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Content note: this post talks about food
On a conceptual level, I fucking love pancakes. However, there are numerous things which, when it comes down to it, make me unhappy. They’re a pain in the arse to make, with all the elbow-hurting whisking. You can’t just whip them up when you feel like you want pancakes, because you’re supposed to leave the batter to set for arcane breakfast-mancer reasons. They taste a little bit eggy, and I fucking hate eggs.
Before you leave a comment saying “actually, my pancakes don’t taste eggy”… they probably do, you just don’t hate that kind of eggy flavour like I do.
Luckily, following a little bit of experimentation, I have found a way of turning sourdough starter into delicious, light fluffy pancakes without any of the annoying bullshit outlined above, and I’m going to share the good news with you. The recipe does appear in this post, but if you want to just read the recipe without any of my crap, you’ll find it over on my patreon, where you can also access other cool, exclusive content, with more to come.
Now, sourdough starter is pretty cool, because you can do lots of things with it that aren’t bread–although the bread is tasty as hell. As you probably know, I got into sourdough starter when I made one with a dash of vaginal yeast. It started out as a joke, but I kept the starter going and I’m still using it loads. Not just for bread, but also for more exciting things. Like pancakes.
One of the particularly awesome things about sourdough starter is it’s slightly acidic. This means that it has quite a culinarily-useful chemical reaction when mixed with something alkaline like bicarbonate of soda. I’ve used it, instead of trying to find buttermilk in small metro supermarkets, to make soda bread. I’ve also used the reaction in making crumpets. And, it turns out, really good pancakes without having to resort to eggs. You can have pancakes within five minutes of having decided you fancy them.
I suppose we’d better address the elephant in the room at this juncture. Yes, my sourdough starter is that one. Well, all right, it’s actually a second batch, which also may or may not contain vaginal yeast (I still can’t tell if my yeast did anything, though it certainly performs ever so slightly better than a control, cunt-free starter). I hope the starter will outlive me if it’s well looked-after.
Sourdough starter needs using up regularly between feeds, so this recipe is ideal for when you need to use up 3/4 of a cup of starter. It’s also a great recipe if you’re vegan. While I used goat milk, you can also use any of your favourite milk substitute–I imagine almond milk would be delicious if you wanted your pancakes with a sweet topping–I suppose you could also use regular cow milk, if you’re that way inclined and/or a Nazi.
First things first, you have to water down the sourdough starter somewhat. I keep my starter at 50% hydration, so it’s quite thick, because it doesn’t need feeding as often, and I find it easier to work with. I know a lot of people prefer it runnier at the 100% hydration. If your starter is thick, like mine, you’ll likely need about half a cup of your chosen milky liquid, but if it’s runnier, a third of a cup should work. I chose goat milk, because I like it and it sits better on me than cow milk. It’s also got a nice goaty flavour to it, which makes the pancakes slightly savoury: I ate them with beetroot and quark. Whisk it together until nice and smooth. Luckily, you shouldn’t need to whisk it all that much.
Then it’s time to thicken it up again, by whisking in about a heaped tablespoon of wholemeal flour. Again, this doesn’t take long at all, and is significantly less faff than beating eggs and whatnot. By this point, you’ll have a smooth batter, no matter how hungover you are. I wasn’t hungover when I invented this recipe, but I think it’ll probably turn out to be perfect for hangover breakfasts when only 30 pancakes really quickly will suffice.
At this point, I left the batter for a bit, because I wanted to go for a shower. This step is completely optional, and if you don’t fancy a shower, you can go right ahead and start heating the frying pan.
By the way, I just want to apologise for this profoundly annoying format of this recipe. I have slouched through far too many baking blogs that do this, and I’ve picked up the style. You probably just want the fucking recipe. Well, so far you’ve had most of it: proportions for three of the four ingredients, and the first two steps from a five step method. If it’s pissing you off a lot, I’ll remind you that patrons get just the recipe with a list of ingredients and how to make some fucking pancakes, without this guff. Honestly, I could do with a few more patrons, because I’m quite broke at the moment, and I am planning some cool patron-only stuff that will include bullshit-free recipes, but also very likely, short stories.
Now your batter is mostly made, get the pan on the heat. The reason for this is that the chemical reaction, when you add just half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the batter, is very quick. You’ll want your pan oiled or buttered up and ready to receive pancakes when you whisk in the bicarb. Incidentally, I used goat’s butter for frying. I’d bought it out of curiosity, and it’s delicious. Warning: it does make your sweat smell faintly of goats afterwards, though.
As soon as you whisk the bicarb in, you’ll see your batter turn bubbly. It doesn’t fizz up like a salted slug, but you’ll see those bubbles coming in almost immediately. This means it’s ready. Put small flat blobs of your batter into the pan. In a largish frying pan, I found it possible to do four pancakes at once. They take about thirty seconds each side.
And that’s it. Once you’ve fried up your pancakes, stack them up (or fold them like blinis) and eat with whatever topping you like. They taste almost exactly Scotch pancakes, although they’re a bit lighter, so you can have more than you’d usually have. The texture is also lighter and fluffier. I was genuinely surprised to discover how much they tasted like Scotch pancakes, although without any egginess. As I said earlier, I had mine with beetroot and quark, and tried to eat them like blinis, which was reasonably successful, although it looked somewhat like I’d committed a grisly murder afterwards. I didn’t eat all 30 of them myself, I shared.
Try it for yourself. I promise, it’s really fucking easy and quick.