Saturday, January 9, 2010

Try, try again...

New ingredients or requirements can both fun and a royal pain.  I tend to try smaller batches when I am experimenting.  I am working with date sugar now as a replacement for refined white sugar.  I need to find a good source for muscovado sugar as well, or at least a brown sugar that isn't simply molasses and white sugar.  I tried a cranberry pecan jumble, but while it smelled heavenly and looked nice, the flavor of the dough was somewhat lacking.  I may try adding some honey and lemon zest for better texture and brighter flavor.

Sometimes it takes many tries to find something that works.  Anyone who likes to experiment in the kitchen knows this.  My five year old was sorely missing pancakes after we had to start avoiding eggs.  I must have tried half a dozen different recipes and substitutions to try to find a pancake that passed muster.  I really couldn't get the old favorite light fluffy pancake recipe to work.  Flaxseed made them too gummy.  There were one or two recipes that were just okay, but I finally ended up going back to a favorite sourdough recipe.  And why not, the sourdough already had nicely developed gluten which provides structure, binding properties and leavening.  Maybe I could just leave out the egg...  And it worked!  The girls already loved sourdough pancakes, and they loved them just as much without the egg.  The original recipe is super simple and can be found at  I keep my starter fairly thick, maybe around 90-95% hydration.  I find it is much more resilient the thicker it is.  I also tried keeping it as a whole wheat starter for some time and the girls didn't mind, they still loved the pancakes, but I found the whole wheat to be entirely too finicky for my needs.  My starter lives in the fridge and sometimes I may neglect it for a couple weeks.  Or more...  The white flour starter seems to handle that much better.  Now this morning I made this with straight out of the fridge starter that has not been fed for maybe a week or more.  Fresh mature starter will give you even fluffier results.

 Those things are still sky high and super fluffy.  I like to give them one extra flip before serving because a crispy crust is easier to cut.  As a matter of fact, I love to stick the leftovers in the freezer for later because these are fabulous popped into the toaster.  The inside gets even lighter and fluffier.  It's almost like eating a super light biscuit in a pancake suit.  My eldest says she almost prefers them toasted.  But seriously, they're great either way.  It is a good make ahead option for breakfasts though.

Fluffy sourdough pancakes (Egg free)
(10-12 pancakes)

511g mature sourdough starter (thick)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp canola oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp starch free baking powder

Stick it all in a large bowl and mix it all together quickly with a wooden spoon or whisk.  Cook them up on a hot greased griddle.  I set mine at around 375º.  These won't brown quite as much as ones with eggs, so check when the edges start to dry.  They are so tall and fluffy, you want to be sure they are done in the middle.  Serve 'em up with butter and maple syrup and enjoy!

Adapted from and Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton

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