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Sourdough Discard Pancakes

Easy, delicious sourdough pancakes made using leftover starter.

Published May 21, 2020.

Note: Throughout the Quarantiny Starter Project I've been developing recipes at home to keep up with demand, for everything from sourdough pancakes, biscuits, and of course bread. We're calling these "beta recipes" as they haven't gone through the rigorous weeks-long testing process as the rest of the recipes on the site. That said, they've worked well for me at home and I'm excited to share them with you. If you do make them I'd love your feedback so I can continue to tweak, adjust, and improve them for everyone.

Sourdough pancakes are of course nearly as old as sourdough itself. This recipe uses sourdough discard, but can be made with fresh, fully-proofed sourdough starter as well. 

Sourdough discard, if you aren't already swimming in it, is what's left over when you finish feeding your sourdough starter. Instead of throwing out the excess, you can frugally collect it in a container and stash it in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks before using in recipes like this one. Discard recipes do not need the starter to be capable of leavening, since they typically include a chemical leavener such as baking powder and/or soda. (Though, as I mentioned above, the acid in the discard can serve to react with the baking soda to produce carbon dioxide.)

Sourdough Discard Pancakes

Makes 16 4-inch pancakes, serves 4 to 6

The recipe can be made with freshly-proofed sourdough starter in place of the sourdough discard. The pancakes can be cooked on an electric griddle set to 350 degrees. They can be held in a preheated 200-degree oven on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.

1½ cups (212 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup (285 grams) 100% hydration sourdough discard
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk eggs and ¼ cup oil in second medium bowl until well combined. Whisk sourdough discard, milk, and vanilla into egg mixture. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir gently until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Let batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking.

2. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of skillet. Drop 1 tablespoon batter in center of skillet. If flapjack is pale golden brown after 1 minute, skillet is ready. If it is too light or too dark, adjust heat accordingly.

3. Using 2-ounce ladle or ¼-cup dry measuring cup, portion batter into skillet in 3 places, leaving 2 inches between portions. If necessary, gently spread batter into 4-inch rounds. Cook until edges are set, first sides are golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second sides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining ½ teaspoon oil as necessary.

If you're interested in starting your own tiny sourdough starter or using the one you have, check out these resources:


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