Sourdough Pancakes

feeding starter

Click here to jump to the recipe

Ever since Michael Pollan’s four-part series Cooked debuted on Netflix in February, my sourdough bread post gets more traffic than anything else on here, followed closely by this post on Eleanor, my sourdough starter. If you too have caught the sourdough bug, you have probably become familiar with The Sourdough Baker’s Dilemma: what do you do with all that discarded starter?

When you feed your sourdough starter, you remove 80 percent of it from its jar and feed the remaining 20 percent fresh water and flour. Because your starter requires regular feedings—but only if you want to keep it alive—the discard piles up quickly. Don’t toss it! In fact, we probably shouldn’t call this stuff discard. You can make all kinds of delicious food with it, including these pancakes.

IMG_20160305_071344
Eleanor (right) wearing the new sweater I knit her for her 2nd birthday, celebrating with Betty Buttermilk (center) and Mary-Ann (ginger bug, left)

I make these pancakes at least a couple of mornings a week. Aggie of the blog Aggie’s Farm first gave me her recipe and I’m so glad she did. Of all the recipes I’ve made with discarded starter, pancakes both use up the most discard and require the least amount of work. Most importantly, they taste good.

My daughter prefers fluffy pancakes. I like them thin and crêpe-like. If you prefer fluffy, add a bit of flour to the batter. For thin, omit it. I top my pancakes with maple syrup or fruit and yogurt. Because they contain no added sugar, they go well with savory toppings as well.

IMG_20150312_064233
A thin pancake
fluffy pancake
Add a bit of flour to the batter for a fluffy pancake

Ingredients

Yields two pancakes

  • 1/2 cup unfed sourdough starter, straight from the refrigerator (recently fed also works)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour of any kind (optional—for fluffier pancakes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

1. If using additional flour for fluffy pancakes, combine it with the starter in a small bowl. Whisk in the egg.

2. Melt the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and swirl it around to coat the pan. Pour the oil into the sourdough-egg mixture, leaving enough in the pan so that your pancake won’t stick to it.

3. Add the salt and baking soda. Wait a couple of minutes for the batter to puff up a bit.

4. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Flip after bubbles have formed on the pancake. Remove from the pan once the pancake is golden-brown.

5. Grease the pan and repeat.

6. Top as desired before scarfing down.

IMG_20150615_074908
Thin pancakes topped with fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds and shredded coconut

18 Comment

  1. You make starters look adorable. This all looks yummy and guilt-free.

    1. Thank you! I love my starters. They are my babies 😉

  2. I asked my partner, who has been making sourdough for months now, if he discards part of his starter, and he says no, he is just using it every day. But we will definitely try these pancakes, they sound yum.

    1. Your partner must bake every day (lucky you!). I hope you like these. They taste delicious and require little effort. (I love easy…)

  3. emaclittle says: Reply

    This is one of my favourite uses for the excess starter! I feel it legitimizes my pancake + maple syrup eating. I’ve made pancakes probably 1000s of times in my life and sourdough are some of the best, with the most complex flavours, and also very tender. I will try out your recipe – I like that you don’t add that much extra flour to make the batter. I actually just finished making your cracker recipe 🙂

    1. It’s my favorite too. If we didn’t eat so many pancakes, I think we would have drowned in starter long ago. I hope you liked the crackers 🙂

  4. Jo says: Reply

    I’ve never understood the throwing out the starter. The only time I remove starter from my batch is when I bake with it. I bake 1-2 times a week and the starter lives in the fridge. I feed it when I’ve used it and there is never so much that I need to discard any. I only feed it 1-2 tablespoons of flour and equal water.

    1. Hi Jo. Well that’s just how I learned to do it. I know there are different ways to make sourdough. When mine lives in the fridge, it doesn’t seem as perky. Even out on the counter, I wish she was perkier, but she does make good bread so I shouldn’t complain.

  5. Mark K says: Reply

    I love your site and have been trying many of your creations! I’ve discovered a nice combination that I thought you might appreciate in pursuit of zero waste: I put a tablespoon of the ginger from my ginger bug into my sourdough starter pancake batter. It adds nice flavor and texture, and keeps the ginger bug at steady state. I hope you try it and like it!

    1. OMG Mark. I’m going to try that. On the weekend, while I made ginger beer I tried simmering my discarded ginger for it, in the hopes I could use that in addition to the plain ginger I was simmering at the same time. It tasted revolting! Luckily I tasted it BEFORE doing anything rash…ginger beer saved. I think the ginger bug might give my starter the kick I’ve been looking for. Thanks so much! ~ Anne Marie

  6. Amanda says: Reply

    I love that this only makes 2, every time my BF makes me pancakes he makes way too many and they are so filling we end up feeding all the flatmates & some for dinner haha! Going to try these now 🙂

  7. Becca says: Reply

    I just made these and am eating them right now. I added a bit of flour, as suggested, but I could see how this could be more crepe-like without it. Delicious! Thanks so much for this recipe. Now I won’t feel so wasteful with my sourdough starter.

    1. I’m glad you like them Becca. I love to make the pancakes because they use up the discarded starter quickly and they are SO easy to make. As you know it’s a constant battle to keep the discard pile at bay!

  8. […] so you’re not making too much, or there are plenty of recipes for using the extra — pancakes and crumpets are good starting […]

  9. Bonnie says: Reply

    tried this a few days back. Worked very, very well, but I think I’d like it best as crepes. Tried it half way inbetween: used 1/2 TBSP of flour, butter, a 9″ iron skillet, and got 4 thinner pancakes.

  10. […] used this recipe from the ZeroWasteChef for the pancakes, and then added a dollop of yoghurt and some stewed […]

  11. Margaret Lester says: Reply

    Made these for dinner last night – I added chopped walnuts and cinnamon. My bf and I loved them! Thanks so much for the recipe (we also love the sourdough crackers). I think I’ll try them with blueberries and pecans next time. Or add a mashed banana. Your blog is so so great. Keep up the good work 😉

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Margaret. Mmmm, that all sounds so good! I’m glad you liked the pancakes. I eat them several mornings a week. Thanks for reading my blog 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

Leave a Reply