I thought we were done for good, but about a year and a half ago I acquired the ideal pet. My sister-in-law gave me a sourdough start. A living, breathing sourdough start. It resides in a plastic container in the fridge. It doesn't whine to be let out. No pooping. No barking. No shedding. No obedience training. I feed it a little flour and water every couple of weeks, if I think about it. It handles neglect very well; I once totally ignored it for six months and it's still fine. And the best part is, YOU GET TO EAT IT.
Take your sourdough start out of the fridge the night before you want the pancakes. (You don't even have to talk to it. Of course, you can if you want to...) Put one cup of the start in a medium bowl. Add a cup of flour and a cup of water to each container - the medium mixing bowl and what's left of your pet. Stir both very well. Put your pet back in the fridge. Cover the mixing bowl lightly with plastic wrap and leave on the kitchen counter until morning. In the morning, add 3/4 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, and 3 eggs. Mix well and cook on a hot griddle.
Sourdough Bread (my sister-in-law Ruth's recipe)
In the morning: Take starter out of fridge. Transfer one cup into a medium bowl. Add one cup water and one cup flour. Mix well. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Leave on kitchen counter.
Feed original start one cup each of flour and water. You can let it sit out on the counter for a little while until it starts to bubble and then put it back in the fridge.(This is kind of like taking the dog out for a little fresh air and then returning it to its kennel.)
In the morning, put the contents of the bowl into the bowl of your large mixer. (You can also do this by hand.) Beat for two minutes. Add about three cups of flour and beat with paddle for five minutes. Let mixture stand for thirty minutes to let the flour absorb. Change to dough hook. Add one Tablespoon salt and about three more cups of flour. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky. (Takes a while.) Place dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough so that the top is also greased. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise until double in bulk. Put dough on counter and let it rest for ten minutes. Form into loaves and place on greased baking sheets (or in loaf pans, I guess, or bake on a baking stone) and let them rise until double. Brush with beaten egg with a little water added to it. Make slashes in tops of loaves with a very sharp knife just before putting in oven. Bake for ten minutes at 425 degrees and reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake for twenty-five more minutes. You can spray water from a spray bottle on the sides of the oven every few minutes for the first ten or fifteen minutes. This is supposed to produce a chewier crust.
Sourdough start - the pet that keeps on giving!