Are you Flipping Pancakes?

What’s for breakfast this morning? If you were smart you got it started the night before. Sleeping in a little bit later sounds good to me.

With a sourdough pancake recipe, by the time the coffee is ready, your griddle is hot and you’re making breakfast in your sleep!

Having sourdough starter on hand is great, not only for bread, but for dozens of other applications including these old school hybrid hoe cakes.

Starting your sourdough only requires flour and water, and once you have it around a bit, it quickly becomes your hungry little friend that begs to be used.

I’m pretty lazy with my starter, and tend to forget about it more than I care to admit. Although neglected, it still manages to survive with only a feed once a week.

Sometimes I think I can actually hear it crying in its little glass jar, begging to be used.

For detailed information on sourdough logistics, from starting one up to keeping it active, check out local writer Michele Genest’s cookbookThe Boreal Gourmet and the Sourdough Boot Camp section.

Alternatively, bang on a well-seasoned sourdough’s door and ask for tips. But asker beware: like me, other people are secretive about their personal dough formulas and may steer you in a hopeful, but hopeless direction!

Sourdough “Hoe Cakes” with Saskatoons

The addition of a flour and sourdough starter takes this 18th century “Hoe Cake” to the next level. The name comes from old school cotton pickers, who used their shovels or hoes to cook the cake over an open fire.

If you’re kind of squirrely about the sourness of the pancakes, you can add a pinch of baking soda to “sweeten” the batter. The baking soda neutralizes the sour flavour, bringing out more of the complex yeasty qualities.

Almost any wild berry tastes great in these, but I find the sweet saskatoon berries that grow around Dawson City are the perfect match for the slightly crispy and fluffy hoe cakes.


Approx 8-12 pancakes


1/2 cup sourdough starter

1 cup water

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup whole wheat or all purpose flour – more if needed

1 tbsp sugar or 1/2 tbsp agave nectar

To finish the hoecakes

1 egg

1tsp vanilla

1 tbsp veg oil or melted butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda plus 1tsp water (optional)

Flavour Garnish

1/2 cup frozen saskatoon berries (or cranberries or whatever else saved from summer)


Combine all the starter ingredients together. Leave covered on counter overnight.

Beat the egg with the oil, vanilla, salt and baking soda/water if using. Add to batter.

The mix should be of pancake batter consistency. If you keep a runny sourdough starter, you may want to add a bit more flour or cornmeal to make up for the extra water. My sourdough starter is generally mixable with a spoon, not too thin, not too thick.

Heat your cast iron pan or griddle to medium high heat. Brush with vegetable oil and ladle batter into pan, whatever size you like. Sprinkle with saskatoon berries. When many bubbles have formed on surface, flip and cook other side briefly to a golden brown.


To impress your friends at the next dinner party, make canapé-size cakes and top with birch syrup-flavoured yogurt or cream.

Or leave out the berries altogether and fire this batter in your waffle machine. Sprinkled with sugar, it’s an amazing cornmeal waffle experience!

Jeffery Mickelson, a professional chef, wild food fanatic and “offal” good guy, shares his passion for cooking at Questions about food? Write to: [email protected].

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