These sourdough pancakes are incredibly fluffy with a hint of sourdough tang. This is a great pancake substitute for buttermilk pancakes, which have a similar texture and taste. And a delicious way to use up sourdough discard.
What to Do with Discarded Sourdough Starter
A key element of this sourdough pancake recipe is the discard from a sourdough starter. For those who don't maintain their own sourdough starter at home, a starter is a mixture of flour and water that has taken on yeasts from the air grains itself. It requires feedings of further flour and water to keep the yeasts active (usually on a daily basis). However, feedings can be slowed down by refrigerating the starter.
To keep the starter to a manageable size, people discard a portion of the starter when they feed it. While some may simply choose to throw it away, others like to find uses for it in their kitchen. However, discard isn't always active enough to raise dough or batter.
These pancakes are a perfect use for discard from sourdough because they also include some baking powder and baking soda for leavening. The baking powder and soda ensure that the pancakes will be fluffy even if your discard isn't overly active yet.
Other ideal uses of discard include crackers, flatbreads, biscuits, or baked desserts. However, this sourdough pancake recipe may become your go-to for using up discard.
What are the Benefits of Cooking with Sourdough Discard?
Unlike a fully active sourdough starter, you may not be able to use the discard without the aid of other leavening agents. However, it is still a fermented mixture that may be easier to digest than traditional wheat. In fact, there have been several reports of those on gluten-free diets being able to enjoy sourdough bread comfortably.
Other benefits are that it tastes great. Depending on your sourdough starter/discard, your resulting pancakes may have a slightly tangy undertone. Don't worry if this isn't the case, though, as starters and discard can vary depending on their age and what yeasts and microbes they have picked up.
Discard can also promote an extra fluffy texture in baked goods. This is partly because the yeasts produce gases that allow doughs and batters to rise.
How to Make Sourdough Pancakes
These pancakes require a little optional advance preparation. The night before you intend to make the pancakes, you can mix some sourdough discard with the milk to blend it. Next, you add flour (all-purpose or whole wheat), flax meal, brown sugar (if using), and some salt. This mixture ferments at room temperature overnight, which makes the starter extra bubbly, and helps produce an even fluffier pancake. It is also a nice option if you have a challenging time digesting wheat.
If you choose to skip the fermentation step, you can simply mix the sourdough discard with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl at the time you intend to make the pancakes. However, if you did do the fermentation step, the following morning you can mix the melted butter, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla into the bubbly batter until combined.
For vegan pancakes, feel free to substitute the egg with mashed banana and the butter with coconut oil. You may also choose to eliminate the brown sugar from the initial fermentation step if adding the banana, as it imparts quite a bit of sweetness.
As with other pancakes, you can cook these in a large frying pan or a griddle on the stove. I recommend brushing the surface with oil or butter to achieve an even coating. If you prefer to have smaller pancakes, 2 tablespoons is a nice amount to measure into the skillet. Otherwise, a ¼ cup of batter will make large pancakes.
Once the pancake batter is added, you will know when to flip when the pancakes are bubbling on top and starting to turn golden around the edges. The total cook time for these should be approximately 3 minutes per side, however, there could be some variability depending on the type of pan you use.
How to Serve These Pancakes
I recommend serving these right away in all of their fluffy glory. These are excellent with some fresh fruit, butter, and a drizzling of maple syrup. You could even top them with some warmed jam or a berry compote.
If you have leftover pancakes, simply pack them up in a container or sealable bag in the fridge for the next day. You can place them in the toaster to warm through for a quick breakfast. Alternatively, you could also freeze them for later use. In this case, you can pull out however many you would like to thaw and toast them until they are warm, lightly crisp on the outsides, and fluffy on the insides.
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Mix at night (optional)
- ¾ cup (125g) sourdough discard *
- ½-3/4 cup (125-185g) milk dairy or almond
- ¾ cup (~96g) flour all purpose or whole wheat
- 1 tablespoon (7g) flax meal
- 1-2 tablespoons (15-30g) brown sugar muscovado or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
Add in the morning:
- 1 egg or 1 mashed banana for vegan sourdough pancakes (omit sugar above if using banana)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- The night before making the pancakes stir together ¾ cup sourdough discard with ½ cup milk. To that add ¾ cup flour, 1 tablespoon flax meal, optional 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Stir everything until well combined and optionally, let the mixture ferment overnight. If skipping fermentation, proceed with the remaining ingredients right away. Otherwise add them in the morning.
- To the sourdough mix add 1 egg (or 1 mashed banana for vegan pancakes), 2 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Combine everything into a smooth pancake batter. If the batter seems too thick, add the remaining ¼ cup of milk one tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium-high. Brush or wipe the surface with a little oil or butter.
- For large pancakes, pour ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto the hot griddle. For smaller ones use 2 tablespoons of batter per pancakes.
- Cook the pancakes for several minutes until the edges look set and the surface is bubbly. Flip and cook from the other side for a few more minutes.
- Serve the pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup.
- Leftover pancakes can be frozen in an airtight container or silicone freezer bag. To thaw and reheat pop them in your toaster for a couple of minutes.
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