Note that if you do use baking soda for leavening, the reaction with the acidic starter is almost immediate and the result is a pancake with a light crumb texture. You don’t need baking powder.
When bubbles start coming through the pancake, use an offset spatula to quickly flip it.
Stack the pancakes on a plate to keep them warm. Here in Norway, they serve pancakes like these with sugar and bacon. Nutella and bananas are my favourite combo. Follow your nose.
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.