The challenge for the Sourdough Surprises baking group this month was to make pancakes or waffles using a sourdough starter.
As I was thinking about what to make, the October Issue of Cooking Light arrived in the mail. In this edition, they feature Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk & Orange Pancakes. They looked and sounded so good, I used them as my inspiration. They described their pancakes as a Saturday-morning-in-your-jammies breakfast, but my version worked particularly well for dinner.
I had just fed my rye starter to make bread so it only made sense to use it in these pancakes. I added some all-purpose flour to lighten them a bit and included some orange juice for additional flavoring. These Sourdough Rye Pancakes are topped with whipped orange butter made with real butter, orange zest and orange juice.
While I was researching sourdough pancakes, I learned some interesting tidbits. The sourdough starter is used mostly for flavor. The wild yeast won’t be activated unless you feed the yeast again and give it time to ferment.
A genuine sourdough pancake is thin and somewhat rubbery. If you don’t mind rubbery pancakes, like the prospectors used to enjoy, you don’t need to add any additional leavening. However, if you prefer a lighter pancake, then you have a couple of options:
1) After you mix the batter, let it sit for an hour to ferment. This will give the wild yeast time to activate and produce a lighter texture.
2) If you don’t have an extra hour, you can use baking soda to produce the same effect. Mix the baking soda with 1 tablespoon of warm water and gently fold it into the batter. Just be sure to use the batter immediately.
Baking soda can also be used as a neutralizer to tone down the tangy sourdough flavor. My rye starter tends to be really sour so I decided to let the batter ferment for an hour and use the baking soda to neutralize the sourdough flavor. In addition, since I used two cups of rye sourdough, I figured these pancakes would be a bit dense so I also folded in a beaten egg white. This might have been overkill, but I enjoyed the flavor and texture of the pancakes.
Sourdough Rye Pancakes with Orange Butter
Makes: About 12 pancakes
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3/4 teaspoon orange juice
- 2 cups of rye sourdough starter *
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, more to achieve desired consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 1 large egg white, beaten
* I used recently fed rye starter from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature before mixing the batter.
1) Make the Orange Butter
Combine the softened butter, grated orange zest and orange juice and whip using a wire whisk or fork. Set the mixture aside until ready to use.
2) Mix the batter
Pour the sourdough starter in a large mixing bowl. Add the beaten egg, butter, orange juice, milk, sugar, and salt and mix well. Add in the all-purpose flour and mix until it is lump-free. Add additional flour if necessary to achieve the desired pancake consistency.
3) Proof the batter
Let the batter proof for an hour in a proof box (85 degrees F.). If you don’t have a proof box, place the bowl in the oven with the light turned on.
4) Fold in the leavening
Beat the egg white in a bowl until medium peaks form. Mix the baking soda and water in a small bowl.
Gently blend in the baking soda/water mixture and the beaten egg white using a wooden spoon.
5) Bake the pancakes
Preheat a griddle to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Cook 2 to 4 minutes until the edges begin to bubble and the bottom turns brown. Flip pancakes over and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Serve warm with orange butter and syrup and the fruit of your choice. I enjoyed mine with blueberries.
My inspiration for these delicious sourdough pancakes came from:
- Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk, & Orange Pancakes from October 2013 Issue of Cooking Light Magazine
- Austrian Rye Pancakes from Classic Sourdoughs by Ed & Jean Wood
- Alaskan Sourdough Pancakes from Sourdough Breads and Coffee Cakes by Ada Lou Roberts