Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Whole wheat sourdough pancakes are a delicious way to use up your sourdough discard. With an irresistibly tangy flavor, you’ve never had pancakes like these.

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These whole wheat sourdough pancakes are the perfect use for sourdough discard. 

Trust me, you’ve never had pancakes like these!

These might just be my new favorite breakfast recipe. 

Thanks to using sourdough starter, these pancakes have a uniquely bready, tangy flavor that’s less sweet than traditional American-style flapjacks. And as a result, they pair so perfectly with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and fresh berries. 

If you’re looking for more ways to spruce up Sunday mornings while also putting your sourdough discard to good use, look no further than these overnight whole wheat sourdough pancakes!

Want more recipes? Be sure to check out all my healthy pancake and waffle recipes here!

Bites of whole wheat sourdough pancake on fork

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Less sweet than traditional diner-style hotcakes.
  • Deliciously unique way to use up your sourdough discard.
  • Made with just a handful of ingredients.
  • Can easily be made vegan if needed.
  • Is the perfect canvas for an array of toppings, from traditional maple syrup and butter to almond butter and fresh berries. 
Stack of whole wheat sourdough starter pancakes

What is sourdough discard?

Unlike most bread doughs that require yeast in order to rise, sourdough bread uses a fermented flour mixture to rise. And this mixture is known as a sourdough starter. If you don’t already have a starter, I recommend checking out The Perfect Loaf’s instructions for getting one started.

Once you have your starter, you’ll need to feed it each week. In addition to adding a specific ratio of water and flour, you’ll also be removing some of the starter to make room. And this portion that you remove is known as the discard.

TIP: While you can just toss the discard, it feels like a waste of flour to me. So, I started saving my discard in its own mason jar in the fridge.

Then, every week or two I use it to make recipes like these whole wheat sourdough pancakes!

Holding jar of sourdough starter

Ingredients Used to Make Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

  • Sourdough discard: Use an unfed sourdough discard. I recommend weighing your discard rather than using a measuring cup. 
  • White whole wheat flour: To avoid flapjacks that are too dense and chewy, I recommend using white whole wheat flour instead of regular whole wheat. I’ve also had good success making these with whole spelt flour. 
  • Oat milk: Any milk will work, but I like the oaty flavor with the tangy, sour batter. I just wouldn’t recommend a sweetened milk option. 
  • Lemon juice: The acid in the lemon juice helps with both the texture and flavor of this recipe. However, if you opt to use buttermilk as your milk, then you don’t need to add the lemon juice. In a pinch, apple cider vinegar can be used instead.
  • Sugar: I used maple sugar for a little flavor boost, but granulated white would also work. Don’t leave out the sugar as it’ll help “feed” your sourdough starter to make it nice and bubbly.
  • Egg: I used 1 large egg, but you can also use a vegan substitute like a chia or flax egg.
  • Butter: For flavor purposes, I used melted butter in these pancakes. But you could also use avocado or canola oil. While olive oil would also work, it will give the pancakes a more savory flavor. 
  • Baking soda: Just 1 teaspoon of baking soda is needed to help give these cakes a little lift.
  • Salt: Go easy on the salt. I originally used ½ teaspoon and they came out way too salty. I’ve found ¼ teaspoon to be just about right. 
  • Almond extract: Optional, but I love the hint of almond in pancakes. You could also use vanilla extract. 

To make vegan sourdough pancakes:

  • Sub out the egg with 1 flax egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 2 ½ tablespoons water. Stir, and let thicken for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use avocado or melted coconut oil instead of butter.

How to Make Sourdough Starter Pancakes

There are two parts to making sourdough discard pancakes: the sponge, which is made the night before, and then the rest of the batter, which you’ll whisk together in the morning. 

To make the sourdough sponge:

  1. Combine lemon juice and oat milk and let sit for about 10 minutes. Skip this step if using buttermilk.
  2. Weigh out your flour and sourdough discard. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the lemon and milk mixture.
  3. Add sugar then stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Cover and let the sponge sit out at room temperature for 8-12 hours. I usually just make it the night before and let it sit out while I sleep.
Making sourdough pancake sponge

To make the batter:

  1. In the morning, set out an egg for 20-30 minutes so it comes close to room temperature. Similarly, melt your butter about 10 minutes before using it to give it enough time to cool slightly. If making the vegan option, use this time to make your flax egg.
  2. Whisk together egg (or flax egg) and butter (or oil). 
  3. Once combined, add egg mixture to your sourdough sponge. Add baking soda and almond extract, then stir until just combined.
  4. Heat a griddle to 325 F, or a skillet over medium-low heat. Very lightly grease the skillet – I say very lightly as if you  use too much oil or butter, the pancake batter won’t rise right. 
  5. Using a ⅓ cup measuring scoop, ladle pancake batter onto heated skillet. Cook about 2-3 minutes or until the bubbles on top start to pop and the edges look set.
  6. Flip, and cook for another 30-60 seconds or until the bottom is lightly browned.
  7. Place cooked pancakes in a warmed oven or cover with foil. Repeat with remaining batter. 

Do you have to let sourdough pancake batter sit overnight?

For the best sourdough flavor, I do recommend letting it sit for at least 8 hours.

However, if you’re in a pinch, you can let the sponge sit for 30 minutes before making your pancakes. They’ll still be delicious, they just won’t rise quite as much and the flavor won’t be as tangy.

Can you make a double batch?

Yes! In fact, this recipe was adapted from a larger one. While it can easily be doubled with good success, I haven’t tried tripling it. 

How to store and reheat homemade pancakes

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also store them in the freeze for up to 3 months. 

To reheat (from fridge or freezer), place a paper towel under a pancake and microwave on high for 15-20 seconds. If reheating multiple pancakes, place a paper towel in between each layer.

For frozen pancakes, you can also reheat them in a 375-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. 

Maple syrup dripping off of stack of whole wheat sourdough pancakes

How to top your short-stack

As sourdough starter pancakes aren’t overly sweet, you can use sweet or savory toppings. Some ideas include:

  • Pure maple syrup.
  • Fresh berries.
  • Strawberry chia seed jam.
  • Stovetop peach compote.
  • Almond or peanut butter.
  • Goat cheese and fresh rosemary. 
  • Cream cheese and smoked salmon. 
  • Poached egg and avocado.

Tips for making this recipe

Here are my top tips for making this whole wheat sourdough pancake recipe:

  • Weigh out your flour and starter. To avoid an overly-dense stack of flapjacks, make sure to weigh out your flour and sourdough discard. Also keep in mind that if you use a flour other than white whole wheat, it’ll weigh a different amount. Here’s the weight of 1 cup of some common flours you might use: 
    • White whole wheat: 121 grams
    • Whole spelt flour: 136 grams 
    • All-purpose flour: 120 grams
  • Don’t overmix the batter. As with any pancake recipe, the key to a light and fluffy texture is not over-mixing. There should still be a few lumps in the batter.
  • Let the sponge rest overnight. For best flavor and texture, let your sponge rest the full 8-12 hours. 
  • Use room-temp eggs. When eggs are cold from the fridge, they don’t whisk as well and as a result less air is whipped into your batter. While if in a pinch this will work, for best results I like to let mine sit out for about 20-30 minutes before using it. 
  • Don’t grease your skillet or griddle too much. If you can get away with not greasing you pan at all that’d be best. But depending on your pan or griddle you may need a little butter or oil to make it easier to flip. Just try to use as little as you can get away with as too much fat will make it hard for the pancakes to rise properly. 
  • Ladle batter with a ⅓ cup measuring scoop. I found ⅓ cup to be just the right amount of batter per pancake and gave us about 9 medium-sized pancakes. 
Stack of whole wheat sourdough starter pancakes

More recipe ideas for using sourdough discard

Looking for more ideas to use your sourdough discard? Here are some of my favorites:

If you tried this sourdough pancake recipe, or any other recipe, on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

Whole wheat sourdough pancakes are a delicious way to use up your sourdough discard. With an overnight rest, this pancake batter has an irresistible tangy flavor.
Prep Time12 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: Healthy sourdough pancake recipe, Sourdough discard pancakes, Sourdough starter pancakes, Whole wheat sourdough pancakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 1 cup unsweetened oat milk or milk of choice*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice*
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (121 grams; see notes in post for flour substitutes)
  • ½ cup unfed sourdough discard (120 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar maple or granulated sugar will work

For the rest of the pancake batter:

  • 1 large egg at room temperature or 1 flax egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter coconut or avocado oil work too
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Toppings of choice

Instructions

To make the overnight sponge:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together oat milk and lemon juice. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, weigh out your flour and sourdough starter. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add lemon and milk mixture, along with sugar. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours, or overnight.

To make pancakes:

  • In the morning, set out your egg at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. Melt and cool butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cooled butter (or oil).
  • Add egg mixture to sourdough sponge along with baking soda, salt, and almond extract. Mix until just combined.
  • Heat a griddle to 325 F, or a large skillet over medium-low heat. Very lightly grease your pan.
  • Using a ⅓ cup measuring scoop, ladle batter onto heated skillet. Cook about 2-3 minutes or until the bubbles on top of the pancake start to burst, the edges look set, and the bottom has lightly browned. Flip, and cook another 30-60 seconds, or until bottom is golden brown.
  • Remove pancake from heat and place in a warm oven or cover with foil. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Serve cooked pancakes with toppings of choice.

Notes

*You can also use 1 cup of buttermilk in place of the oat milk and lemon juice.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Whole wheat sourdough starter pancakes.

Add a comment

10 Comments

  • Chris Collins AvatarChris Collins20 days ago

    Totally trying these pancakes on the weekend! Thanks so much for sharing, they look delicious 🙂

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast18 days ago

      Thanks Chris! Hope you love them as much as we did!

  • Noelle AvatarNoelle20 days ago

    I loved this twist on pancakes!! What a great idea, the flavor was great!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast18 days ago

      Awesome, so glad to hear that Noelle 🙂

  • Kelly Anthony AvatarKelly Anthony20 days ago

    What a great way to use the sourdough discard. I love anything sourdough so I know I will love these whole wheat sourdough pancakes.

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast18 days ago

      Right? Sourdough just makes everything better 😉

  • Shadi Hasanzadenemati AvatarShadi Hasanzadenemati20 days ago

    This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast18 days ago

      It really is! Thanks Shadi!

  • Mirlene AvatarMirlene20 days ago

    So glad to find this post. I currently have whole wheat flour and have been looking for something to make with it. Thanks for the idea. Pancake looks amazing!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast18 days ago

      Awesome – love when that happens! Hope you enjoy them Mirlene 🙂

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find healthy breakfast recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your health goals in mind.

    As a dietitian I understand that a healthy breakfast is essential for giving you the fuel you need to power through your day. Which is why on TheHealthyToast, you’ll find nutrition guides plus the best healthy breakfast recipes for every diet and lifestyle.

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