Friday, October 29, 2010

Award-Winning Sourdough Pancake Recipes

If you followed the story of The Amish Friendship Bread Pancake Challenge, you know that my friend Daniel and I spent our Sunday making various pancake-like batters based on the use of the starter for Amish Friendship Bread.  Thanks to our esteemed panel of judges, the company was great and it was a wonderful Sunday dinner, in spite of the fierce competition.

It all started when my friend Amy gave me the starter, also known as the "Mother", and I made the bread without much success.  I even went as far as to ask the question "Friend or Foe?" and ultimately declare this bread a "Foe".  When it came time to divide the dough, I decided to keep some to try again, but I didn't know who else I should give it to.  Amy wouldn't take it back.  Daniel said he thought this process sounded worse than a chain letter or zucchini, so of course I gave some to him.  In retaliation, he challenged me to find a good use for the stuff... and the Amish Friendship Bread Pancake Challenge was born.

I described the contest itself and how the judges responded to the various recipes in a previous post, but several days later Daniel wrote in with the following complaint.  I refuse to comment on this issue, as I believe the judges' decision is final.  But I will faithfully reprint Daniel's letter to me, as well as the recipes for each entry in the competition and let readers decide for themselves.   (If you do decide to try one of these recipes, please write to me and let us know what you think!)

Letter from Mr. Daniel Marlos, dated October 27, 2010, 6:16 AM
I do not want this to come off as sour grapes at the Palaczinta being disqualified for violating category standards, but I have found numerous internet references on food websites to the alternately spelled Palacsinta being Hungarian pancakes. Yes the batter is thinner, and it is true that a door knob would taste good with a dollop of sour cream, but disqualification? 
I have been asked to clarify the spelling of Palaczinta, and I cannot.  Each of my Eastern European grandparents came from a different Soviet block country, though the exodus occurred prior to or at the beginning of the Soviet regime. To further complicate matters, the Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovak and Ukrainian foods that I grew up eating are all similar in many ways, though they may be distinguished by having different names with different spellings. Grandma Nanowsky called this Palaczinta, but she did not spell it, and she was Slovak, not Hungarian. She married my Ukrainian grandfather, so we also called this same meal Nalusnyky. 
I chose to make a sweet version that included some grated orange zest which came from a French recipe I found in Fanny Farmer's cookbook. Grandma Nanowsky would never have done that. She would have filled the Palaczinta with jelly or cottage cheese or sauerkraut, but the sour cream was a necessary garnish for all. I guess the bottom line is that my version of Palaczinta is suffering from a serious identity crisis, and being disqualified from a pancake contest would make them weep if they were capable of weeping. Thankfully, none survived the contest as they were eagerly consumed.

Palaczinta (made with Amish Friendship Bread Batter)
by Daniel Marlos
Daniel's Palaczinta made with Amish Friendship Bread Batter.

It is probably impossible to improve upon traditional Palaczinta, but faced with a pancake cook-off challenge contest, the difficult task of what to do with an increasing quantity of Amish Friendship Bread Batter multiplying in the kitchen, I attempted a variation on the traditional recipe.

  • 2/3 cup Amish Friendship Bread Batter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Orange or Lemon Zest

Combine ingredients into a runny batter.  Add a pat of butter to an 8 inch cast iron skillet.  Put  1 ½ gravy ladles of batter into the hot skillet and swirl around until the pancake batter covers the entire bottom of the skillet.  Cook over medium heat until the top is cooked thoroughly.  Be careful not to burn the bottom.  Roll up with jelly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Cornmeal Friendship Pancakes
by Daniel Marlos

  • 1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Batter
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix buttermilk, egg and butter in a small bowl.  Add the Amish Friendship Bread Batter. 
Mix dry ingredients.  Add to the wet ingredients and leave lumps.
Ladle batter onto hot cast iron skillet greased with bacon grease or lard.
Serve with maple syrup and butter.
Amish Friendship Bread Pancakes, Two Ways... 

Amish Friendship Bread Sourdough Pancakes
by Susan Lutz

  • 1 cup Amish Friendship Bread starter on Day 10 after feeding it with 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix Amish Friendship Bread starter, 2 eggs, canola oil and milk in a bowl.
Combine salt, baking soda, and flour in a second bowl and add to wet ingredients.
Heat cast iron skillet to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon butter until melted.
Ladle batter into skillet to make pancakes until all batter is used.
Serve with maple syrup and butter.
Makes 6 to 8 large pancakes.

Susan's Amish Friendship Bread Buttermilk Waffles.
Amish Friendship Bread  Buttermilk Waffles
by Susan Lutz

  • 1 cup Amish Friendship Bread starter 

    on Day 10 after feeding it with 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup sugar.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
Mix Amish Friendship Bread starter, 2 eggs, canola oil and buttermilk in a bowl.
Combine salt, baking soda, and flour in a second bowl and add to wet ingredients.
Follow instructions for your waffle iron regarding heat settings and amount of batter used.
My heart-shaped waffle iron made approximately 6 waffles.


  1. Hi there Susan,

    I have a question about your pancake recipe. Do I feed the starter and then immediately use it to make the pancakes? Is there a wait time after feeding? I have my own culture sitting here on the counter I want to use. When I bake bread I feed a culture, wait until it is near its peak rise, then use it for baking.

    I love your concept of Sunday Suppers. I a scratch cook. When is your cookbook coming out? Your site is wonderful.

    I apologize if it already has! I just discovered your blog when searching for a good sourdough pancake recipe for the hubby. I am a great baker but not so great pancake maker. He has been wangling for some sourdough pancakes for eons, after seeing my culture on the counter for months!

    If you ever need a recipe tester, I would be happy to help. I have tested for Cook's Illustrated, the baker Marcy Goldman, and for a new Jewish bread book coming out in early 2011.

    Anne Wallace Schiller baking Sunday scratch brunch in sunny Seattle

  2. Hey,

    My husband's family is Slovakian. He casts his vote in favor of Daniel.

    He says Wikipedia mentions them as palacsinta, Hungarian pancakes, but what do they know? The Hungarians mix their z's and s's up all the time!

    "Hortobágyi palacsinta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Hortobágyi palacsinta is a savoury Hungarian pancake,"

    And here is someone who spells their's the same way:

    Are Swedish pancakes pancakes? Are crepes pancakes? Are pancakes crepes? Are Slovakian palaczinta Swedish crepes? It is all soooooo

    I say just eat 'em and forgit' about it!

    cheers to Daniel from Mike, the Pittsburgh Slovak
    and to Susan for posting,

  3. Hi Anne,
    Thanks for the vote. I used my Amish Friendship Bread batter on the last day without feeding it. I did not want to continue the culture because the Amish Friendship Bread I tasted was too sweet for my palate. After Susan left me the culture knowing full well how I felt, I had no choice but to issue the challenge to make pancakes since I knew I would not make the bread.