Photo by Shannon Stonger

By Shannon Stonger
Health Impact News

Light but substantial, fluffy and tangy; sourdough works wonders on pancakes. Not only do sourdough pancakes have a flavor and texture that cannot be beat, they also won’t leave you feeling bogged down after breakfast.

Sourdough starter can be used not only for those fabulous loaves of tangy artisan bread, but for any baked good or grain-based treat. Muffins, quick breads, bagels, yeasted loaves, and even pancakes can all be made better through the fermentation of sourdough. Furthermore, using sourdough with freshly ground whole grains is a wonderful means of creating nourishing versions of your family’s favorite foods by improving both the healthfulness and the flavor of pancakes.

Better Pancakes with Sourdough

The fermentation process breaks down the fibers in whole grain flour. This makes the grain easier to digest since the fiber is broken down before it even enters your digestive system. The breaking down of the fiber tends to create lighter baked goods, especially when utilizing grains that contain wheat, as the fiber in the whole grain can cut through the gluten and hamper the protein’s ability to trap the carbon dioxide that creates a lighter baked good. If the fiber is broken down through fermentation, the end result is often fluffier and more akin to a familiar white flour product.

The fermentation process enhances the vitamin content of food. This is most generally seen with B vitamins, as fermentation often increases or imparts B vitamins beyond what the raw food being fermented naturally contains.

The fermentation process provides better flavor. The souring of grains as has been practiced for generations may not be something the modern palette is used to, but it can actually make familiar foods taste better than their non-fermented counterparts. The tang in sourdough pancakes boosts the other flavors – namely traditional fats and sweeteners – often served with pancakes. This creates a sweet-rich-tangy combination that can simply not be had when one does not sour the pancake batter.

Using Various Grains

This recipe works best with einkorn or whole wheat flour but adaptations can be made to utilize other glyphosate-free grains such as rye or millet.

Rye flour generally absorbs moisture more readily than wheat flour. This can cause the end product to be gummy if the liquid is not adjusted in the recipe. For that reason you might consider subtracting ¼ cup of milk in the overnight fermentation step. The batter will be thicker than wheat pancake batter but it should perform well.

Millet flour behaves very differently because it lacks the gluten in einkorn, wheat, and rye. For that reason it can be used in conjunction with one of these grains in a ratio of 1:1. In this recipe that would be 1 cup millet flour and 1 cup of gluten-containing flour.

If a gluten-free millet pancake is desired, a few modifications are necessary. Millet requires less moisture, so starting with the half of the amount of milk for the overnight fermentation is best. The final batter should be a bit thicker than wheat pancake batter in order for it to hold up on the griddle. After the other liquid ingredients have been added, you may add a little more milk if the batter appears to need thinning. Finally, the pancakes should be cooked in smaller sizes so that they will hold up during flipping. Aim for 2-3 inches in diameter or 2-3 Tablespoons of batter per pancake.

Sour Pancakes without Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starters are ideal for making pancakes because you can use the portion you might discard during daily feedings to prepare the morning pancakes. If you do not have a sourdough starter up and running, there are other options for souring your pancake batter.

Milk kefir provides an excellent medium for fermenting grains. Much like a sourdough starter, it contains a colony of both bacteria and yeast that feast on the sugars present in milk and would do the same to sour grains. This then ferments the grains, providing a very similar end product to using a sourdough starter. If using milk kefir simply omit the sourdough starter and replace the milk with kefir.

Yogurt and kombucha can also be used but the results will be a little bit different than using sourdough or milk kefir. Replace half of the milk with yogurt and omit the sourdough starter. Or, replace ½ cup of the milk with kombucha and omit the sourdough starter.

Whole Grain Sourdough Pancakes


  • 2 cups whole grain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter, plus more for cooking and serving
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Sour the Batter: 12-24 hours before you wish to cook and serve the pancakes, combine the flour, milk, and sourdough starter in a mixing bowl. Stir just until combined. Cover and place dough in a warm place to ferment.
  2. Mix and the Batter: At this point the batter may have risen and will smell slightly sour and yeasty. Once the fermentation is complete, preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil or butter and set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Pour the eggs over the fermented dough and sprinkle over the sea salt and baking soda. Begin mixing these ingredients into the fermented dough while drizzling in the melted fat. Stir all ingredients until just combined.
  3. Cook the Pancakes: For large pancakes, ladle ½ cup of the batter onto the hot griddle. Allow to cook for 2-4 minutes or until the edges begin to set up and bubbles are appearing on the surface. Carefully flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Move to a platter and continue cooking the remaining batter.
  4. Serve with grass-fed butter or coconut oil and raw honey or maple syrup.