Sourdough Pancakes by the Sea

As Shrove Tuesday rears its sweet head on the calendar, traditionally a day of feasting before the leanness of Lent begins, pancakes make an appearance, which means sourdough pancakes for me. Far more digestible than your average pancake, crepe or pikelet, they offer an extra bonus to sourdough bread makers who often find their sourdough starter building up in the fridge.

Dry mixture for pancakes, with recipe on the lid.
Dry mixture for pancakes, with recipe on the lid.

Before heading off to the beach camp each weekend, I refresh some sourdough starter with a little flour and water and pop it in a screw top jar. At the same time, I mix  and sift the dry ingredients into another jar. Half an hour before the sleepy heads emerge from their tents, the components are mixed and left to sit for 1/2 hour or more.

Celia’s Sourdough Pancakes.

The dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

The wet ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 egg
  • 1½  cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and sifted baking soda.  Pour the sourdough starter, milk and egg into a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk or electric mixer until combined. Gradually scatter in the dry ingredients, mixing constantly to avoid lumps. Finally, stir in the melted butter.  Allow the batter to rest for at least half an hour before cooking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sourdough pancakes, cherry jam. Camping breakfast.

Getting back to Lent, a time of reflection and examination of the wrongs that need to be addressed, I am attempting to give up plastic for Lent. If you think this is easy, read the following article:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/apr/16/plastic-free-lent

Cherry Jam and cream or lemon and butter?
Cherry jam and cream or lemon and butter?

45 thoughts on “Sourdough Pancakes by the Sea”

      1. I realised after I posted that it might sound melodramatic. Just having problems with body parts and food sensitivities again. I’ve been through worse, it’s just tiresome and seemingly my best efforts aren’t enough at times. So the thought of that difficult challenge of leaving plastic out of my life seems like a step too far. I keep reminding myself, I could be a Syrian refugee. Hugs gratefully received and sent back to you. xx

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  1. Yes, a Syrian refugee or one already here about to be sent to Nauru. Life could be worse, it always can be. But when you have food allergies and annoying body parts that don’t want to do what they are told, those big issues in life must be put on the back burner.
    I remember that Lent was meant to be hard, having spent 12 years in a school run by Catholic nuns. They loved Lent. I hated it and always gave up Pumpkin every year. I was not programmed to be a very good Catholic. Now, almost facetiously, I look for a challenge. I don’t eat meat, and can happily go along with the Greek style Lent for a week or two, though skipping olive oil and cheese would be hard. So I chose plastic as my difficult penance. I think those nuns have a lot to answer for!

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  2. Great article. It is still possible to get milk in glass bottles here in Canada. It’s pretty trendy right now which also means that it is way more expensive but if you’re only using it for your tea it wouldn’t be too bad. As for shampoo, I can’t think of a brand that still uses glass bottles but they must still be out there.

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  3. Managed to eliminate some plastic wrapping with a beeswax impregnated cloth from BeeSustainable (500 Lygon Street). You can wrap stuff e.g. cheese for the fridge and wipe with damp cloth before reuse. After a few uses it starts to crack and is reconstituted with a short stint in a warming oven. When it finally clags it can be composted. The next step is to make my own. I’ll give it a go after the honey rob.

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    1. That sounds good. Cheesecloth and old fashioned waxed paper is quite useful too.
      After thinking about all the other stuff, like toilet cleaners, shampoos and the like, the job of removing plastic is harder than I thought.

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  4. I love Celia’s sourdough pancakes. Clever of you to package them up for camping. Read the article – I think when it first came out. Very difficult to live plastic-free. Greece is not very good in this respect as plastic bags are everywhere and everything in the supermarkets is wrapped or stored in plastic. Food storage for fridge or freezers ditto. But, on the up-side, I have just found a source here for the environmentally safe, natural product cleaning detergents we used in the UK. One store in all of Greece, luckily here in Athens. Perhaps switching to this (and hang the extra expense) will be my lent resolution.

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    1. I just unloaded the shopping and noticed there was more plastic than usual. Although most Australians will take their special bags to supermarkets or fresh markets, they still fill smaller plastic bags with fruit and veg. It’s all rather odd. Milk is always sold in plastic cartons, butter still comes in waxed paper as do most cheeses. Meat is wrapped in waxed paper if bought from a butcher but is ‘wrapped in plastic’ in supermarkets. It is a matter of supporting those shops and markets who don’t use the stuff so prolifically. But then, when I stash some bread in the freezer for later, plastic is the only answer. Also I use little plastic tubs for stashing tomato passata. It does have its place- there’s just too much of it.

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      1. I also take cloth bags with me when I shop. In the UK, a number of major supermarkets are just beginning to enact measures to reduce the use of plastic bags by charging for them. Miraculously, people started bringing their on recycled bags. You are right, we can’t eliminate the stuff, but we can reduce the amount. Don’t you just love little rants!

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        1. We should call this blogging and the art of little rants. Love them. We have a few shops charging for plastic at the checkout and most people have their own bags at that point. It’s the little plastic bags collected on route around the supermarket that make the Australian plastic -less checkout experience so stupid. Sandra’s little produce bags look good, although quite expensive. May need to drag out the sewing machine.

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  5. I haven’t tried sourdough pancakes yet, but must. I’m known as “the bag lady” locally. I refuse plastic carry bags and always take bags to put my green groceries in. I bought nylon mesh bags years ago for this purpose from http://www.greensacks.com.au Brisbane consumes much more plastic than Melb, even the butcher got snarky when I asked if he could put my meat in paper not on tray wrapped in plastic. I do all that I can to avoid plastic, but I sincerely trust that the recycling system works because it’s almost unavoidable. Sadly it’s the oldies like us who seem to make the most effort, we’ll be gone when the s___ really hits the fan

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    1. I think you may be right regarding the shit hitting the fan. Now that parts of the ocean have become a giant plastic soup, we are well on the way. Takeaway coffee cups and plastic bottles are getting lots of public attention which is good. I think the problem is getting worse despite various campaigns and plastic bag free zones. Thanks for that link. Those sacks look great.

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  6. First – I love sourdough and miss the easily available bread we used to get when we lived in San Jose ca- and your pancakes look awesome with the lighting and I bet they taste better while camping – most food does!
    Thanks for the recipe too – how does a person get a starter?
    Also – looking forward to reading the article on plastics

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    1. You can buy sourdough starter in CA- the home of sourdough. They might send it in the mail. Once you have a starter, you need to feed it weekly and so it tends to build up.
      Sourdough bread is a wonderful bread for sure.

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  7. I don’t which I’d enjoy more, Francesca, your delicious looking pancakes or time spent on a warm beach. Right now with it snowing out my windows, our shoreline is one of the last places you’ll find me. Pancakes, however, I’ll enjoy year-round no matter the weather. Thanks, too, for the tip of using sourdough starter here. Why didn’t I think of that?

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    1. The lent thing has become more interesting in my later, ex- Catholic years – finding out more about my Greek neighbour’s orthodox approach to Lent which has led to some marvellous Greek vegetarian cooking. No whips or penance- just more interesting food.

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  8. Ah, I got my dates for Shrove Tuesday and St Patricks Day mixed up and missed it… Since I’m now a sourdough baker I need to get onto pancakes… any excuse but a good option for lunches which we preferably now eat at home… and need to introduce some variety to. We especially love them as they consist of leftovers and are free.
    As for plastic, I fear society is too far gone to eradicate it. We avoid packaged & processed, we try to consume less-responsibly and re-use but still… I can imagine what other households put out in their bins when I see what’s in their trolleys. You’ve reminded me I need to make more effort with bags in the supermarket… I like inspiration and can always do better.

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  9. Thanks for sharing that fascinating article. I was so shocked at the amount of packaging in the fruit & veg sections of UK supermarkets only to return 18 months later to find it had taken over here. Not only is it unnecessary, typically (and sneakily) it is usually more per KG. We haven’t used plastic bags for ages and haven’t missed them. I use the the mesh veggie bags or paper mushroom bags if we *really* need a bag for any fruit and even bring them back to re-use. I know there is a brand of toilet paper that comes in paper wrap so thankfully you are safe on that front but that’s just one of many challenges. I hope you blog about this (even though it’s really about self reflection and going without).

    Good luck with your Lenten challenge.

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    1. I am finding this challenge harder than I thought. I had a little stash of plastic bags at the beach camp and took these to the vegetable market to pop things into. Sandra of http://pleasepasstherecipe.com/ mentioned those mesh bags and I must get hold of some. My daughter visited Costco on the way down to the beach and gathered masses of plastic as a consequence. Consciousness about the problem needs constant reminders.

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      1. Just checking in. I have been re-packing my cupboards and thinking of you as I stack my plastic and Tupperware. Like cookbooks – I haven’t bought any in over a year but it still seems to accumulate. Not related to plastic but I have taken a couple of cloth serviettes to work and now try to eschew paper serviettes when they are offered, if I buy my lunch. You post has made me really think about my consumption.

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