The yeasty, buttery smell of sourdough pancakes will bring everyone running to the kitchen for breakfast, with or without coffee.
Sourdough is simply a fermentation product – it is made from ground grain, water and yeast – the yeast growing, reproducing and producing gas bubbles. You must keep sourdough alive. In the old times, maintaining sourdough was a practical necessity. Freeze-dried yeast was not available, so you would take out some of your live yeast culture from your sourdough pot. In modern times, sourdough is more of a hobby than a necessity, but if you want to keep a sourdough starter on hand, each time you use some of the sourdough, replace the same amount with ground grain and water. The yeast will eat the new grain for breakfast, making more little yeasts and gas. Keep the mixture in the refrigerator after the initial fermentation.
We have tried making gluten free sourdough starter with many different flours. The thickness of the starter will depend on the type of flour used. The following starter is excellent and you can try using it for pancakes. Note that sourdough pancakes are not puffy flannel cakes; they are thinner, more bubbly and have a nice browned edge if you fry them in butter. If you want a sturdier pancake, use a mixture of sorghum and classical gluten free flour mix for the overnight sponge. If you prefer a more tender, delicate sourdough pancake, use 100% brown rice flour. Here’s how to start from scratch and make a sourdough starter and some pancakes.
Two or three nights before you want to make the pancakes, make a starter culture by mixing the following in a large bowl:
- 1/2 cup Authentic Foods Gluten Free Classical Mix
- 1/2 cup Authentic Foods Sorghum Flour (this brand is very finely ground)
- 1/2 ounce gluten free freeze-dried yeast
- 1 cup warm water
Stir and cover with a plate. If it is fruit-fly season, you may have to cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the accidental drownings of excited fruit flies. It is very discouraging to start the morning with a bowl of sourdough starter peppered with the drowned fruit flies lured in by the yeasty aromas.
The night before you want to make the pancakes, re-invigorate the starter to make an Overnight Sponge:
- Add 1 or 2 cups of gluten free flours to your starter – (you can try using 100% brown rice flour, or more sorghum and gf flour mix) – and the equivalent amount of warm water, stir, cover and set aside to make more sourdough. So, if you add 1 cup flour, add 1 cup water, and so on. Only add ground grains and water to your starter – never add eggs or milk to the starter. If you use 100% brown rice flour, the starter will be very thin, thickening slightly when you add the other pancake ingredients.
The next day, make the pancakes:
- Remove 1 cup of Overnight Sponge to use for pancakes. Put the rest of the sponge in the fridge as a starter for your next sourdough adventure.
For pancakes, mix in a two-cup measure
- 1 cup of Overnight sponge (that you removed)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Each 1/3 cup of the batter will make 3 pancakes. Stir the batter up, heat a non-stick pan and add 1 teaspoon butter – don’t skimp on the butter. Use at least a teaspoon of butter to fry 3 or 4 pancakes – we already gave up the wheat, but nobody says we have to give up the butter! Heat over medium high heat until the butter starts to brown. Pour 3 or 4 pancakes and cook them until the little bubbles on the top of the pancakes pop. Flip the pancakes carefully and continue cooking them on the other side.
Transfer the pancakes to a plate, serving them piping hot with real dark amber maple syrup – you can absolutely drown these pancakes in syrup.