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1/23/2012 12:11:42 PM

Tags: patron saint of bread, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Anne Bramley, sourdough, corn pancakes, spelt, yeast, Sue Van Slooten, Sue Van Slooten

I’m calling this blog Breadcrumbs, because it consists of a little of this, and a little of that. And a recipe. Some of these tidbits are recent results of ongoing research on my part, culinary and historical. First for the historical. Did you know that bread has a patron saint? I didn’t, but now I do. Her name is St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and she was known for giving bread to the poor. Anne Bramley’s book, Eat, Feed, Autumn, Winter mentions her briefly, which set me on the trail. She had a brief but incredible life:  Married at 14, had 3 children, built a hospital, dispersed her assets to the poor, and get this, with her husband’s blessing. All was not happy though, her Inquisitor beat her mercilessly, her family tried to use her as a political pawn after her husband died when she was 20, then she died herself at 24 in 1231. Her feast day is November 17.

On to sourdough. This is almost everyone’s favorite bread, in my opinion. In the year since I’ve started experimenting with sourdough starter, a number of truths have become self-evident:  It can go in almost everything, and can be made with other flours and yeasts. I have proven that a starter can be made with spelt flour, for example. I just substituted out the regular flour for spelt, following the same basic method, and viola. Sally, a good friend of mine down in Arizona, found links and ways to utilize gluten free yeast to make a starter. As you know, most starters start with traditional yeast. Red Star, SAF, and Bakipan (all under the same banner) all make gluten free yeasts, which you can order online.   

I developed this excellent pancake recipe yesterday, using my regular starter. (Incidentally, my pet starter is alive and well after a year!) The results were delicious. I took my basic corn pancake recipe, and substituted about half the milk with the starter. I find this technique works really well in all manner of baked goods, except for the sweeter stuff. The tartness of the starter doesn’t always work too well in say, biscuits for shortcake or coffee cakes, even if you sweeten the batter some. The sourdough will have its say. I also swapped out ½ cup of the regular white flour with ½ cup whole wheat flour, to add some more flavor and fiber.

Corn Pancakes Recipe

1 egg 

1/2 cup regular white flour 

1/2 cup whole wheat flour 

1 tsp salt 

2/3 tbsp Bakewell Cream (you can just use 1 tbsp baking powder here instead) 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

1/2 cup sourdough starter 

1/3 cup vegetable oil 

½ cup milk, or enough to get a batter consistency 

1 can corn niblets, with liquid (If you like it lightly corny, use the smaller can, but it is really good with the bigger, 14 oz. can for a cornier version) 


Put all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until everything is combined. Using a hot greased griddle or large frying pan, drop large spoonfuls of batter onto the hot surface. Brown on both sides (don’t overcook). I served mine with butter and maple syrup, but you can use any condiment you like. This makes about 15 3-inch pancakes, and you can always double the recipe if you have a crowd.   

My next take on this is to see if banana would work, but again, I suspect the sourdough might be too tart. Will keep you posted on that. Basically I find by just substituting the starter in for the milk in a lot of recipes, you can incorporate the sourdough taste into just about anything.    


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