Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes - Now They're Even Fluffier! | Chris Kresser
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Sourdough Buckwheat Pancakes – Now They’re Even Fluffier!

by Chris Kresser

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A few months ago I published a recipe for sourdough buckwheat pancakes. Elanne and I have done some more experimentation since then, and I think they’re pretty darn near perfection at this point.

The one quibble I had with them before is that they weren’t quite as fluffy and light as typical pancakes. Melissa McEwan from Hunt.Gather.Love made a suggestion in the comments section of the last post that solved that problem beautifully. Thanks Melissa!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

The (new and improved) recipe

Step one

  • 1 C buckwheat groats (raw, not toasted)
  • 2 C yogurt*

Place buckwheat in a bowl, cover with yogurt and soak for 12 – 24 hours at room temperature.

Step two

After soaking rinse yogurt from buckwheat. Put buckwheat in blender with approximately 1 cup of fresh yogurt. The amount you use depends on how thick you’d like the pancakes to be. Blend until smooth.

Rinse out bowl that buckwheat was soaking in and add the blended mixture back to the bowl.

Step three

Put a cast iron or heavy ceramic (i.e. Le Crueset) pan on the burner over medium to medium high heat and let the pan heat up while you are mixing up the batter. The secret to cooking pancakes is to make sure the pan gets hot before you add the batter.

Add to buckwheat batter:sourdough buckwheat pancakes with fruit

  • 2 whole eggs beaten
  • 1/2 c milk (or unsweetened almond milk or water); omit this step if you like thicker pancakes
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Mix in the wet ingredients. Then sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the surface of the batter and thoroughly mix it in.

Make sure the pan is hot and add a generous amount of fat (ghee, coconut oil, lard etc) to the pan. When fat is shimmering ladle pancake batter into the pan. Allow pancakes to cook almost all the way through before flipping. You can either continue to add fat before each new pancake or not. With more fat the pancakes are almost like fritters, with less they are more like typical pancakes.

Step four
Top with fruit, butter, kefir cream, whipped cream, coconut butter or coconut milk. You can also add a small amount of honey if you don’t have blood sugar issues, but I find they are sweet enough with the fruit alone.

*If you’re lactose intolerant, try making homemade yogurt and fermenting it for at least 24 hours. That will almost completely eliminate the lactose, and it’s likely you’ll be able to tolerate it.

94 Comments

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  1. I’m new to fermenting. When soaking the buckwheat groats, do you mix them with the yogurt, or simply cover the top of them?

    Thanks,
    Kay

  2. I actually commented on your original recipe not realizing this one has updated it. I have the same question about using starter that someone else asked above.

    A traditional buckwheat crepe or 49er style pancake would be made with starter that has been fed the night before. Or in some cases with unfedstarter. Either way most of the starter will have been fermenting for Much more than 24 hours and with a fully developed culture. So it’s a true traditional fermented food – and even when fried the pancake has the unmistakable smell and taste of an active ferment.

    The “tweak” of soaking overnight in yogurt or kefir does add in live LABs. But yogurt and kefir LABs don’t culture all that well in grains. And I guess I still have a prejudice that a traditional fully fermented sourdough cake might be healthier – perhaps in ways we don’t understand. But maybe not? You tell me!

    Anyway really … Just wondering about your thoughts on how traditional starters affect the nutritional value of grains. And also whether you’d recommend buckwheat starter for those who have the inclination and the refrigerator space to maintain one.

    Thanks!

  3. hi,
    (from hamburg, germany 🙂
    tried your pancakes this morning and they were great.
    topped them with some leftover mango-banana-sauce.
    thank you for sharing the recipe.

  4. Has anyone tried to make buckwheat sourdough breadcrumbs the fermented grouts like this? I would love to have a continuously supply like you do with traditional sour dough.

  5. I loved these pancakes but I would appreciate learning why one has to wash the original yogurt off the buckwheat and then blend in the fresh. Wouldn’t one get a better, stronger taste of ‘sour’, if you just blended up the fermenting mixture?

  6. I made some changes on the pancakes – I use 1.5 cups buckwheat groats and adjust the recipe accordingly. I like to make a lot so they last for a week for the whole family. Here are some things I do to make them more flavorful: I add less yogurt (when you puree the groats) and less liquid…instead I add melted butter or coconut oil and molasses (gives them that gingersnap cookie flavor). I also add 1 TBSP vanilla (more than the recipe calls for) and 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice (I make my own, but you can purchase this in a store). I add more salt than he calls for and sometimes I will finely chop a carrot or zucchini in the food processor and add that to the pancakes. Sometimes I will also add chia or hemp seeds. Sometimes I will add a mashed banana for sweetness. I use a large electric griddle so I can cook 8 pancakes at a time. I grease the griddle with coconut oil and cook the pancakes in that. Keep it on a medium temperature because these pancakes seem to burn more easily than regular pancakes. I keep my griddle at 300 degrees.

  7. Thanks for the recipe!

    I have two questions about the first step.

    1. Is the acidity of the yogurt required or the probiotics in it? I usually use store bought goat yogurt which is not really a yogurt, just a sour tasting milk goat with some fibers (no probiotics added and the milk is pasteurized). Will it work with such a “yogurt”?

    2. Can I soak the groats in a mixture of water and wheat-based sourdough starter instead of the yogurt? I consume (mostly fermented) wheat products in general and I don’t mind about gluten. I also have sourdough discard to spare.

    Many thanks! I can’t wait to make these. Buckwheat is so delicious and the pancakes look great.

  8. I was planning on making those to test my tolerance to buckwheat but it comes before the eggs reintroduction… 🙁 I guess I’ll just find something else.

  9. I discovered a couple ways to improve on Chris’ already amazing recipe. I found the batter a tad too thin, even though I always omit every kind of milk, so I added 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar; voila, a beautifully thick batter resulted, with no separation occurring during refrigeration…ever. I also forego the yogurt soak, choosing instead to let the groats germinate 2 days in a strainer, then toss them in the blender on top of one cup yogurt, and add the remaining batter ingredients ( I find that 1/2 tsp salt is perfect). For those like me who are trying to eat sugar-free, one dropper of rabaudiana stevia extract sweetens just enough, with zero aftertaste. Add the vinegar last, as it causes the batter to expand instantly. It’s best to stop your blender and whisk it in by hand to avoid an overflow. Pure maple extract is a nice variation to vanilla. Even my non-healthfood eating brother finds these irresistible. He’s the acid test!

  10. I was eager to try this recipe, but find it wasteful that one would toss yogurt in such a nonchalant manner. I lived in a third world country for years (and now live in France, where ingredients and even some of their discards are given respect), and throwing away ingredients that are not spoiled is something that I cannot do. Is that step truly necessary? I found a recipe at cultures for health where the buckwheat is soaked in yogurt or kefir and not thrown away (yes, that is the recipe I will be trying).

    • I have made the original version soaked in water, then rinsed, blended with more water and soured again. THEN I added yoghurt to the final blend instead of milk. Very fluffy pancakes and no waste.

      • Think that was Chris’s original recipe… which I came on-line looking for.

        I just couldn’t find it as the amended recipe seems to over-ride it. Might the new one be ‘yoghurt soaked pancake’ perhaps so we can enjoy the choice. I loved the original and note other objections to the new…. so……

        CHRIS please would you label the original recipe ‘fermented buckwheat pancakes’ to make it search friendly by your friends over here in the UK. Thanks

        I use a fab ground SPROUTED buckwheat which I fermented in water very successfully with soaked almonds (this time I’m trying soaked cashews) and I got just the runny consistency that I wanted, which was a lovely thin crepe consistency just like we used to eat in France. BRAVO!!!

    • I was shocked, too, at no mention being made of how to possibly reuse the yogurt that the buckwheat was soaking in. If it is somehow bad for us, maybe it would be okay for livestock and certainly for the garden or compost pile. At least these things should be mentioned.

  11. In an effort to make this more economically, could the 2 cups of soaking yogurt be modified to 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup filtered water?

  12. Still ”no-one” has answered ”anyone” about why you rinse off the first lot of yogurt… so wasteful.

    I grind my buckwheat to flour first.

    I then just soak my flour in whole kefir, (not just whey), overnight and have perfect pancakes in the morning. I put in almost as much kefir as the recipe calls for liquid, and make it up to the preferred consistency with water in the morning.

    I also culture a pot of cream overnight with a tbsp of whole kefir, and have lovely cultured cream to put on those suckers… all fresh and fantastic.

  13. Ooops. I meant to post this as a new comment, but accidentally put as a reply to some comment made several years ago.

    Chris, could you please notate the original directions somewhere–the ones using water instead of yogurt? I can’t do any dairy, of any sort, at any time, so the yougurt version is out for me. We just discovered and made your recipe (the water one) a few weeks ago, and I hadn’t yet had a chance to print it out yet. Thanks!

  14. Finally made this – wow they’re fantastic 🙂

    Slight modification – I only soaked in 1cup for 24 hours, then instead of rinsing I just added 2 more table-spoons and made as directed. Very nice

    Second time I used home-made yoghurt which was much thinner. Soaked with 2 cups for 24 hours, again didn’t rinse but instead just sieved out 3/4 cup 🙂 Made as directed – also great!

  15. i used to make butter milk (wheat) pancake before cutting out gluten.

    this looks like one can also use butter milk (whole fat) as well. ^_^

    thanks. cheers,

    • i tried both soaking in kifir or buttermilk. both works really well,

      i found if i mix 0.5 – 1 TB of starch (potato or sweet potato or tapioca), it sticks together more easily.

      yummy w/ sour cream or creme Frachie + fruits.

      but it also spiked my BG momentarily to 180 @ 45 min. postcrandial. although it did come down to < 83 in < 3 hr.

      cheers,

      • Tapioca is one of the most toxic natural “foods” (it’s more of a poison than a food, at least for a human). It may give you all sorts of health problems in the long run.

        As for the blood glucose spike: I would ferment the fruits before adding them in a recipe. That’s what causing your blood sugar spike.

  16. These are amazing. Best pancake recipe yet, and so easy. I am too cheap to soak these in yoghurt, so I use water and then yoghurt in step 2. They work fine without eggs even (egg allergy). I store the batter in the fridge and cook fresh batches as needed, in less than a week.

  17. This is by far my favorite recipe I found on your site. Everyone in my family loves it, so thanks a bundle! I’ve got a question concerning the fermentation of quinoa – do you happen to know what is the best way to reduce its phytic acid content and whether it is in fact necessary to make the nutrients more bioavailable? (I couldn’t find any information on the phytic acid in quinoa.) I was thinking that simply covering it with yogurt and soaking them for 24h might help but it’s just a guess based on your buckwehat pancakes recipe. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    • Here is a link to an article on the Weston Price website, which contains a lot of info regarding phytic acid in various grains. Towards the end, you will see some various ways to reduce it in quinoa. The problem is that there is no phytase in quinoa, so you have to get it from something else, like buckwheat! Yay!. If you soak the buckwheat for a day or two, the pink colored liquid on top is high in phytase, the enzyme that breaks down phytic acid. I just add it to the quinoa soaking water, let it soak for 1 or 2 days, then cook it. You can even store the phytase for a week or two in the fridge, but check for mold before you use it if it’s been stored for longer.
      http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

  18. Looks quite yummy! I make a histamine-safe version of these since becoming histamine sensitive…basically 1 cup sprouted buckwheat groats, 2 eggs, 5 T butter, ghee or coconut oil, 1/2 c flax milk/ coconut milk or other tolerated milk, salt. They need to be fried thin…as crepes. Then, sprinkle with Stevia powder. Delicious!

  19. Chris, I noticed that the new recipe eliminates the 2nd fermentation step that you used to recommend after running the soaked groats thru the blender. Is one fermentation all that’s needed?

  20. Chris could you please explain why it’s necessary to rinse the yogurt off after soaking? Is the phytic acid still present?

  21. Could I soak in fresh whey instead of whole yogurt?
    What is the difference?
    (I’d rather eat Greek yogurt and have whey left over for soaking than use whole yogurt) thanks!

  22. I made these today and we all loved them. I soaked with plain yogurt (not greek) as mentioned, rinsed in colander with water, blended in vitamix with 1cup plain yogurt, slowly until the consistency was a think liquid.

    I didn’t add milk, but did separate eggs, folding in the whites after mixing in all the ingredients, plus I added cinnamon. Then I let the mix sit for 20 minutes to allow for more fluffy pancakes.

    I tried topping with maple syrup which was great, then I tried the fruit with a sprinkle of yogurt which was amazing!

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for the post and all the helpful comments:)

  23. We’re on the SCD and can’t have any grains yet. In the big picture, I wonder why buckwheat isn’t allowed on this program. Does the yogurt alleviate the digestive issues that make it a no — go on the SCD program?

    • SCD is about the type of carbohydrates in the food–basically no starch allowed. That’s a separate issue from phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, which is what you’re after with soaking or souring.

  24. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this great recipe. We’ve tried it and loved the pancakes. I’m wondering why you rinse the yogurt and add new yogurt?

    Thanks,
    Kristin

  25. Hi there!

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’m so excited to try this! I do have one question though. Is it necessary to rinse the groats, throwing away the yogurt? If so, I’m really interested to know why! I would think the yogurt is nutrient filled, and yogurt is already sour… so I wouldn’t worry about it being rotten. But what do I know hehe 🙂 Thanks so much!

        • Jay: where in any of my topics do I advise a low-carb diet, except for certain conditions like GERD? Where do I say that carbs are “bad”? I have repeatedly pointed out that it’s the type – not the amount – of macronutrients that matter in most cases.

    • As I said in the article, I think buckwheat is well tolerated by most when prepared this way. That’s my experience working with patients and also hearing from many people on the blog that have tried this recipe.

  26. Tried this recipe and the batter was pretty runny even though I followed the measurements. The pancakes in the picture look compact, like they stayed where they were poured in the pan. Anyone else have this experience? How did you fix it?

    • Same here. I “fixed it” by switching to a small pan :).

      Next time, I’ll skip adding the almond milk, like Chris recommended for thicker pancakes.

  27. Made these this morning – freaken awesome!

    1 year later, I feel my Paleo journey is complete.

    Thanks Chris (and Melissa).

  28. Loved your recipe – tried it with kefir – came out great – we ate it with nothing added but raw goat milk butter

    Quick question – if soaking neutralizes the phytic acid – is it necessary to rinse the grains before blending or are there other toxins released during the soaking that require rinsing?

  29. Hey Chris

    This morning, all I had in the fridge was one extremely well boiled, almost pureed sweet potato and some eggs, plus butter.

    I figure lets try making pancakes (or maybe crepes rather) so just whipping/mixing the squishy potato with two eggs using a fork, then frying with butter produced some really nice pancakes.

    So good in fact, I recalled your buckwheat recipe which I havent gotten around to try yet. But this was so simple and good I had to post it here.

  30. HI Chris, thanks for the great recipe. I ended up using Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat Cereal, as I could not find whole buckwheat groats where I live. I think the cereal is groats that have been milled to smaller pieces. Anyway, I followed the recipe and as far as I can tell, the pancakes turned out great. My husband and I had them for breakfast today. To me they are so tasty they only require more butter on top–I did not miss the added fruit or maple syrup. I also think they would make a great crepe for a savory or sweet filling. This afternoon for lunch I am going to make up the rest of the batter into savory pancakes by adding minced scallions to the batter. Can’t wait. Thanks again for the recipe and for introducing us to the great world of buckwheat. I tell you, a person can learn something new everyday!

  31. Chis,
    The Buckwheat Pancake recipe looks awesome, I can’t wait to try it.
    Chemically, for better pancake rising, I would use baking powder with the recipe using milk. If using buttermilk instead, baking soda would do it. Baking soda is used in batters that are acidic and baking powder is used in alkaline batters. The soda reacts with the acid i.e. vinegar and baking soda so it needs an acidic solution to make it work …. Change to buttermilk and soda- or- milk and baking powder for best results.

  32. Outstanding! Just finished eating them, prepared as described, only substituting goat yogurt because of an allergy. Besides being a fine recipe, this introduces a method of using whole grains without grinding flour first. I’m going to try processing oat groats for muffins in a similar manner.

  33. We just had them for breakfast today, they were excellent, a real treat. So nice to have something “grain-like” but not really a grain at all. Made them with home-made yogurt.

  34. Hi Chris, looks yummy!

    Just curious, is the soaking process for the yogurt to gelatinize the starch in the buckwheat? Or is it to remove phytates/tannins etc?

    thanks

    • To reduce the phytic acid. Buckwheat has quite a bit of phytase, which means it’s easy to break down the phytic acid through soaking/fermenting, unlike other grains like oats that don’t have much phytase in them.

  35. The recipe sounds great and your photography of the finished dish is beautiful. But I was surprised to see you recommending pre-heating a non-stick pan over medium high heat. I know it makes the pancakes better if the pan is hot, but given the toxins they emit if overheated, that seems a little dangerous. I have a Cusinart Green Cuisine non stick pan that is supposedly coated with a ceramic finish, not Teflon, but they say to avoid pre-heating without food in it.

  36. Hi Chris,

    The recipe sounds like a keeper! We discovered a gluten-free Japanese restaurant at Mt. Shasta that you might enjoy if you are in that area. We loved their buckwheat tempura! They had some gluten-free desserts as well (not dairy free).

    For fluffiness for my almond flour pancakes I use:
    –eggs (hope you or your wife are not allergic)
    –baking powder but let the dough/mix sit for at least 15-20min so the bubbles form from the chemical combo…

    Instead of soaking in yogurt (for those avoiding casein) do you think soaking in a bowl of chlorine-free water (or coconut water) with a few capsules of live probiotics (20-60 billion CFUs/cap) would constitute sourdough? And might be less expensive? My sister made an awesome coconut milk yogurt with a capsule of Mercola’s 66 billion CFU probiotics!

    -G

  37. Hi Chris, They sound great! So would the buckwheat be OK for someone with a wheat/ gluten allergy? Did you use homemade yogurt or store bought. Would you recommend rice syrup instead of honey?

    • Yes, buckwheat is gluten-free and not even a distant relative of wheat. I used homemade yogurt, but you can use store-bought. Brown-rice syrup is an acceptable substitute. My wife likes them with some honey, I prefer them without any sugar at all.

  38. I make sourdough buckwheat pancakes too, and I just use my regular sourdough starter. No need for soaking in yogurt or milk, if you have a sourdough starter anyway. I let the dough ferment overnight, or up to say 16 hours. I too found that adding eggs improves the texture and strength of the pancakes. I cook a big batch and freeze most of them. I put them in the toaster when I want to eat them, and they come out very nicely.

  39. If you are lactose intolerant and have a yogurt maker, try making coconut milk yogurt. I like Aroy-D the best, just 100% full fat coconut milk. I made my first batch using the contents of two of my probiotic capsules and save starter from each batch. I add about 15 grams of tapioca starch while the milk is heating (for thickening) and sometimes whole vanilla beans (seeds scraped out). I like to let the finished batch chill for at least 24 hours before I do any stirring.

    This improved pancake recipe sounds good. I made my last batch with sprouted buckwheat groats, which would seem to improve the digestibility even more. I also recently came across a product called Coconut Nectar, the sap of the coconut tree: http://www.coconutsecret.com/nectar2.html. which would be delish on these. It would seem the sugar in it would be glucose, but I’m guessing so if anyone knows, please share.

    • I think the sugar content in coconut sap depends on who made it, i.e., how it was processed. The Coconut Secret folks claim theirs is raw, and mostly contains inulin (fiber), with a low glucose content. Most of the other company’s labels note a much higher sugar content than CS’s, but also don’t claim to be raw. Since inulin would not break down to glucose when cooked (it is mostly fructose, I believe, but bound up in such a way that we don’t digest it–only our bacteria can), I can’t account for the difference.

      Anyone else with more details, please chime in.

    • By the way. If your yougurt isn’t thickening with only probiotics, it isn’t very probiotic rich. The reason coconut yogurt doesn’t thicken well is that it isn’t the native diet for “yogurt” microbes. They do eat some of it and do so some reproducing, but not with the same zeal that they would do so in dairy.

      And they will die out–you can’t keep them alive in coconut (or any non-dairy “milk”) for more than a batch or two (requiring a fresh inoculation of organisms, if you want a semi-probiotic food). It’s probably best to consider non-dairy yogurts as tasty and satisfying (hoorey!), but not a great source of probiotic organisms.

  40. In order to make them fluffier, start by separating your eggs and beat the whites in a different bowl and set aside until you have all the other stuff mixed and ready to go. Then take a spatula and fold in the beaten egg whites. Fluff like mad! Also, you could substitute some homemade buttermilk or cultured clabbered milk for 1 cup of the yogurt if you’d not wild about spending too much on yogurt. Has anyone made this using homemade yogurt? What about soaking the buckwheat in homemade kefir? (Thinking out loud here).

    • I suggested that in the first recipe. Since I’ve been using the yogurt, I haven’t found it to be necessary and usually omit it as a step. But I think I’ll add it back in as an optional step.

  41. just thought of another question! sorry! High quality yogurt is expensive, and I hate to waste 2 cups that will be washed down the drain. What about soaking the buckwheat in kombucha and water or whey and water? Can’t wait to try these, they look delicious!

  42. This question is not meant to be snarky and, admittedly, I’m a nutrition novice.

    You mention in step four that “you can add a small amount of honey if you don’t have blood sugar issues…” I’m wondering: If I have “blood sugar issues” should I be eating this at all? My handy glycemic index-o-meter tells me that the buckwheat has a GI of 54 just one below the 55 for honey. Am I looking at this the wrong way? Does buckwheat impact blood sugar differently than honey? (There’s no fructose in buckwheat but plenty in honey, right?) Does the yogurt soaking mitigate the blood sugar impact?

    Sorry if my question seems dopey or is something that’s already been addressed. The recipe looks awesome and yummy! I’m going to try it, regardless.

    Thanks!

    • I have to assume that toasting would make the soaking not do what you want it to. When you soak, the water activates the seed’s enzymes, which in turn break down at least some of the phytic acid (which binds minerals) and trypsin inhibitors (which inhibit protein digestion and the activation of your other innate digestive enzymes). But as any raw foodist will tell you, heating your food destroys it’s enzymes. So soaking a heated (toasted) buckwheat kernel won’t accomplish much.

      I’m less sure about cracked buckwheat. Do the enzymes survive the milling process and/or the exposure to air? Seems unlikely, but I don’t really know.

  43. I can’t wait to try these. I don’t eat grain 90% of the time, but these look good. (Buckwheat is actually a seed from the rhubarb family isn’t it?)
    Anyhow, these look really wonderful. I can’t think of a better way to eat “grain”. Soaked, sprouted or fermented.

  44. Excited to try this, because the original recipe is a favorite in our house!

    Question: previously I soaked 12-24 hours, rinsed, blended, then let soak another 2-12 hours. Is the second soaking no longer necessary due to the yogurt?

    Thanks!

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