Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes

Last week I finally made a recipe I had reminisced about for a number of years…buckwheat pancakes. While growing up, my family went to a restaurant called the Pig N’ Pancake.  Deciding what to order was always a toss-up. Do I want the chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate syrup, or the “little pigs in blankets – buckwheat pancakes wrapped around sausage  links?  The latter always won. While those pancakes were good, I wanted to up-level my recipe with a sourdough starter, freshly ground buckwheat flour, and some flavorful extracts.

I bought some organic buckwheat seeds. Seeds include both the hull and the kernel.  Together they make lovely dark, rich, and earthy flour. I dusted off my flour mill and ground some buckwheat seeds, fed my sourdough starter, and then made my first batch for dinner. Though tangy, nutty, and delicious, they were a bit dense which is the nature of buckwheat. What could I do to make them more fluffy and springy? Egg whites! Instead of adding whole eggs, why not separate out the egg whites, beat them until stiff, and gently fold them in?  I tried that on the next batch and voilaʹ – airy buckwheat pancakes.

On a recent shopping trip, I picked up a bottle of maple-bacon flavoring. I made one batch with vanilla extract and one with the maple-bacon flavoring. It was a tie, both were excellent. After all these experiments, there was a lot of pancake batter left. I put the extra in the fridge and the batter became more sour with age. The tangy flavor really stood out. Loved that! These pancakes are versatile; one time I cooked them with slices of Swiss cheese and topped the pancakes with sauerkraut.

Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup sourdough starter
3 tbsp melted butter
1 egg yolk and 2 egg whites, beaten
½ cup milk – any kind
1 tsp vanilla extract or other flavoring

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, beat the egg whites until stiff, and gently fold in. Cook just like you would any other pancakes. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, substitute ¾ cup flour mixed with enough water to make a batter.

The first time I made these, I discovered we were out of syrup. While I rummaged around in the fridge, I noticed a bag of Heath toffee pieces. I cooked the pancakes in butter and just before I turned them, I sprinkled on the candies. They melted just a bit and added a lovely crunch and sweetness. Gee… would these pancakes taste good with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup? I just might try that!