Turning your starter into a batter not only opens up a world of savory pancakes but makes this a very easy recipe to make. Control the texture by making the batter thick enough to plop from a spoon (for crisp pancakes), or by making it soupy (for custardy pancakes). Use a 12-inch skillet for a pancake about 1/4 inch thick; you can use smaller or larger pans instead to create a thicker or thinner pancake (adjust the baking time accordingly using the cues in the directions). This recipe has been tested with Cairnspring Mills' organic whole grain Expresso flour and it worked great.
From Bittman Bread by Mark Bittman and Kerri Conan, with authors' permission. Photos by Jim Henkens.
6 to 12 hours to ferment the batter
1 hour to bake the pancake
4 side dish or 8 appetizer servings
100 grams whole wheat starter
200 grams whole wheat flour, plus 50 grams for feeding the starter
300 grams water, plus 50 grams for feeding the starter and more as needed for adjusting consistency
7 grams salt
1 bunch scallions
50 grams good-quality vegetable oil (about a scant 1/4 cup)
- Combine the starter, whole wheat flour, and 300 grams water in a large bowl and stir until combined. The batter won’t be smooth but should plop from the spoon or spatula. How much more water you eventually add will depend on how wet your starter is and your desired texture (see the introduction); wait to see how the batter develops as it sits before you add more. Cover with plastic or a damp kitchen towel. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 6 or up to 12 hours. Meanwhile, feed the remaining starter: Add 50 grams each whole wheat flour and water and stir or shake. Cover and return it to the refrigerator.
- Add the salt to the batter and whisk until it’s smooth, adding water a little at a time until it’s the consistency of thick pancake batter (for a thinner, crisper pancake) or thin pancake batter (for a thicker, more custardy pancake).
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 450°F. Slice the scallions into 1-inch pieces (at a diagonal is prettiest). When the oven is hot, put the oil in a 12-inch skillet and put the pan in the oven. Bake, checking frequently, until the oil shimmers without smoking, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, scatter the scallions into the hot oil, and spread them out across the bottom of the pan. Using a circular motion, pour in the batter and swirl it into the hot oil with a fork like you’re marbling cake batter.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake undisturbed until the edges and top brown and the pancake releases easily from the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, slide the pancake out onto a cutting board, cut into wedges or squares, and serve.