Alaskan Pancakes

A couple of weekends ago I had left the pancake batter to ferment for 24 hours. I knew it was likely to make more sour tasting pancakes, as after 12 hours or so the bacteria out pace the yeast and create more sourness, but when I tasted the first pancake off the griddle it was way too sour. My one year old agreed – he’d taken a bite and then dropped the rest on the floor. 

Looking at the rest of the batter I suddenly remembered something I’d read in one of Sandor Katz’s books. In Alaska during the gold rush sourdough was a vital food-stuff. It didn’t freeze (as long as you kept it on your person over night) and it kept people healthy. I had never heard about this and was fascinated but the practical fact was this: in order to take the sour taste out of their pancakes Alaskans added baking soda. And so with a bowl-full of sour batter I added 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda. The batter instantly foamed and the pancakes puffed on the griddle like I’d used buttermilk (of course buttermilk pancakes call for baking soda too!). They were light and fluffy and not one bit sour. Success. 

So here is the Alaskan version of the pancakes. I’ve also suggested adding all the water for the overnight soak as this makes a very smooth batter with no risk of lumps when you add the extra water in. 

Alaskan Pancakes

24 hours in advance or overnight soak:

  • 50g starter
  • 170g water
  • 150g whole wheat flour

When you are ready to make the pancakes add:

  • 75g melted butter
  • 19g honey
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch salt

Mix well, then add:

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cook on the griddle as you would any pancake. 


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