Making Delicious Pancakes Is Quick, Easy and Foolproof With The Help Of Sourdough Critters

No need to wake your pals up until it's time to make breakfast, unless you have a crowd of people coming over. Usually a jar of starter will make enough for up to 4 if necessary.

To get started, take everybody out of the fridge and greet them warmly. Continue to make small talk with them while you look for a suitable pottery, glass or stainless steel bowl. If they don't say much, remember that if it's been awhile since you used them you may be speaking to great-great grandsons and daughters of the sourdough buddies you put into the fridge awhile back. Once you settle upon a container, scrape all your buddies out into it.

The amount of batter you will make depends, of course, upon the number of people who will be eating. To the basic sponge of starter, you will want to add:

1 egg, then another for every two people who will be eating.

For the oil, baking soda, and salt, use the amount shown for up to 4 cups of batter, then increase accordingly. Sugar may be increased, too, if you want. Some people don't use sugar at all, however, which also works out fine.

2 Tablespoons of oil.

Enough milk to get a fairly thin batter consistency. If batter is too thick, add regular or evaporated milk. If too thin, add powdered milk or flour.

Beat thoroughly (by hand is fine), then add:

1/2 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda

2 tablespoons of sugar

If you have the time, let the batter sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. (Some people believe that it's a good idea to place the bowl of sourdough guys somewhere such that they can't see the pan warming up. I happen to think they absolutely live for hearing those two little words of 'batter up.')

Use slightly higher heat than you would for regular pancakes, as well as a somewhat thinner batter. Grease the pan lightly with any cooking oil. My method is to wipe a paper towel with a little oil on it around the pan before cooking the first pancake. That can make the first one a little oily, but the first one always goes to your faithful woofer, anyway, doesn't it? You know they actually prefer it that way. No further oiling of the pan should be necessary, and even that much usually isn't.

If you need to stretch the amount of batter, you can add some more flour and water or milk. If you do this, however, it dilutes the sourdough flavor. With even half an hour's advance notice, you can also do what I call a 'quick stretch.' This is done by adding as much flour and warm water/milk that you need, along with a tablespoon or so of sugar. Sourdough critters react to this sweet mixture sort of like kids do. Their respiration and activity level will zoom way up and before you know it you'll have more starter.

Want to use a special topping, or to add an unusual ingredient? Take a look at the section on Toppings and Variations.

Don't forget to replenish your starter before your partner or guest, in a fit of unbridled generosity caused by your great breakfast, spontaneously does the dishes including your starter jar!

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© 1999 Ranger Kidwell-Ross

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