March 7, 2021
Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake,
Catch it if you can.
Pandemic life brought a welcome slowness to our days that has lasted through the year. It has been glorious, and just what we needed to navigate this otherwise strange experience. Yet as Spring steps in, it will lure us outdoors earlier and sports season will fill our afternoons. So before the pace of life inevitably picks up, we are relishing these last slow and cozy mornings by making pancakes! Nothing says love and breakfast and lazy mornings quite like them. Plus, their round, sunny sweetness is a perfect treat to welcome the return of golden sunshine. Our favorite recipe is for sourdough pancakes. They have the slightest tang to brighten our palates, and all their probiotic goodness makes our bellies happy.
If you have never tried making a sourdough starter, don’t be intimidated! It is very simple to start and very easy to maintain. Mine lives in the fridge with minimal feedings- when I’m making bread weekly, it gets a feeding before and after use. When I’m not, it gets fed when I think about it. My very first starter lived like that for 10 years, and I can honestly say she would still be with me today if I hadn’t given her over to a sourdough-dreaming friend in a weak moment. My point is, you can do it and it’s worth all the delicious benefits.
Mix together ½ cup whole wheat or white flour and ½ cup cool water (60℉/15℃) in a quart mason jar. It should be like thick pancake batter so you can adjust with more water or flour as needed. Place the lid loosely on the jar or cover with a light cloth and a rubber band, then stick it in a warmish place in your kitchen for a couple of days. Next, compost most of it, mix in ½ cup of water to dissolve the old starter, then mix in a ½ cup of flour again. Cover, and ignore it for another couple of days. Now, depending upon the season and where you live, after a week or two of repeating this process, your starter will be happy and healthy. It should be bubbly and have a pleasant sourness (mine always smells a bit like green apples). All you have left to do is bless it with a name and use it!
Typically when a starter is fed, most of it is composted first. I really don’t like doing this since I love my little gal and all the good things she does for my family’s bellies. This is why I love the option of making pancakes with the discard. Plus, pancakes are easy for anyone to make. My oldest sons can do the whole process alone, and my six-year-old comes pretty close. This is our recipe:
In a large bowl, mix
1 cup sourdough starter,
1 ½ cups warm water and
2 ½ cups of flour
Cover and let sit in a warm place overnight to ferment. I mix it in a ceramic bowl so I can safely store it in the oven that is turned off, but has its light on. It’s just the right amount of heat.
The next morning, mix
⅔ cup milk of choice,
1 tsp. baking soda,
1 tsp. salt,
2 Tbsp. sugar of choice
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or butter
Whisk this into your overnight batter, let it stand five minutes, and you’re ready to get cooking.
Here’s to celebrating slow mornings and returning sunshine!