Things Mother Used to Make: Sour Milk Griddle Cakes

2014-10-11 08.05.21These are eggless pancakes!  If you use almond milk or coconut milk, they are a dairy-free version as well as egg-free.  These pancakes also only have four ingredients!  I really am excited to discover this recipe, can you tell?

The recipe in the 1914 Things Mother Used to Make A Collection of Old Time Recipes, Some Nearly One Hundred Years Old and Never Published Before by Lydia Maria Gurney:

=Sour Milk Griddle Cakes=

2 Cupfuls of Sour Milk 2 Teaspoonfuls of Soda 1 Teaspoonful of Salt

Stir the soda and salt into the milk and add flour enough to make thin batter. Fry on a well-greased griddle. One spoonful for each cake. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.


What I did: I used some runny yogurt for the sour milk.  You can use raw milk that has started to sour and thicken, which is what would have been used when this cookbook was published.  You can put two tablespoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a larger measuring cup, then pour milk into the cup until it reaches the two cup measure line.  Stir gently, then let this set a couple of minutes.

The yogurt/baking soda mixture I used thickened in a really amazing way.

I used buckwheat flour because I already had some ground in the freezer and I didn’t want to get my grainmill out.  I put in less than 1 cup of flour, but this was way too much.

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The pancake batter was so thick, and pancakes so full of vim and vigor, that when I put them on the pan the thick batter combined with the additional rising, made pancakes that were too thick to fully cook in the center before the outsides were over-done.

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I added some of my thick home-made applesauce, near apple butter to the batter to thin it out. This helped.

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Both versions, with and without applebutter/sauce, were a huge hit with these two grandkids.

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They had their griddlecakes slathered in butter and lightly drizzled with real maple syrup.  They also had  applesauce/butter on the side.

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“We are having such a feast!” They really said this. More than once.




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The Dread Pirate Grasshopper, pictured below, was concerned at first.  I made the mistake of telling him I was trying a new recipe I had never made before.  He is nervous about new things.  What if he doesn’t like them?  What if they are terrible?  What if, what if what if?  He asked me in a quavering voice if I couldn’t make my new pancakes for myself, and let Grandpa make him the regular kind he was used to.   I told him he could just take a taste and let me know how they were, and if he didn’t like them, we’d make ‘regular’ pancakes.  He agreed, but he was still terribly worried.

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He was very relieved and happy to find that he liked them very, very much.

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Below is his sister, the Little Ladybug, telling me how many griddlecakes she’s already had, and asking for more.

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The next time I make these, and there will be a next time, I think I will add just 1/4 cup of flour, stir well, and then make a silver dollar sized test pancake on the griddle.  If it needs more flour, I’ll add another 1/8 cup of flour, stir well and then make another test pancake.

I think they would also be good with cinnamon added, and I might try the applesauce addition next time, or maybe some pumpkin.  These were a huge hit, and they were ridiculously simple to make.  A keeper.

My version:

2 Cupfuls of Sour Milk or thin yogurt, or put 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice in a large measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2 cups (let this last mixture sit a couple of minutes)

Stir in 2 Teaspoonfuls of Soda and  1 Teaspoonful of Salt

Get out your griddle.  Grease it well, and start heating it- low to low-moderate heat.  If it’s too hot, the griddle cakes are done on the outside too fast, and still raw batter in the center.

Add flour to the sour milk mixture- 1/4 a cup at a time, stirring and trying a mini pancake to be sure you have the mixture right.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter on the heated griddle.  When the top of the griddle cake begins to be less shiny, when small bubbles appear in the pancake (not just around the edges, but a few in the middle as well), and when you can see some golden brown color to the edges of the griddle cake, gently flip it and cook on the other side.  This is one way to tell if your griddle is too hot- if you are seeing brown, set edges while the center is still totally shiny and wet looking on top and there are no bubbles anywhere but the outermost edges, you need to turn down the heat a notch.

It’s a temptation to speed the process by pressing the pancake down with the back of your spatula.  However, this reduces the lightness of your griddlecakes.  Be patient.

Serve buttered with fruit slices, fruit butters, or with maple syrup. Or try sprinkling powdered sugar over the top.  Some people like nut butters on their pancakes.  This helps prevent hunger fifteen minutes later if you have kids (or adults) with high metabolism.

If times are very tight you can use corn syrup or make your own syrup, but these are the most unhealthy options.

When my kids were little, we often used pancakes for sandwich bread.  Spread with a nut butter and jam.

Optional: add cinnamon or fruit butter to the batter.

Stir the soda and salt into the milk and add flour enough to make thin batter. Fry on a well-greased griddle. One spoonful for each cake. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

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