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

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grain gluten free pancakes
These guilt-free pancakes are perfect for a weekend breakfast.

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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    • Don’t forget there’s a cup of fresh yogurt blended with the buckwheat. That should provide enough acidity.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Another way to make them fluffy is to separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in whites just before cooking.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Michelle: it doesn’t have quite the same effect. I know it’s luxurious – but it’s a special treat!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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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