My sourdough starter is nine months old. During the week, it lives in the fridge, but on Thursday nights I move the jar to the counter so I can feed the goo twice to revitalize it so that the natural yeast can leaven the crust on our Friday night pizza.
I won’t bore you with the details of what it takes to take care of a starter (go read this if you think it sounds intimidating), but I will tell you that to keep your starter healthy, you have to discard half of its quantity at each feeding. But by discard, I don’t mean put in the trash. Most sourdough owners find a way to use up the excess starter, and one of the post popular receptacles is pancakes. That’s why you see recipes for sourdough pancakes and sourdough waffles so often: sourdough starter plus egg and milk makes wonderful, slightly tangy pancakes. These pancakes are also easier to digest than your typical batch, because one of the features of a sourdough starter is that it works on the grains, sort of pre-digesting them, and making it easier for your body to absorb its nutrients. According to Sarah Owens, author of Sourdough, that’s why many of her customers can eat her loaves but can’t tolerate gluten in other forms.
In spring and summer, I don’t always want to weigh down my weekend mornings with huge pours of maple syrup, though, and I’ve recently started using my starter in savory pancakes. The form is easily adaptable, and I’ve found myself adding all sorts of green and root vegetables to the simple batter, then frying them up. Here, sliced spring onions add a dose of green, and cubes of cheddar melt and crisp up when you cook the cakes. Instead of butter, as I’d put in sweet cakes, I pour in a quarter cup of Pompeian Organic Olive Oil. After they’re cooked and piled up high, a dollop of yogurt on top completes the dish, making these elegant enough to serve as an appetizer when you have friends over one early evening this weekend – maybe an unexpected moment for breakfast for dinner, but why not?
- For the overnight mixture
- 1 cup/240 grams sourdough starter “unfed”
- 1 cup/224 grams buttermilk, milk, nut milk, or a mix of sour cream/yogurt and whole milk
- 1 cup/120 grams all-purpose flour, preferably whole grain
- For the batter
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for the pan
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup cubed cooked sweet potato
- 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated
- 1/2 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
- The night before pancake time, combine the starter, flour, and milk. Stir until no streaks remain. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, whisk in the egg, olive oil, and sea salt. Put the sweet potato into a small microwave-safe bowl and top with water. Microwave for about 4 minutes, or until the sweet potato cubes are soft. Add the whites of the scallions and microwave 1 additional minute. Drain in a sieve. (You can also use a steamer if you prefer.)
- Add the sweet potatoes, cooked white parts of scallions, raw green parts of scallions, and cheddar cheese to the pancake batter. Stir a few times to distribute.
- Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Brush with olive oil. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the batter and cook until bubbles form and easy to flip. Flip once, allowing cheese to ooze out and crisp up. Remove to a plate.
- Eat hot, topped with sour cream and scallions if you like.
These pancakes are made using fermentation (that’s the sourdough!), which is particularly of the moment and a good fit for Pompeian’s #TrendingintheKitchen campaign. Thank you to Pompeian for sponsoring this post, and several more to come this year! (See the first here.) All thoughts, opinions, and obsessions with olive oil, are my own.