Sourdough Go-Withs and Irish Pancakes

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/sourdough-go-withs-irish-pancakes.aspx

Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine by Sue Van Slooten

Sourdough lovers, prepare to be amazed. You’ve heard of Silver Dollar Pancakes? Well, this is supersized pancakes. I got this recipe from a baking cookbook [1], and they are truly gigantic. Try dinner plate size. You pour your batter into a 10” skillet, and cook like a normal pancake, but the tricky part is flipping them. I do suggest one of those extra wide spatulas for this job. 

Before we get into the recipe proper, in discussing sourdough, and keeping my ear to the ground, I’ve come across something interesting regarding wine pairing and sourdough breads. About two weeks ago, I had to retrieve my son from a tall ship coming into port in Kingston, Ontario. While there, I figured I’d do some food shopping for gourmet items at a wonderful emporium called Cooke’s. This store is a Kingston institution, serving the public with all manner of condiments, chocolates, candies, cookies, coffees, and, deliciously, cheeses. Their Cheese Man, David, is absolutely brilliant. Say you want 300 grams of cheese, maybe their signature cheddar? Whack. Off comes 300 grams exactly. Amazing. Anyway, back to sourdough. I nabbed a one-page printout on proper cheese pairings with wines and other food. Guess what. Sourdough was mentioned specifically as one of the breads to go with blue veined cheeses, and the wines are Port, Sauterne, or Sherry. Beer is not forgotten either, as a strong Belgian Ale or a Barley Malt are recommended, along with pears and hazelnuts. Sign me up. Sounds like a delicious combination of fruits and nuts, cheese and beverage.    

On to the recipe for Irish (Ventry) Sourdough Pancakes. This recipe has been adapted from the huge and beautifully illustrated “Home Baking,” see credit below. You will need a large quantity of sourdough starter, 3 ½ cups to be specific, so here goes:

2 large eggs 

1/4 cup sugar 

1/4 cup oil 

1 tablespoon salt 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

3 ½ cups sourdough starter 

About 2 cups flour   

Place the sourdough starter in a large bowl. Stir in the rest of your ingredients, adding enough flour to make a thick batter. Heat your 10” skillet, I used spray oil to grease. Pour about ½ cup (you might need more, depending how thick your batter is) into the pan, swirling as you do so to cover the pan, just as you would if you were making crepes. Cook like a normal pancake, so that when the little bubbles form, you know that’s when it’s time to flip. Cook until the second side is golden. Continue until all your pancakes are baked (keeping them warm in the oven set low, or a warming tray until ready), and serve with the usual butter and syrup. Preferably real maple. One of these pancakes is a meal in itself, so this would be a good recipe to make for a weekend with the family or holidays. Makes about 6 or so huge pancakes. 

This recipe was adapted from Home Baking:  The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. New York: Artison, 2003. If you come across a copy, pick it up. They literally travelled around the world collecting bread recipes.