it all started about 100 years ago when i first decided i wanted to make bread. i ruined thousands of loaves of bread and pulled out as many hairs from my head trying to get it right. okay, maybe it wasn't thousands of loaves, but it still felt like thousands of hairs. my head really hurt, for weeks, months, as many as two years--thinking back. and i finally got it right.
not only did i get it right, but i've decided to branch out. not just bread, but sandwich, whole wheat, sourdough and even (insert menacing beat here) pancakes.
i thought i had pancakes perfected because nobody here was complaining and then i heard somebody say sourdough pancakes. well...why not? i'd tried almost everything else. but why would i want to make sourdough pancakes when the pancakes i was making were splendiferous?
well, i thought of a couple of reasons.
>>>they don't require any baking powder. regular pancakes take quite a bit because the flour is heavy.
>>>less oil. hey, this is a big deal. olive oil is expensive as are butter and any other good fat you can buy or obtain in this economy.
>>>less milk. hey, this is always a plus.
>>>less preparation time...ok, this was the deal maker. i still have to make the dough ahead, but i don't have to make it ahead (immediately) 2 hours before the meal. i can make it any time during the week (or two) that i want to make these and just pull the wad of dough out of the fridge when it's time to cook; throw in a few extras and go.
so...i save money AND time...where's the catch? i couldn't find one, so i gave it a whirl.
now, to be fair to those who sweat and fuss over the real deal...sourdough made from wild yeasts in the air, i am not a point where i need to take on another "pet." i already have 3 cats and 6 scoby's that i am currently feeding. i think, for now, that's enough. so where did i get my "sour" dough?
gwen was kind enough to share this "no knead" bread recipe on her lovely blog sometime ago. you can find the recipe here. i was intrigued. i tried, first her basic recipe with white flour and quick rise yeast and i was an instant success. (note: if you are a beginner, you might want to stop here, visit gwen's blog and start with her recipe. it's easy, it's cheap and it's a guaranteed success. this is always a good place to start if you're not familiar with bread making or sourdough in it's most basic [cheater] form.)
success! sourdough bread in a couple of days with maybe 5-10 minutes worth of work. how can this be a bad thing? then i used it for pizza. WOW. my family thinks i'm indispensable at this time. but that wasn't enough.
i already have a wheat grinder and it would be a shame, not to let my grinder and my beautiful wheat berries jump in on the fun. i started experimenting with different mixes of whole wheat and white and different yeasts until i came up with an acceptable mix that has both texture and taste and only requires a bit more effort than the original.
now what about the pancakes? well, we'll get to that, but first you have to know how to make the dough. my current recipe (subject to improvements as i see fit) is as follows:
hb's no-knead bread (sourdough starter) recipe
3.25 cups freshly milled hard white wheat flour
3.25 cups unenriched, unbleached AP white flour
1-2 pkgs of plain yeast (i use hodgeson mill, but any brand should do and i've found that one package works as good as two so long as you let it sit on the counter for 18 hours before putting it in the fridge.)
3 cups of water
3 T apple cider vinegar
1-1.5 T sea salt
take the water and vinegar and mix in a glass bowl. add the whole wheat flour. mix until the flour is evenly wet. cover and allow to soak for 2 hours. after two hours, add the other flour, the salt and the yeast. mix until evenly wet and put into gallon jar (glass). at this point, it will be sticky. if it's not, you may have used too much flour. adding a spoonful of water might not be a bad idea at this point. cover the jar (loosely) and set it on the counter overnight. after about 18 to 24 hours, put it in the fridge for a few days. TA DA! you now have sourdough. not in the traditional sense of the word, but believe me if you leave it in the fridge for another 3 days, you'll smell the difference.
for all the nice perks and bonuses you can get from this bread, be sure and visit gwen's blog too. all of the pizza crust and pretzle dog baking instructions are over there. i bake my bread the same way she does too.
now..for the pancakes. just what you were waiting for, right?
take your beautiful, sour pet out of the fridge. take two cups of dough and throw it in a large mixing bowl. add 2 eggs, 1/2 milk, 2 T sugar, 2 Tbsp of olive oil and any flavoring of choice (cinnamon, vanilla, etc.) and beat the tar out of it with a whisk. because the dough is so heavy, it takes a little bit of effort to thin it out.
and when you're finished, it will be a bit on the lumpy side.
when you're sure it's mixed as mixed is gonna get, throw in the baking soda (1 tsp). mix well.
keep in mind, your griddle should have been preheating at this point and should now be hot and ready to go. spoon 1/4 cup of batter
onto the griddle and cook until the top side begins to dry and most of the bubbles have popped. flip and allow to finish cooking on the other side. serve as you would any other pancakes and be careful. you're bound to eat too many. i did.
hb's sourdough (no-knead bread) pancakes recipe
2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sugar (or honey or whatever sweetener you prefer)
1 tsp baking soda
Mix all ingredients except baking soda in a large mixing bowl until mostly smooth. Add baking soda and mix well. Spoon by 1/4 cup-fulls onto hot griddle and cook.
see what they did to hubby? LOL