Not sure what to do with discarded sourdough starter? Make these tangy, mind-blowingly delicious (and vegan!) sourdough discard pancakes.
Sourdough bread has long been a love of mine. Well, to be fair, I’m obsessed with bread in general (focaccia, challah… you name it!), but sourdough is definitely my favorite child. Nothing beats the crackly crust and chewy sour interior of a freshly baked sourdough boule.
I’ve been baking my own sourdough for almost two years and the one part that never seemed to make any sense is discarding most of the starter each time you feed it. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but when I first started my sourdough journey, I would literally flush my discard down the toilet. *Insert weeping emoji here*
But then (!), I came across sourdough whisperer Mike Greenfield’s genius scallion pancake idea and learned that discard is just as valuable as a fed (a.k.a. “ripe”) starter. Not only is it totally edible, but there are a thousand ways to use it up – in crackers, English muffins, waffles, and pancakes, to name a few. So now, whenever I feed my starter, I siphon the discard into a separate container and refrigerate it until I’m ready to make pancakes (up to two weeks).
These sourdough discard pancakes have recently become a weekend staple at our house. If you’ve been confused about what to do with your discard, look no further!
What Makes These Pancakes Special
What sets sourdough discard pancakes apart is their funky sour flavor (reminiscent of Ethiopian injera). This makes the ‘cakes more savory and well-rounded, too, which plays especially well with sweet toppings like fruit and maple syrup. Secondly, these ‘cakes are extra fluffy and airy, thanks to the fermentation action.
These sourdough discard pancakes are based on King Arthur Flour’s base recipe. I’ve veganized and healthified it, though, by using “flax eggs”, plant-based milk instead of buttermilk, and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose.
The only [teeny-tiny] downside is that the batter has to rest overnight, so there’s a bit of planning ahead involved. I typically start it on Friday or Saturday night so we can have pancakes for breakfast the next morning.
To take these vegan sourdough pancakes to the next level, add some chopped walnuts and a diced banana to the batter, or a few handfuls of blueberries. You can also swap out a half-cup of the flour for a half-cup of cornmeal for johnnycake-like pancakes.
This recipe makes about eight pancakes, which Rene and I easily devour between the two of us. If you’re feeding more than two, I suggest doubling the recipe.
About the Strawberry Chia Jam
Chia “jam” is a type of fruit spread that’s thickened with chia seeds instead of pectin. It’s an express train to homemade jam, basically, with no canning required. Another plus: chia jam is usually sugarless (or low in sugar) and can be made with whatever fresh or frozen berries you have on-hand.
If you don’t want to make the chia jam, serve the pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fruit, store-bought jam, homemade Nutella, nut butter, and/or vegan yogurt.
Not sure what to do with discarded sourdough starter? Make these tangy, mind-blowingly delicious sourdough discard pancakes.
For the overnight sponge
- 1/2 cup discarded [unfed] sourdough starter
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour (See Note 1)
- 1 cup unflavored unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the pancake batter
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (or ground chia seeds) (See Note 2)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (See Note 3), plus more for the pan
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (either white, apple cider, wine, or sherry vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Chopped toasted nuts, for serving (optional)
For the strawberry chia jam
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1–2 tablespoons maple syrup, date syrup, honey, or sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- The night before your pancake breakfast, start the overnight sponge. In a large bowl, combine the discard, flour, milk, and sugar, and stir to incorporate. Cover with plastic wrap and rest overnight at room temperature (about 12 hours, give or take).
- The next morning, [if making] start with the chia jam. In a small pot, combine the berries and vanilla with 2 tablespoons water. Cover with a lid and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the berries soften and start to release their juices, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on if your berries were fresh or frozen.
- Remove the lid and mash the berries with a potato masher or fork. Continue to cook uncovered for a few minutes more, until the jam thickens a bit. Turn the heat off and sweeten, if desired. Stir in the chia seeds and set aside to thicken for at least 10 minutes. (Store cooked chia jam in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week).
- Finish the pancakes. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water and let stand while you prep the rest of the ingredients, 5 to 10 minutes. This should form a gel-like consistency known as a “flax egg.”
- To the bowl with the overnight sponge, add the oil, vinegar, salt, baking soda, and the “flax egg”. Stir to combine.
- Heat a large non-stick griddle or skillet over medium-low heat and add a little oil to lightly coat the bottom. Using a 1/4-cup measure or a ladle, ladle the batter into the skillet, making 2-3 pancakes at a time. Cook until they start to look dry around the edges and bubbly on top, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
1. White whole wheat flour is sometimes labeled “whole wheat pastry flour.” If you can’t find it, use all-purpose.
2. If you’re not vegan, skip the “flax egg” step and use 1 regular egg.
3. I like to use virgin coconut oil here because I love the flavor. However, you can use refined coconut oil, or any other neutral-tasting oil, like avocado or canola.
- Serving Size: 3 pancakes
- Calories: 366
Keywords: breakfast, pancakes, sourdough, discard, strawberries