Sourdough pancakes are amazing! It is easy to start your own starter, and have it produce a good amount for pancake batter every few days.
The starter is the soul of these cakes. It's also the hardest ingredient to make or find. Although the best thing to do is get a “branch” form someone else's starter, it's possible to make your own from scratch.
I suggest that you keep your starter stored in the refrigerator. Some people leave them out at room temperature so that their cakes have a more “fermented” character. A few days of sitting out and your cakes will smell and taste like you poured a beer into the batter.
A good healthy starter will have a thin (about a quarter inch) layer of yellowish water floating on the top just before being used. Depending on how thick or thin you like the batter, you may stir this in or pour it off.
In a large bowl, mix one tablespoon of vegetable oil, one egg, and one tablespoon of “The White Powder” (One part salt, one part baking soda, three parts baking powder and five parts white sugar). Make certain that the powder is evenly mixed and broken up, otherwise somebody may get a small “clump” in their cake which is VERY bitter. Add one cup of starter and beat vigorously for no more than thirty seconds.
Start your griddles! The batter will take about three minutes to rise before it should be used.
During this time you should rejuvenate your starter. Add about a cup of flour and a cup of water to the starter. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense to take one something out and two somethings in, but for some reason one cup of flour and one cup of water make about one cup of white mud. As time goes on, you may need to adjust these quantities to keep from having starter that's too thick or too thin. It shouldn't be soupy and it shouldn't be pasty. Something in between. I tend to use just a little more water than flour.
Flipping: You only flip a pancake once. Always. Just once. So make it count. Do it right. Etc. Patiently wait by your cooking cakes until the bubbles in the middle pop and stay open. Then, and only then, flip. (too many people get excited and flip right away, thinking that if they flip too soon, they can flip again. No, No, NO.) The flip is an art. Some people can make big cakes in round skillets and flip them without a flipper. Some can squeeze six cakes into the space normally occupied by four and never have any cakes touch. If you have “mating” or “escaping” cakes, don't worry. It'll pass. For darker cakes, turn the heat up.
The second side should take about one third less time to cook than the first. It should also be about the same color (peeking is allowed).
Try to use the starter more often than once every two weeks. Some people have said that it dies shortly after that, others have said that it'll never die no matter how long you go without using it. I tend to agree with the former. If you don't use the starter for two weeks, take some out and rejuvenate it. Pancakes from two-week-old starter can have a lot of “character”.
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