These are not only Banana Pancakes. These are Banana Sourdough Pancakes. It means I used a little bit of my starter to make pancakes!
Have you ever baked sourdough?
Sourdough is pretty much my favorite thing ever!! Sit tight because this is a long post about my love for baking bread, specifically sourdough. (Yes, I am going to talk about my love for baking bread on a post that carries a Pancake Recipe.)
The Sourdough Journey
Years ago, I started my first sourdough starter. That was actually 2014. I was just getting into baking bread. I got the book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart. And I swear I baked almost every bread in that book.
And this book had a whole section on sourdough bread, including how to grow your own seed culture and turn that into a mother starter.
I was hooked!
I kept my first starter alive and well for over a year!
After the death of my first starter, I could never keep another starter for longer than a few weeks, just enough for one or two loaves.
I would forget about them, simply neglect them, and end up throwing them out.
But I never quit trying to build and keep a starter, I just wouldn’t follow through.
Until one day, I bought this book. It’s called Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, by Emilie Raffa, blogger behind The Clever Carrot. (affiliate link)
This lady, my friends, that’s a true bread lover right there.
I know one when I see them.
And the way she teaches you how to make sourdough is truly inspiring. She makes you connect with the process of cultivating the yeast, caring for it, and using it to create beautiful recipes.
Emilie’s approach to sourdough baking is liberating.
For the period of time that I had my first starter, back in 2014, I can tell you, I was having a lot of fun. I learned a lot from Peter’s book. However, I never felt truly confident in my sourdough baking skills.
I never made a loaf that made me stand so proud like my cake creations.
That was quite hurtful for a passionate bread baker such as myself.
I am the granddaughter of bakers. My grandparents had bakeries back home, in Brazil. My grandma woke up before the sunrise everyday to bake bread at her bakery for almost 50 years. From Sunday to Sunday.
That’s the kind of commitment to baking that I aspire to have.
And whenever I baked a loaf of sourdough, I wouldn’t feel that committed to it.
That’s because I was getting hung up on the technical stuff, the measurements, the feeding after 24 hours, on the dot, kind of thing.
I pulled up my sleeves last week and opened the book I had been studying and reading for the previous month.
Day one was a Sunday, I started my brand new starter. The following Sunday, I was baking sourdough.
It was the best sourdough I had ever baked. I had finally achieved the perfect crust, the beautiful air pockets, the tangy taste!
I was in heaven!
I decided to keep my starter out of the fridge, so that means I’d have to care for it every single day, feed it, tend to it. It’s not much, it takes 5 minutes of my day.
And because I have to feed my starter everyday, I end up with a lot of starter leftovers that are meant to be discarded. Instead of discarding my leftovers, I’ve been trying to come up with recipes to use those precious little pieces of life!
Also, it’s common for some of the geeky bakers to name their starters. I’m a geeky baker. Therefore, I name my starters. My very first starter’s name was Leopold. I didn’t dare naming any other starters I made after Leopold. But I did name this one! I called her Phoebe. Phoebe is currently living on top of my fridge, which is a nice warm spot, where I keep my starter fed, happy, and alive!
Her house is a little jar, Phoebe’s Shack, and she just chills all day, ready for me when the ideas and baking impulses happen. I kinda have a lot of those. Baking is almost like a compulsion to me. I do it out of instinct. My heart and my soul are guiding me.
Jeez, how cheesy. I’m a cheesy geeky baker. And I have no shame in it.
Baking sourdough just fulfills so much of that urgency to bake. It’s an art, really! It’s creating life, out of thin air, quite literally. And it’s turning life into amazing creations. The possibilities are quite endless.
And that’s exactly why I am talking about my love for baking sourdough bread right here on a post about pancakes (which isn’t even baking at all, either).
Because, ultimately, when it comes to sourdough, baking, cooking, creating, there are really no limits or boundaries!
The true secret to baking sourdough, cooking a stunning meal, making a drop-dead gorgeous cake, is simply using your intuition. Connecting with the food. Connecting with what it means.
That’s why baking sourdough is such a good exercise towards developing your intuition as a cook and as a baker.
Because baking sourdough, successfully, entails dedication, commitment, and a great deal of intuitiveness.
And, yes, if you read my blog, you’ll know I talk a LOT about intuitive cooking. If you are interested, you can check out this post about my Almond Orange Sweet rolls (which is another great breakfast recipe besides these amazing pancakes), and also my Fresh Basil Pasta with Chicken and Tomato Sauce post, where I talk a lot about this skill.