Sourdough Pancakes

Recently I’ve made several recipes – like this sourdough ciabatta – where I have converted my rye starter to a white flour starter, and then used that to make a second “firm starter”. The firm starter method works really well, and I will continue using it for a while, but it does have one side effect. In order to convert the starter and get enough of it to use in the recipes, I have to use a larger amount of flour and water than usual, and it leaves me with left over starter.

Light and fluffy pancakes, with a slight sourdough flavour.

Many sourdough recipes will tell you to discard half of the starter when refreshing daily. I’ve never really seen the value of that. With careful planning, and using a strong rye starter, you can usually make exactly the right amount and not have to waste any. Being frugal (or cheap…) I can’t stand wasting ingredients. Because converting to white starter creates a surplus, I needed a way to use it all up.

Enter the sourdough pancake. We often have pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday morning, but I had never had sourdough starter left over before to use in the recipe. After the first time, however, we were converted (bad bread pun). Last weekend, I actually deliberately made too much starter so that I had an excuse for making these pancakes… They are partially leavened by baking powder, and partially by the already active starter, so they are light, fluffy, and have a hint of the sourdough flavour.

Sourdough pancakes – serves 4 (6 pancakes each)

  • 160g plain flour
  • 7g salt
  • 9g baking powder
  • 40g sugar
  • 150g milk
  • 350g white starter @ 130% hydration
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to a low temperature and place plates inside to keep warm.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the milk, starter, and eggs in a separate bowl and whisk together.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry to make a thick batter (see photo, below).
  5. Heat a large heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat and brush lightly with butter.
  6. Using a large serving spoon, spoon out the batter into the frying pan. I make four pancakes at a time (see photo, below). Wait until bubbles appear on the surface of the dough, then turn with a spatula. Cook until browned, then remove to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Serve immediately with your choice of maple syrup, jam, lemon and sugar (or all of them…)
The batter is slightly thicker than a normal pancake batter.
Cook on one side until bubbles start to appear all over, and then carefully flip

Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf

This is just a quick post with one of my favourite fruit loaves – a cinnamon, sultana, and walnut fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the middle. Using plain (all-purpose) flour gives the loaf a flakier, more crumbly texture than strong bread flour, making this loaf somewhere between a loaf and a cake. It’s also great toasted with fruit jam.

A light, flaky fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the centre.

Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf – makes 2 loaves

  • 450g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 20g white sugar
  • 9g salt
  • 6g instant yeast
  • 5g ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 30g butter at room temperature
  • 110g whole milk at room temperature
  • 170g water at room temperature
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • Additional 1/4 cup of white sugar plus 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, combined
  • Poppy seeds, optional
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the fruit, walnuts, and cinnamon/sugar mix in the bowl of a mixer or in a large bowl.
  2. If kneading by hand, combine the ingredients, then turn the dough onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. If using a mixer, combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment on a slow speed, then knead for several minutes with the dough hook until the dough is elastic. Turn out onto the counter.
  4. Spread the dough out and pour over the sultanas, currants, and walnuts. Knead for another 2 minutes by hand to combine the extra ingredients. Shape the dough into a rough ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and bulk ferment for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into balls. Rest for 5 minutes. Gently press the dough into a rectangle, working with one piece at a time. Spread the cinnamon/sugar mix over the dough, and roll it up to create the swirl (see photo below). Pinch the seam together, shaping for a loaf tin.
  6. If using, roll the loaves in poppy seeds. Place into greased loaf tins (8.5 x 4.5 inch). Dust the tops with flour or mist with spray oil. Cover loosely with cling film. Proof for 1-1.5 hours until risen about an inch over the lip of the loaf tin.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180˚C with the rack on the middle shelf.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.
  9. Remove to a wire rack and cool for at least an hour before slicing.
The dough, covered in cinnamon sugar, read to roll into a loaf

Fig and raisin sourdough

I have tried a lot of different recipes for sourdough fruit breads, and with varying degrees of success. Some call for the fruit to be mixed in right at the start, others for it to be folded in or rolled like a Swiss roll; each method has its positives and negatives, and I have tried to blend the best bits together in this recipe.

The first fruit sourdough recipe I tried was from Yoke Mardewi’s Wild Sourdough – an excellent recipe book with a wide range of sweet and savoury breads. It was a fig and walnut sourdough, made from a blend of spelt flours and with a swirl of fruit and nuts through the centre. Although it tastes fantastic, I have had a few problems with the recipe in the past. The biggest problem has been that the fruit and nuts in the centre, if the dough is not rolled tightly and evenly, tend to spill out  – something which is an issue when you throw a couple of slices in the toaster. Also, it can be hard to ensure that the very centre of the dough is cooked through, surrounded as it is by a thick layer of fruit.

Roughly chopped figs melt into the finished bread
Roughly chopped figs melt into the finished bread

The flavour, however, is worth the trouble, and is the inspiration for this bread. For the method, I have continued playing around with my current favourite – a mix of Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s “quick knead” and Ken Forkish’s overnight sourdough.

The finished loaves are full of fruit
The finished loaves are full of fruit

Fig and raisin sourdough makes 2 large loaves

  • 400g rye starter @ 150% hydration
  • 400g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 700g lukewarm water
  • 375g figs, roughly chopped
  • 100g raisins
  • 20g salt
  1. Refresh the starter 8 hours prior to making the bread.
  2. Combine the starter, flours and water. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the fruit and salt. This is a very wet dough, so dip your hand into a bowl of water and begin “stretching and folding” the dough to incorporate the fruit and salt. Rotate the bowl with your free hand as you do so – knead like this for a few minutes until well combined.
  4. Rest for 10 minutes, then repeat the stretch/fold 10 times. Rest for another 10 minutes and repeat.
  5. Rest the dough for 30 minutes. Dip your hand into the water and stretch fold another 10 times. Repeat this process every 30 minutes twice more. (So, by this point you have done a stretch fold at 0, 10, 20 minutes, and then 3 times more over an hour and a half.)
  6. Bulk ferment for 2 and a half hours.
  7. With a wet hand, scoop the dough onto a very well floured surface. Prepare two bannetons or bowls by flouring well with rice flour. Divide the dough in half and gather each half into a loose ball. Rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Gather each half into a ball again, flouring with the excess flour from the work surface. Transfer each to a banneton or bowl, place into a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Preheat the oven to 240˚C with a Dutch Oven (Le Creuset style pan with lid) on the middle shelf.
  10. Transfer the first loaf to a floured peel or baking sheet. Remove the Dutch oven, remove the lid, and slide the dough inside. Replace the lid and place into the oven.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, reduce the heat to  230˚C and bake for 15 minutes with the lid off. Cool on a wire rack.
  12. Repeat steps 10-11 with the remaining loaf.
The finished fig and raisin loaf
The finished fig and raisin loaf
The inside of the fig and raisin loaf is filled with fruit and the crumb is extra moist
The inside of the fig and raisin loaf is filled with fruit and the crumb is extra moist


The crust is dark, thick and crisp, with fruit poking out randomly
The crust is dark, thick and crisp, with fruit poking out randomly