Sourdough Diaries: Quick Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough starter

Hey friends, Sarah here. Let’s make some pancakes, except this time a quick version. Instead of having to make our batter overnight, we can just whip them up in the morning like most pancakes. While still using our sourdough starter.

Now I have a book here. It’s the American Frugal Housewife written in 1833 by Lydia Marie Childs and we use this all the time as a reference out on the grounds at Prairie Town. And I just wanted to say that normally we think of pancakes being leavened with baking soda or baking powder, but we didn’t always have access to baking soda and baking powder because it simply just wasn’t invented yet. In this time, her chemical leavening is pearlash. And she says a teaspoon of pearlash dissolved in some water or some milk. So, pearlash tends to be a very bitter, bitter substance and so even though you needed enough of it to make your pancakes rise and fluffy, you could taste that bitterness. So, oftentimes pancakes were made without it. And so, therefore, pancakes made back in the oldey-timey days were made quite thin, not quite like crepes but most certainly flat little pancakes.

She says here “if you have no eggs or wish to save them, use the above ingredients and supply the place of eggs by two or three tablespoons of lively emptiens. So what that is, is its part of the beer-making process. All of the sediment that falls to the bottom of the cask of the beer some of it was used to make a sourdough starter essentially, so to raise up and bread. And she says that if you use that, then you have to wait five or six hours before you can cook them because the yeast needed to make their way into the batter so the batter could be fluffy. So there you are. 

Let’s get started with this quick pancake recipe with some flour – 2 cups of all purpose flour and to this I’m going to add 2 tablespoons of sugar or any sweetener that you prefer. And I’ve got in my cup here half a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of baking soda. We’ll just pour that in and give this a stir around so we can incorporate the baking soda better. Now pearlash was kind of like the grandmother of baking soda, which is derived from wood ash actually, so there you are.

So what else do we need? We’ve got one and half cups of milk of any choice. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of oil or butter, I’ve added an extra tablespoon because I’m not going to add an egg to it. You can add an egg to it if you wish. The egg will provide, not only a little bit of structure but a little bit of richness and so that’s why I added extra oil. But its pancakes and pancakes are very flexible, we don’t have to be afraid of pancakes and do whatever the hay we want. So this is our sourdough starter, its just a scant cup and we’ll throw that in as well. And that’s all, that’s all the things. Mix it up pretty well and then cook them, you know how to make pancakes.

We’re at the stove, I wasn’t going to bring you here but I just wanted to give you a few tips on this batter. As I was working with it, I noticed a few things. So, my batter was a bit on the thick side so I thinned it out adding a little bit of water, you can use milk if you have it. And the texture of these, and the taste is a lot more similar to the regular pancake that we’re used to seeing. Same in appearance as well. So it’s just a really nice, versatile recipe and a good way to use up your sourdough starter if you don’t have time to make bread or anything bigger than that. 

So there you are, hope to catch you at the next recipe. Take care.