I don’t tend to make bread in the winter since the house is colder and it takes a long time for the dough to rise, especially sourdough. So for the past few months my sourdough starter, which is usually found bubbling away on the kitchen counter, has been languishing at the back of the fridge waiting for warmer days. Mixed with flour to a thick consistency, I’ve found that the wild yeast can survive up to six months if kept very cold. I’ve never left it for longer but wouldn’t be surprised if it could hang on indefinitely.
Sourdough has been touted as one of the most healthy breads available for several reasons. Unlike modern quick yeasts, wild sourdough organisms break down gluten and starches resulting in food that is easier for people to digest. Sourdough also protects the integrity of vitamin B1 and frees up trace minerals in the bran part of the flour, making sourdough bread more nutritious. Research it further if you’d like but one of the main reasons I bake and cook with it is that it tastes great!
It took my starter about 48 hours to wake up after its winter long sojourn in the fridge
Three days ago I took my starter out of the fridge and started whipping it back to life. It took around forty-eight hours and a more liquid environment for the yeasts to fully recover but by this morning it was ready for action. Sourdough is alive and needs to be fed every day, meaning more flour and water, so if you’re not planning on making bread you’ll either need to find ways to use the extra starter or you’ll soon have a stockpile of it. Fortunately there are plenty of great recipes that call for it and you can easily find instructions for making sourdough biscuits, cookies, and crackers among other goodies.
The way I use mine is to make sourdough pancakes, which not only uses two full cups of starter but is a really delicious treat. Their consistency is similar to American style pancakes but the light and sweet flavour has a subtle tang that goes perfectly with maple syrup and summer fruits. Given the choice of ordinary pancakes and sourdough I’d always choose to make and eat the latter.
Makes 4 servings
2 cups Sourdough Starter
4 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)
1 Tbsp Warm water
optional: berries (preferably frozen)
optional: flour for thickening
1. Place a small pat of butter in your pan and preheat it to med-high – on a heat scale of 1-10 I use 6. Pre-heat your oven while you’re at it and place a plate inside. As each of your pancakes is cooked, put them on the plate to keep the whole stack warm until breakfast is ready to be served.
2. Dilute the Bicarbonate in the warm water and set aside. Then whisk together the sourdough starter, oil, sugar, egg, and sea salt in a medium sized bowl. It should be as thick as any other pancake batter so if it isn’t then add a little extra flour at this point to thicken it up.
3. Check to see if the pan is sizzling hot. If so, then add the bicarbonate-water to the rest of batter and whisk again. The bicarbonate will cause the batter to fizz up and expand which will in turn give the pancakes lift and lightness.
4. To make pancakes of the same size as those in this recipe, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to divvy up the batter. Once the batter has been poured in the hot pan, work quickly to scatter berries over the tops. You can use fresh or frozen but I find that frozen berries retain their form a lot better when cooked in recipes like pancakes and muffins.
5. Cook for a minute or so and when the edges start to look ‘dry’ and browned, flip the pancakes over and cook until the second side is brown and the pancake is cooked through. It will take approximately the same amount of time that the first side took.
6. Repeat the process until all of your batter is used up. Also remember that each new batch of pancakes will require its own pat of butter or equivalent frying medium. I told you this recipe is good but I’m not about to declare it low-fat 😉
7. Serve with your choice of maple syrup, jam, fresh fruit, and/or butter. Enjoy ~
Frozen summer berries make this recipe extra delicious