These sourdough pancakes are not only a great way to use sourdough discard, they taste amazing. Incredibly light and fluffy, they’re also so easy to make. You’ll soon have them on repeat.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
I used to have a sourdough starter ages ago and have made the odd one here and there since. However I admit to not being that great at keeping it going. I keep putting it to the back of the fridge and forgetting about it until it’s beyond salvaging.
Even before we moved to Australia a little over a month ago, I vowed to finally get one back up and running. Little did I know that circumstances would make it that little bit too easy to both start and maintain one. And I very much get the impression as I flick through instagram, I’m far from alone.
I have to say, it’s a great antidote to everything else and a wonderful thing to do any time, quite honestly. I’m hoping that as I use it more and more I’ll find it impossible to go back to not having a little bubbling jar hanging around. We’ll see.
The perfect use for sourdough discard
Anyway, if you’re like me and you hate waste, but also don’t bake bread every day, this recipe is for you. And in fact even if you’re just a little scared of making that first loaf, this recipe is for you.
You see, typically most recipes for maintaining a sourdough starter direct you to discard most of it before each feeding. This can be to make a new starter to give away, or use. However unless you use a bake often, you may not always have an immediate use.
The reason for discarding some is that to be properly fed, you need to add almost as much ‘food’ as you already have in there. If not, you’ll find your starter asking to be fed more often. So over a couple days, the amount you’d be adding soon mounts up, even with a small starter.
These pancakes are the perfect solution. They use up some discard without the need to bake a loaf. Plus, they taste incredibly good.
You can even store some of the discard one day in the fridge and then take it out to get these pancakes going the next.
Do you need to start these the night before?
I looked through many recipes to get some inspiration for these, and many started the night before (making a “sponge” with some starter, flour and milk) while others didn’t. Personally, I think you could make them either way, but I find overnight has a couple advantages.
First, having less to do in the morning is always a good thing in my mind. Secondly, I think you get slightly more sourdough flavor. And finally, since some people find sourdough easier to digest, that’s generally because the flour has been worked on by the natural yeasts over a period of time, so that can’t happen if you make them in the morning.
That said, you certainly can whip up the base in the morning, let it sit around 30 minutes to let it activate a bit before adding the eggs and other additions.
Why do you need baking soda?
You’ll probably notice the base is lovely and bubbly after soaking overnight as the natural yeast gets to work. However to help these be extra light, you add some additional raising agent.
That’s partly since, unlike most breads, these have eggs which tend to weigh down any mixture (but you still need them for texture, ‘glue’ and flavor here). It’s not much but does the trick to make them extra light and fluffy.
Dairy free options
You can try these with non-dairy milk rather than dairy if you prefer, the flavor will of course just be slightly different. I’ve used butter here as I think it is best for flavor and gives them that lovely golden color, but you could also use vegetable oil instead.
Tips for cooking the pancakes
These pancakes are quick and easy to cook. I often make pancakes relatively small (apart from crepes), but these are best a little bigger. I’d suggest using a heaped quarter cup (60ml) of batter per pancake. You can either cook one at a time in a small skillet or griddle, or else a couple in a larger one, as you find easier.
Make sure you skillet or griddle is nice and hot before you start. If it’s cooking too quickly, you can reduce the heat, but it’s better slightly on the hotter side than too low to keep the rise. They’ll only take around 2-3 minutes per side to cook.
Try to make sure you don’t turn them more than once – you can check by easing up one side to see how the bottom looks. They should be golden but not brown – if they cook too long they become a little heavier and drier.
Once the pancake(s) is/are cooked, place on a plate and cover with a clean dishtowel while you cook the next batch. This will help to keep them warm without drying out or getting soggy.
I have serve them here with some balsamic strawberries and a little honey (maple syrup would also be good). They paired really well, but many other fruits, especially berries, would be great either with balsamic or as they are, as would a fruit compote.
These sourdough pancakes might have become a new favorite for us, and we are big pancake fans. They’re light, have a delicious flavor and are easy to make. In other words everything the best pancakes should be.
Try these other favorite breakfast ideas:
- Individual Dutch baby pancake with roasted berries and maple yogurt – easy pancakes in the oven
- Eggs Royale – eggs Benedict made with smoked salmon
- Sourdough cinnamon rolls – delicious, and another great use for your starter
- Shakshuka with meat – eggs poached in a delicious pepper and onion-based sauce
- Plus get more breakfast and brunch recipes in the archives.
- 105 g sourdough starter approx 1/2 cup – does not need to be fed
- 105 g all purpose flour approx 3/4 cup
- 165 g milk 3/4 cup
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 25g, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking soda bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder (optional – see notes)
Night before (making "sponge")
- Put the starter, flour, milk and sugar in a medium bowl and mix together to incorporate – try to ensure no lumps. Cover the bowl eg with a dishtowel and leave in a cool room temperature place overnight (Note: if the room is too warm or it's a long overnight, the mixture may become too sour – if you are unsure, use half the liquid amount of water and half the flour, then add remaining milk and flour in morning). You can also prepare the mixture in the morning around 30 minutes before cooking but the flavor will be less developed.
When ready to cook
- Warm a skillet/frying pan or griddle over a medium-high heat – either a large one to cook multiple pancakes at a time or a small one to hold one.
- Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly so that it is not hot. Whisk this with the egg then add the mixture to the sourdough "sponge" mixture. Mix together. Add the remaining ingredients (vanilla, baking soda, salt and baking powder if using) and mix in – the mixture should bubble up a little. Try not to mix any more than needed.
- Take a heaped quarter cup measure (around 4-5tbsp) of the batter and pour onto the skillet/griddle (and repeat, if cooking a few at once). Cook for around 3 minutes until you see plenty of bubbles on top and looks gently golden when you check under. Flip the pancake over carefully and cook for around another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Put the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with a dishcloth while you cook the rest of the batter. Serve as you prefer eg with syrup or honey and fruit.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.