The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough pancakes - heavy

Lemonie's picture

Sourdough pancakes - heavy

I am wanting to use the extra sourdough starter in pancakes at the weekend.  I've tried 3 recipes now and they all come out heavy and claggy (northern british word I think lol).  Is this just the texture of sourdough pancakes or am I doing something wrong.

This morning I did:

50g sourdough starter 100%
40g plain flour
1 egg
70ml milk
1/2 tbsp oil

These were heavy and very thin and not good for me.


Ford's picture



1 cup (4.3 oz., 120 g) all-purpose flour

1 cup (4.3 oz., 120 g) whole wheat flour (white or red)

2 1/4 cups (19.4 oz., 550 g) buttermilk 

2/3 cup (6 oz., 170 g) refreshed sourdough starter (equal weight flour & water)


Mix together the flours in a medium sized bowl.  Add the buttermilk and refreshed sourdough starter, mixing well.  Cover and let stand overnight.



3 extra large or jumbo eggs

1/2 cup (4 oz., 113 g) melted butter or vegetable oil

3/4 tspn. (0.1 oz., 3g) salt

1 tspn. baking soda

2 Tbs. sugar

1 tspn. vanilla extract, optional


Beat the eggs, then beat in the melted butter.  Beat in the salt, sugar, and soda.  Blend into the sponge.  Let stand for a few minutes. 


Preheat the waffle iron to medium high.  Spray the preheated waffle iron with vegetable oil.  Pour in as much of the batter as will half cover the surface and cook until steam ceases to appear.  Batter may also be spooned on to a hot griddle to make pancakes.  Serve with real butter and warm maple syrup, or whatever other additive you wish.  Makes about 5 waffles.

modified from The King Arthur Baker’s Companion, 2003


Lemonie's picture

Thanks Ford.  I will have to scale it down a bit but will give it a go :)

Yippee's picture


I cannot comment on your recipe, but I can recommend a yummy pancake formula I recently made for your reference. This formula yields crepe-like pancakes. To achieve a thicker consistency,  reduce the liquid by 100-150 ml, and add one egg. Good luck! 


Lemonie's picture

Thank you.  My grandmother was from the Ukrain and I remember her making similar.  I will definitely try this as well.

Lady_C's picture

I have made this recipe a couple of times now and it will be my go to for SD pancakes. They are light, fluffy and delicious. 

Lemonie's picture

I will give these a go.  Am going to be in a carb coma when I have finished :)  Thank you for the recipe.

Lemonie's picture

I will give these a go.  Am going to be in a carb coma when I have finished :)  Thank you for the recipe.

deblacksmith's picture

If you want really great pancakes it is all about the flour - you need low gluten flour - here in the southern USA that is biscuit flour - you may not have this in the UK but you may well have cake flour.  With your sourdough you are starting out with whatever flour that it contains but if you use biscuit or cake flour you pancakes will be lighter.  I like buttermilk and lots of butter too.  We use 10 percent sugar in our mix also.

I serve well over 200 folks for a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper every year the night before Ash Wednesday.  These pancakes are very light and folks rave about them.  We have home made sausage too.  Your recipe above is very low in fat -- add a lot more.  Shrove Tuesday isn't called FAT Tuesday for nothing. 

Lemonie's picture

That would make sense.  I used bread flour and I think our equivalent to your biscuit/cake flour is plain flour.  Thank you.

David R's picture
David R

Bread flour is good when you need strong and springy bubbles to raise certain types of bread as high as possible without collapsing - but outside of its use in that type of bread, it can be like chewing on foam rubber. 🙂

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

will also add volume to the batter. Fold them in gently at the end.

RobynNZ's picture

For myself, I half Susan's recipe and freeze leftovers. (I use golden syrup rather than maple syrup.) 

For a large group, I make a huge batch of '100% starter' overnight, then increase the other ingredients accordingly.

Friends who eat these delicious, light pancakes always want the recipe, & I give them some starter as well 😊

London Loafer's picture
London Loafer

I like to use the sourdough as a raising agent in its own right, so I ferment my pancake batter overnight.  It gives a light, bubbly result that has great flavour.

clazar123's picture

Spent starter will not have the raising power you want for light and fluffy and when you add unfermented flour you lose the flavor of that fermented starter that you want. Fully fermented discard starter is very acidic and doesn't have much raising power unless you turn it into an active starter. Certainly that is one way but I really like the fully fermented flavor and silkiness of the spent starter discard. Just add baking soda!  Instant bubbles and fluffy pancakes.

The morning you want pancakes, add all the ingredients (egg,oil,milk,salt,possibly sugar) to your spent starter and mix well. Then start your skillet heating. When the skillet is hot, add a little baking soda to the starter pancake dough,mix a few times to incorporate and wait just a minute. It will bubble and rise in the mixing bowl. Pour it into the skillet and watch those pancakes rise sky high.

The only time I add extra flour is to thicken the batter or to make it whole grain and I try to do that the night before so that the "new" flour ferments as well. The amount of flour I add for thickening or whole grain addition isn't usually enough for a feed so it is usually pretty well fermented and spent by morning. Then in the AM, I add egg,oil,salt , If the mixture is thick I may add milk or not. After heating the skillet I add the baking soda.In such a thin batter, the BS effect doesn't last long as a lot of the bubbles escape. I have gotten away with a second addition of BS if there is a delay between fryings and the batter looks flat/not bubbly. Also, I've learned to gauge the thick/thin of my spent starter to handle the thinning power of the other ingredients. Start thick-dilute to thin.


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Hello, Lemonie.

I hope your doing well. I used the attached recipe to make waffles; they turned out as light as the air it self! I am more than confident the same formula would make nice pancakes too.