Sourdough breads, pancakes, pita bread, breadsticks, cakes and batters are full of friendly bacteria that break down difficult to digest gluten into more easily absorbed nutrients and add B vitamins. Until only 130 years ago, all bread was made with natural leaven. Any batter can be made using a sourdough starter.
In spite of what I said in my Bread Back blog post, if you are going to eat bread, make it sourdough bread. Better still steamed sourdough bread.
Click through below to where I describe how to create your own sourdough starter so that you can try out future sourdough recipes. I am also providing a recipe for the simplest sourdough creation of all time--the pancake! No need to use baking powder or baking soda.
You can make a starter by asking someone who already has a starter going to give you some. Sourdough owners are always more than happy to share as the starter requires daily feeding and therefore grows very quickly if not used regularly.
Here's how to make your very own:
- Take 1 cup of room temperature water and 1 cup of organic whole wheat or all purpose flour. Do not add salt to the starter as it slows down fermentation.
- Stir together vigorously and place in a wide mouth crock or jar and leave out on your counter away from traffic but where you won't forget about it.
- Cover it with cheese cloth or a sushi mat or a clean cloth to keep out dust but permit air to circulate.
- When you think about it, visit your starter and stir. After 3 or 4 days bubbles should start to form (not to be confused with bubbles created by stirring).
- If this doesn't happen in 4 days place the starter in a warmer spot. Be patient.
- Once the starter starts to activate, begin to feed it by adding 1 or 2 Tablespoons of flour and stirring. Do this for a further 3 or 4 days. Add enough water to maintain its liquidity. Once your starter is rich and bubbly, it is ready to use. It is so exciting!
- To use the starter, pour out what you need, leaving some in the starter jar, then add equal parts of flour and water to replace what you have taken out of your starter jar.
- Keep it going by feeding every day or so. You can keep a starter going indefinitely. Wouldn't it be great to hand your own starter down to your grandchildren?
- If you are not baking very often, place your starter in the refrigerator and the fermentation will slow down. You will only need to feed your starter once a week if it's refrigerated.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it takes time to develop a relationship with your starter and to understand its needs, which are very few indeed. But it is well worth it to take the time. Your starter will reward you with fantastic pancakes and all manner of baked, steamed or fried goods: bread, chapati, pita, breadsticks, muffins, strudels and even tempura batter. And your digestive system will thank you.
Feel free to ask here if you are experiencing difficulties with your starter as almost any problem can be fixed.
Sourdough Apple Pancakes
- sourdough starter
- flour (all purpose, whole wheat, cornmeal, buckwheat or combinations)
- liquid (water, apple juice or soy milk)
- pinch of sea salt
- slices of peeled apples
- dash of cinnamon
The night before empty your sourdough starter into a bowl. Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of liquid and stir. I immediately take out some this pre-sponge and return it to my sourdough jar. This way I won't accidentally add salt or other things and then remember that I should put starter back into the jar. Leave overnight on the counter.
In the morning the mixture should be lively and bubbly. Add flour (some buckwheat with apples is very good) and liquid to make enough batter for yourself and your guests. Then add the salt, sliced apples and cinnamon.
Heat a cast iron skillet (or two) over medium high heat and add a bit of light sesame oil. Pour batter from a ladle into the skillet(s) and cook until the top of the pancake starts to bubble at which point you should have no difficulty flipping the pancake and cooking the other side. It gets easier to cook pancakes as the skillet reaches the right temperature. I find that often the first couple of pancakes are duds. Practice makes perfect so don't despair.
Stack the pancakes on a serving platter. Serve with maple syrup or brown rice syrup and fresh fruit on the side. Enjoy!