Old Fashioned Sourdough Pancakes (and Waffles) –


The old Western and Alaskan sourdoughs (as the miners and trappers were called) used sourdough for just about everything that had to do with wheat flour. It was a necessary and integral part of life in the wilderness. Sourdough pancakes were a frequent menu item. It is one of the simple pleasures of life.

500 grams of fed sourdough starter (about 2 cups)
25 grams of sugar or 30 grams of honey (about 2 Tbs)
30 grams of olive oil or other oil of choice (4 Tbs) – You can also use butter
1 large egg
4 grams salt (1/2 tsp)
5 grams baking soda (1 tsp)
10 grams warm water (1 Tbs)

A bit of historical note here: About the time of Alaskan exploration by the Americans and Canadians baking powder became available. The sourdoughs were deeply suspicious of baking powder and there was a rumor that if suppressed sexual desire (the salt-peter of its day). A prostitute (so the story goes) wintered at one of the gold mining camps. Unfortunately for her the men had made no strikes and had no money, so they stayed away from her in droves. As the spring thaw opened the adjacent river she hopped one of the first boats out. As she pulled away from the shore she shouted back, “Goodbye – you baking powder eating sons of bitches”. Anyway, use baking soda for the authentic historical kind of pancakes.

Let the sourdough starter sit overnight at room temp and get built up nicely. The next morning add the sugar, salt, egg and oil or butter. Mix this up well and let sit as long as you like while you get the rest of breakfast together. Just before cooking dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and gently fold it into the mixture.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or griddle (or whatever you use). Brush oil lightly onto the skillet with a silicon brush (regular brushes melt). When the heat and oil are just right it only takes seconds to cook each side of the pancake golden brown. You only want pancakes the size of silver dollars or so. Do not make them very big or they won’t cook through before burning. I find that a 1/8c measuring cup is just right. Drop the batter onto the hot skillet with a kind of swirling motion and when bubbles form on the top they are ready to be flipped. It will only take a few before you get the rhythm just right.

Serve them buttered with jam or honey or maple syrup or whatever you like. I like mine just plain buttered with over medium eggs and bacon.

You can also use this same batter with your waffle iron. It will probably take a bit of experimentation to figure which setting gives you the best results with your particular iron.


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