This morning I cooked up the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. They were 100% whole wheat but they were so light and fluffy they tasted like they were made with white flour. And the way they were made is the beginning of a grain revolution. Here’s the secret:
- Use heirloom grains.
- Mill your own flour.
- Ferment for a long time with a sourdough starter.
The heirloom grain I used is Sonora wheat, probably the oldest wheat in the Americas. It’s a soft, winter wheat traditionally used for tortillas.
Recipe (based on Nancy Silverton’s pancakes)
210 grams starter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
The night before making these pancakes I take a tablespoon of mature starter and add it to 100 grams of freshly milled Sonora wheat flour and 110 grams of water. This mixture will be the 200 grams of starter you’ll use in the recipe.
The next day mix all the ingredients together, fry them up in a pan and get ready to have your pancake paradigm shifted.
New frontiers in baking
Freshly milled heirloom wheat mixed into a very wet dough and fermented for a long period with a sourdough starter is also the way that Dave Miller, a Chico California based baker, makes his bread. He takes 100% whole wheat dough, every bit as wet and gloppy as pancake batter, deftly shapes it into loaves and bakes the best bread on the west coast. The Los Angeles Bread Bakers, a group I co-founded, is hosting a sold out class with Miller later this month and I hope to share on this blog what I learn. There is increasing evidence that this method of baking results in a much healthier product.