Sourdough Pan Bread

We’ve been maintaining a sourdough culture for several years. It survived dehydration and rehydration when we moved from Seattle to LA and has been going strong ever since. It is based on the recipe in Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, which made sourdough seem so simple that it didn’t occur to me to get lost in the vines and groves of sourdough geekdom on the Internet. We bake bread and pizza with it all the time.

I discovered a pancake recipe that turned out to be much more like a fluffy flatbread. These are delicious and to my mind, more convenient to make than a loaf of bread because the only activity happens the night before, in the morning, and right before cooking with no rise time. Not having to wash a food processor sticky with dough also saves a lot of time.

Here is my take on the recipe, based on my Mark Bittman starter:

  1. Feed the starter its usual 2 cups white flour and 1 3/4 cups warm water in the evening.
  2. In the morning, stir the starter down and measure out 1 3/4 cups of starter. Put the rest back in the refrigerator.
  3. Mix the 1 3/4 cups starter with 1 1/4 cup white flour. Let the dough sit until dinnertime.
  4. Put a cast-iron pan on the stove at medium heat (for the sake of speed, I use two pans simultaneously).
  5. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda and use two forks to mix it into the starter. This will not be the easiest task, as the dough will be sticky and it will take a while for the eggs to be mixed in.
  6. Add oil or butter to the pan and wait for it to get hot.
  7. Make pancake sized-dollops of batter on the pan (it will be thicker than pancake batter) and spread them into circles. Cook on one side for a few minutes, then flip and cook on the other side.
  8. Serve immediately.

I’m not convinced I need the baking soda at all, but I have yet to try the recipe without it. The original recipe called for 1/2 tsp baking soda, and I halved it on my second try with no difference in taste or texture.


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