Tuesday, March 05, 2013

How I Make Sourdough Pancakes


While I was working at the Wally Noerenberg Salmon Hatchery in Prince William Sound, Alaska, (at the time the largest salmon hatchery in North America) the hatchery manager was suddenly faced with a crisis. A 12-person construction crew had arrived to finish the living quarters and was going to be living on site and along with the 10 person hatchery staff. Something needed to be done about providing an orderly meal process. "Is there anybody here who would like to be the cook for 6 weeks?" My hand was up first. The manager quickly assessed whether I was kidding and if I could pull this off. I excitedly gave him a brief and very confident run-down of my time on the lines of two restaurants, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hired. Well, transfered really, same pay, but a few more hours. But I had no idea what I was getting into.

One of the interesting aspects of that job is that I inherited a 5-gallon bucket of sourdough, that I had no idea what to do with. One of the carpenters on the construction crew was very versed in culinary arts as a hobby, and was quick to offer me advice, after all he had a stake in this too. He handed me the Silver Palate cookbook (he just happen to have with him) and rather insisted that I start making bread too. (In addition to stewed figs and arugula salads with cherry something or rather). He also handed me a hand written recipe torn from a notebook, how to make sourdough pancakes. I have been making this original recipe since 1988:

My standard sourdough recipe will make about 8 good sized cakes. 

2 cups of sourdough that was fed the night before at room temperature is bubbly and fairly thick (batter has just a bit of stringy/gooiness. It will thin and weaken as you add the following ingredients.

Combine well the following then add to sourdough:

2 large eggs
2 tbs vegetable oil (eggs emulsify the oil so they should go together)
2 tbs white sugar
2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)

Get pan/griddle medium hot or so (they should cook pretty quick without burning, just very light thin sheen of oil in the pan if any)

Immediately before making, add just enough water to ~1.5-2 tbs tsp of baking soda to make pasty or slight liquidy (if your sourdough mix seems too thick to pour well, here's where you can adjust water. )
Thoroughly and quickly Mix soda mix into sourdough, it will start to bubble and rise, like a child's first chemistry experiment.

Pour batter into pan or grill to make cakes, I like pretty big ones about 6-7".
Top with real maple syrup and butter, served with a couple slices crispy hickory smoked bacon... you just can't beat that!

No comments: