Gluten Free Sourdough Discard Pancakes

My gluten free sourdough starter Sophie is getting more bubbly each week.  She turned one month old recently, and I was getting ready to bake another loaf of bread in the morning.  But first she had to be fed a couple of times, and there was the inevitable discard.  You know I don’t want a bit of this magical culture go to waste, so I thought I would test a small batch of Sourdough Discard Pancakes.

It was my first-time making pancakes with sourdough and I was pleasantly surprised.  The familiar sweetness of pancakes with just the right amount of savory sourdough flavor, who knew?  Using the sourdough discard seemed to give my pancakes an extra high rise too.  These pancakes were hearty and filling, guaranteed to satisfy big appetites.

I made 5 pancakes with my test batch, about 1/3 cup batter each.  Double the recipe for a family breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. melted butter plus more for the griddle
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup sourdough discard
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 120g. gluten free all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

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Preparation:

Melt the butter in the microwave and set it aside to cool while you gather the other ingredients.

Combine the first 5 ingredients, butter through vanilla in a small bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Use a batter whisk to stir the wet and dry ingredients together with 2/3 cup milk.  If the batter is too thick, you can add a little more milk, 1 tbsp. at a time to reach the right consistency.

Preheat your griddle or nonstick skillet for 10 minutes and let the batter rest.

Hint: Do you know why they say the first pancake always comes out a little weird?  It’s probably because the griddle wasn’t hot enough. 

When you are ready to begin, butter the griddle or skillet generously and begin spooning out your pancakes.  I like a nice big pancake, so I scooped the batter out with a 1/3 cup measuring cup.  You can make your pancakes as large or small as you like.

Keep a close eye and be ready to flip the pancakes over as soon as the bottom is set, time will vary depending on how large you make the pancakes.

You should get a nice rise as soon as you flip them over.

When the second side is set check the center for doneness with a toothpick.  I had to flip mine another time or two.

Here’s breakfast!  This was a delicious and filling pancake; one was more than enough for me.  Look how thick it is!

Once they were cooled to room temperature, I wrapped the rest of the pancakes individually in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer safe bag.  They will keep for a couple of months in the freezer (at least) and can be defrosted and reheated in the toaster or the microwave.

Notes ♪♫ I used and recommend Better Batter Original Gluten Free Flour in this recipe.  It is a high-quality flour that will change the way you bake!

Use this link to shop Better Batter and remember to use my code MGFC30 at check out for 30% off your full price purchase.   

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Gluten Free Sourdough Discard English Muffins

The Adventures of Sophie the Sourdough

Recipes for sourdough discard are as plentiful as there are sourdough bread recipes.  These Sourdough Discard English Muffins were my first experiment using discard, as Sophie, my gluten free starter continues to develop.

So, what exactly is sourdough discard?  In simple terms, when feeding a new sourdough starter, you will be adding flour and water at least twice per day.  As your starter grows, part of the process requires that you discard some of the mixture.  This keeps the starter at a reasonable quantity while feeding the organisms that will eventually produce that wonderful sourdough flavor.

Even after your starter is well established and living in the fridge, you will still need to feed it regularly, and unless you are a prolific baker there will always be “discard”.

It’s all part of baking with sourdough, but that doesn’t mean your excess starter needs to be thrown in the trash.  I mean just look at those English Muffins!  I knew when I made this batch that Sophie and I were going to have some incredible BREAD adventures this year.

In some cases, recipes made with discard like this one are actually “sourdough enhanced”, meaning that they use the sourdough discard along with traditional leavening ingredients such as commercial yeast and/or baking powder.  When I first made these English Muffins, Sophie was about a week old.  Not mature enough to raise a loaf of bread by herself yet, but ready to enhance the flavor!  If you love bread like I do this recipe will make you very happy!

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Ingredients:

  • 75 g. (1/3 cup) milk (I used 2%)
  • 275 g. (1-1/8 cups) water
  • 15 g. (3 tbsp.) whole psyllium husk
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2-1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 140 g. (1/2 cup) gluten free sourdough discard
  • 240 g. (2 cups) gluten free flour (I used Better Batter Original Blend)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter for the griddle
  • cooking spray
  • cornmeal for sprinkling

Shop Better Batter and use my Code MGFC30 for 30% off full price items!

Preparation:

Combine the milk and water together and microwave 30 seconds.  Whisk in the whole psyllium husk, yeast, sugar and canola oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Use a dough whisk to combine the wet and dry ingredients with the sourdough discard.  Turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a cohesive dough.

Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350º and heat a seasoned griddle on medium.

Butter the griddle and coat 8 muffin rings with cooking spray.  Arrange the muffin rings on the griddle and sprinkle cornmeal inside each.

(Note-muffin rings are optional, the muffins will hold together without them.)

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 95g. each.  Rub a little oil into your hands, then roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten slightly with your palm.

Place one piece of dough into each muffin ring and sprinkle more cornmeal on top.

Cook on the first side for 5 minutes, then use tongs and a spatula to turn them over.  Carefully remove the rings with tongs and cook 5 minutes longer.

Transfer the muffins to a parchment lined baking sheet, and place in the oven for 10 minutes longer or until the internal temperature reaches 210º (check with a thermometer).

Cool several hours on a rack before toasting.  Wrap leftovers individually and place in freezer safe bags.

Notes ♪♫ I used and highly recommend Better Batter Original Flour Blend in this recipe (use the link for 30% off full price).  Remember, every gluten free flour blend is different, so if you use another brand you may need to adjust the flour to liquid ratio.

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Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

I have been a “Bread-head” for a very long time.  In fact, before my Celiac diagnosis, I baked my own bread every week, and even milled my own flour from organic wheatberries.  Eventually I began working with sourdough and had a very robust starter for 6 years.  But you know what happened next.  Once I learned that I had Celiac disease it all came to an abrupt end, and I had to go back to square one.

*In case you were wondering, you cannot convert a regular sourdough starter to gluten free.  Even after many feedings, the starter will still harbor gluten*

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That brings us to today’s post.  Gluten Free Sourdough bread has been at the top of my 2024 recipe bucket list, but first I needed an active starter.

Meet Sophie

Take a look!  After 2 weeks of feeding, she is bubbling away and ready to go to work.  I’m so excited (and hungry) for all the breads Sophie and I are going to make together!  We are already having fun with sourdough discard recipes.  So, stay tuned for more of Sophie popping up in my kitchen adventures this year.  And when you do, you can always come back to this post to read about how it all “started” (hehe)!

 

Key takeaways for establishing a sourdough starter:

  • Maintain a steady 75-80 degrees.
  • Use filtered water (not tap water)
  • Use whole grain gluten free flour, either sorghum or brown rice
  • Feed twice a day 1/4 cup (30 g.) flour and 1/4 cup (60 g.) water.
  • Discard between 1/4 and 1/2 cup daily.
  • Be patient, it takes longer for a gluten free starter to activate.

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Ingredients/Equipment:

  1. dried starter
  2. sorghum flour (you can also use brown rice flour)
  3. filtered water (not tap)
  4. 2 wide mouth ball jars, quart size
  5. cheesecloth
  6. proofing box (see notes)
  7. measuring cups
  8. wooden spoon
DAY ONE – A STAR IS BORN!
  • I opted for a dried starter because I just wasn’t having any luck with flour and water alone.  Try without it if you’re brave!
  • I fed the starter with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Sorghum flour.  You want to use a single whole grain flour, not a blend that contains starches and gums.  I love the flavor of sorghum, but you can use brown rice flour if you prefer.

  • I used bottled water (filtered) because our tap water isn’t the best.
  • You need at least 2 wide mouth Ball jars, so that you can transfer the starter to a clean jar every couple of days.

I ordered a proofing box.  I know, expensive but so worth it!

  • This proofing box was a game changer for me.  My New England kitchen is chilly during the winter, and I was not about to turn up the heat to 80º for 2 weeks!  This proofing box maintains just the right temperature and folds for storage when not in use.

  • You will need measuring cups for feeding your starter and measuring the discard.
  • About those wooden spoons-

**Old wives’ tale – you should never touch your starter with a metal instrument.  I am superstitious and only use a wooden spoon!

the process:

After several failed attempts at establishing a starter, I purchased this dried gluten free sourdough packet from Cultures for Health.  It worked like a charm, not a huge investment, and they have a 60-day guarantee.

Feeding schedule:

  • Feed 1/4 cup (30 g.) flour and 1/4 cup (60 g.) water every 12 hours.  Stir vigorously after each addition.  The consistency should be like a pourable pancake batter.
  • Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place in a warm 75-80º spot.
  • Each day, before feeding you will notice that a layer of liquid has formed on top of your starter.  It’s the alcohol (a/k/a hooch) formed during fermentation, and it gives the starter that sour taste and aroma.  Don’t throw it away, just stir it back into the starter.

  • After the first few days, you will need to discard between 1/4 to 1/2 cups each morning before feeding.  Stir the starter first, then measure out and discard 1/4 cup at a time until you have just one cup remaining in the jar.  Feed as usual and transfer to a clean jar.  This step is necessary to encourage growth of the wild yeast and good bacteria, I try to maintain about 1-1/2 cups of starter at all times.

(If you’re like me, you hate throwing anything away, so I’ll be sharing a few sourdough discard recipes!)

Gluten Free Sourdough Discard English Muffins
  • When the starter is ready to use it will be loaded with little air bubbles.  Mine was ready after 14 days of twice daily feeding.
  • Once your starter is established, you can store it in the refrigerator and feed it once a week.  Cover it loosely, never tighten the lid.

Notes:

♪ No proofing box?  You can try making an inexpensive one with a Styrofoam cooler and 25-watt bulb.  I had one like this that I used for years.  Alternatively, you can create a warm, draft free environment by placing your starter in the oven with the light on (may not be practical for the 10+ days needed to activate a starter).  Some people use the microwave or even the clothes dryer! (again, not practical if you do laundry every day).

For the bread scientists 🙋‍♀️ I fed my starter with equal parts whole grain sorghum flour and water by volume (1/4 cup), but this is actually a 200% hydration starter by weight, that is, 60 g. water to 30 g. flour per feeding.

♫♪ With just a little care a starter can live for many years.  If you are not baking often, be sure to feed your starter on a regular schedule, discard the excess and move it to a clean jar every week.

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