Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Since starting a whole wheat sourdough culture last fall, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use sourdough in the kitchen. Lately I got to thinking about using it to make pancakes and waffles, especially during our recent trip to Hawaii. On a trip to Kauai in 2008 we had some great macadamia nut banana pancakes at the Hula Girl Bar and Grill. Unfortunately we didn’t visit that island on this trip. But I figured we could make them even better at home, especially with the additional flavor boost from the sourdough.

A quick online search for recipes found a lot to choose from. One recipe from Dog Island Farm sounded especially interesting. I had all the necessary ingredients, including a proven sourdough culture. I was ready to experiment!

I was initially a little concerned about how 100% whole wheat pancakes would turn out. Would they taste like sawdust? Could they substitute for hockey pucks? But my fears were unfounded. These pancakes are amazingly light, and have a wonderful rich, full flavor. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to suit our tastes and my sourdough culture, but not a lot.

sponge after sitting overnight (click on any image to enlarge)

Like many sourdough recipes, you do need to plan ahead. About 8-12 hours before you want to have the pancakes, you make a sponge with water, flour and some mature sourdough starter. So if you’re having pancakes for breakfast, this means making the sponge the night before.

pancakes cooking in electric skillet

I usually use an electric skillet to cook our pancakes. I like it because it maintains an even temperature, so I can concentrate on other things – like spreading the batter and flipping the pancakes. A well seasoned cast iron skillet or griddle would work as well.

pancake ready for serving

For the batch in the below photo I added a few chopped macadamia nuts to the batter before cooking, and used a mix of half butter and half coconut oil. Berries and other nuts can be added too. We added some sliced bananas on the side and additional mac nuts on the top to make a breakfast that rivaled the one we had on Kauai – though we had to use our imaginations for the tropical breezes!

pancake breakfast

The batter can also be used to make waffles. My wife decided to try some in her pizzelle maker, and guess what? It makes great pizzelle too!

sourdough whole wheat pizzelle

Though I used a 100% whole wheat sourdough starter for this recipe, other sourdough cultures will work. If the batter is too thick after adding the egg and butter, it can be thinned with additional water or milk.


Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
adapted from this recipe

1/2 cup mature sourdough starter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (3 oz)
3/4 cup water (6 oz)
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 Tbs melted butter or oil
1/2 cup fruit or nuts(optional)

1. About 8-12 hours before making the pancakes, mix 1/2 cup sourdough starter with the whole wheat flour and water in a non-reactive mixing bowl. Cover loosely, and let the sponge sit at room temperature.
2. Stir the honey, salt and baking soda into the sponge, then whisk in the egg and melted butter or oil. Avoid over beating the batter.
3. Let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, while heating griddle or electric skillet to around 375°F.
4. Lightly grease griddle with butter or oil.
5. Spoon batter onto griddle or hot skillet (1/4 cup batter will make about ten 5″ pancakes).
6. Let pancakes cook until edges look dry and bubbles slow down or stop forming on surface. Flip pancake, then cook another 20-30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Servings: 10

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 104 calories, 47 calories from fat, 5.3g total fat, 33.4mg cholesterol, 250.8mg sodium, 52.8mg potassium, 12.6g carbohydrates, 1.6g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 2g protein, 11.7mg calcium, 3.1g saturated fat.

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7 Responses to Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

  1. Lynda says:

    I just love sourdough pancakes. I got my start from my grandmother. My grandpa had whole wheat sourdough pancakes with honey from his bees every day of their married life. My grandfather even grew and ground his own wheat…that’s why I do the same thing….

  2. Liz says:

    Is there anything that can’t be improved with a sour dough starter?

  3. mandy says:

    Oh, these look so good!

    I bet the sourdough pancakes would be good with a bit of buckwheat as well.

    The idea of Macademia’s IN pancakes just made my day.

  4. Aimee says:

    Dave, you inspired me last year to make my own sourdough starter and I’ve been baking fantastic bread and making pancakes for the past 4 months! At first I made bread with unbleached white flour but I’ve gradually progressed to a bread that is 70% whole wheat, 20% rye, and 10% unbleached white. I make my pancakes in a similar way to your recipe, by starting a sponge the night before. Now that I know the whole wheat pancakes were just as light and fluffy, I’ll have to try them out! I’ve been trying to stick with whole grains in my diet lately and avoid refined and processed foods, so your report on these pancakes makes me happy – thanks!

  5. kitsapFG says:

    Mmmmm… pancakes! Especially pancakes with bananas and macadamias! I have not made any for a while and now I am Jonesing for them after seeing this post.

  6. Summer says:

    Hello. These pancakes burn in my cast iron skillet unless I put it on the lowest heat setting on my stove. Is there a trick to preventing this? Thank you so much

    • Dave says:

      I think temperature control is the key. A low heat is best for the pancakes, so it is possible your stove and skillet combo are too hot.

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