The Fresh Loaf

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Method for keeping my 2 cultures active and not wasting any

Andy's picture

Method for keeping my 2 cultures active and not wasting any

I used to have two problems. The first was that I didn't bake frequently enough, so my culture would become essentially dead. The second was that I was getting rid of excess sourdough culture.

Currently I maintain 2 cultures. 1 spelt and 1 whole wheat. They taste really different.

Here's what I do to keep them vigorously active. 

About twice a week I make sourdough pancakes, one time with each culture. When I take the culture out, I replenish it with fresh flour and water.

Sourdough pancake (more like crepes) Recipe:

1 cup 100% hydration sourdough culture

1/2 cup water

1 large egg. 

1) I put all of this into a 1 quart mason jar. Shake it vigorously.

2) I use a cast iron pan, heated up to about low-med.  

3) Pour the liquid batter onto the hot cooking surface. Flip when the edges start showing that they're cooked. 

4) Top with favorite pancake toppings. I personally use crushed walnuts, cinnamon, maple syrup, whipped cream and some fruit like banana, berries, mango, etc. 

It is a quick cooking breakfast. And no fermentation time is required.

This makes a very thin crepe like pancake. If you want it thicker, cut back the added water to 1/4 cup or less. Maybe even just the starter and egg. 

This way, I'm not forced to bake each week, and I don't throw out anything.  I'm a little frugal with some things, especially food waste. My grandma really made me feel back about starving children in other countries. 

What methods do you use to maintain your culture?


Felila's picture

I came to much the same conclusions. I refresh my (one) sourdough culture once a week by mixing one cup ww flour, one cup water, and a spoonful of old starter, letting it sit for an hour or so, and then refrigerating it for another week.

The leftover starter gets turned into pancakes. I mix the starter with some Krusteaz ww pancake mix, some eggs and milk, and let it sit overnight. I don't measure; I go by instinct. By the morning, the starter has digested the pancake mix and the resulting pancakes are light and tasty, without the grainy taste I get from the same pancake mix without sourdough. If I leave the mix longer than overnight, it develops a pronounced sourdough flavor. I don't like that in pancakes, but perhaps others do. 

Seems to work best for me if I do all the mixing on Saturday night; Sunday morning is then the once-a-week pancake morning. 

I end up with more pancakes than I can eat, but I like them just fine cold, plain, as hand food with a cup of milk or chai. 

Andy's picture

I'll have to try your recipe sometime. I'm usually not that organized. One day... one day.

Cooky's picture

All of the above ... but add a couple tablespoons of oil or melted butter, make the batter little thick and pour it into a hot waffle iron. Add blueberries or pecans or the add-in of your choice. Voila, you got yourself a bit o' heaven on a plate. The starter definitely adds a depth of flavor that you cannot beat.

As a bonus: Waffles freeze wonderfully, and come out of the toaster hot and crunchy.


"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

Andy's picture

Haven't had any in years. But I'm sure my family will love it. Thanks for the idea.

Felila's picture

I should make it clear that I leave the pancake mix IN THE REFRIGERATOR overnight. Not out on the table. Left out at room temperature, it would be quite ... different. Especially here in Honolulu, where room temperature is usually warm and humid. (I can usually reduce the rising times given in bread recipes.)