These days, the ones of dirty diapers and sleepless nights, make finding a peaceful moment difficult. Sure, there are naps and helpful husbands. There are still times when I get to stare up at the sky or drift off into daydreams; such is the blessing of being a homemaker. But I mean the kind of peace that fosters creativity, where a person can really let go and write or draw or cook something special. Because really, when I’m staring up at the sky, I’m not finding animal shapes in the clouds, I’m calculating how many clean diapers are left. Those daydreams? Mostly about not having to cook dinner or sweep the floor ever again. I used to write poetry. Rip-your-heart-out stuff- sometimes good, mostly necessary. I haven’t written a line in years.
This is not a dig against parenthood, simply a matter of fact. I have taken a few unexpected turns and my route needs to be recalculated. My space needs a makeover. The space in my head, I mean. I must find a new rhythm, create a new routine. The extra time in my days should be nurtured and groomed like one of those silly lap dogs, then tucked away into my purse so it doesn’t get lost.
This recipe for sourdough pancakes uses up the extra starter that gets created when making sourdough bread. It’s a stretch, I know, but I see that leftover mixture of flour, natural yeast, and water like my leftover time. It is just as useful as the rest of the dough, but somehow it gets cast aside, forgotten about in the back of the fridge until it goes off and must be tossed out. We consider it a nuisance; simply throwing it away would be considered wasteful, but what on earth can you really do with it?
Call me crazy, but pancakes aren’t really my thing. Unless they are doused with a semi-ridiculous amount of butter and syrup or a particularly runny fried egg, I find even the best ones dry and chewy. They leave me wanting more, maybe a crepe or a dutch baby or a fritter. Anything with a bit more taste, texture, something.
Sourdough pancakes deliver on all accounts. Thin, moist, crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. The flavor is complex- part sourdough bread, part French crepe, with notes of coconut or butter (depending on which fat you choose). I fully intended to plate them for lunch, drizzled with homemade strawberry jam and yogurt. But after tasting a bite right off the griddle, I couldn’t be bothered. I ate three of them straight away, folded in hand while standing over the still-warm stove. Simple and so satisfying. And while simple is not always easy
, it is most definitely best.
Yields about 12 pancakes
This recipe does require leftover sourdough starter, which of course requires you to make sourdough bread, an admittedly complicated feat that I do not yet feel prepared to teach. Check out here and here for info on getting started with sourdough.
2 cups sourdough starter
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1-3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Combine all but the last ingredient in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, and then add the flour a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency, if needed.
Set a large pan or griddle over medium heat for a few minutes- you want to make sure it is good and hot before adding the batter.
Coat the bottom of the pan with coconut oil or butter. Use a ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Cook for a few minutes, or until edges just begin to look dry. Flip the pancakes and cook on the other side for a few minutes more, or until golden brown.