Sally Fallon’s pancakes

When I pulled Sally Fallon’s cookbook off the shelf to refresh my memory on the proper crispy nut process, I spent a few minutes flipping through the pages. Years ago, I read my way through all the recipes, making quite a few of them as I went along and scrawling notes in the margins. So when I landed on a page with an above-average number of notes, the word “Great!”, and a pancake recipe, I took a second look. One can never have too many pancake recipes.

It’s a bracingly healthy recipe, borderline annoying with all its wholesome goodness. It’s all whole grain (of course) but Sally goes one step father and soaks the flour in a buttermilk/yogurt mixture to “activate the enzyme phytase … which … break[s] down phytic acid in the bran of grains.”

Not that I really understand all that, of course. But I’m gonna go ahead and assume it’s code for: these pancakes are really good for you so eat them.

Actually, I do understand that, just not in a brainy, scientific-term way. My understanding is more of a gut thing (pun not intended, but ha anyway). My daughter and I have been reading up on the whys and how-tos (to’s?) of fermented chicken feed. The ‘fessionals say it’s good because the chickens get more nutrients out of the grain, and the bad bacteria is reduced while the good bacteria is strengthened (this is lacto-fermentation we’re talking about). As a result, the chickens are healthier, the eggs are firmer shelled and heartier, and the chickens consume less grain. Translate all that to humans (minus the eggs part), and you’ve got some good reasons to make these pancakes.

My freezer is cluttered with half-empty bags of different flours: teff, spelt, rye, buckwheat, oat, etc. I figured that by making these pancakes once a week, using one cup whole wheat and one cup Random Flour, I could pancake my way through my freezer.

And that’s just what I’ve been doing. A single recipe is sufficient for the children’s breakfast.

These aren’t “candy” pancakes, mind. In other words, the children don’t go all gah-gah, but they do eat them happily enough. My older son, naturally, would always appreciate a few more, but a few of these hearty doozies is plenty, I tell him. If he’s still hungry, he can eat a bowl of granola. Besides, lunch time is only a few hours after breakfast. Survival happens.

Sally Fallon’s Pancakes
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions.

I use one cup of whole wheat and one cup of whatever grain I’m trying to use up at the time. Lately, it’s been dark rye. For the buttermilk, I use one cup plain yogurt and one cup water.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk
1-2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter

Before you go to bed, measure the flour into a bowl and stir in the buttermilk (or yogurt-water mixture). Cover the bowl with plastic and let it sit on the counter overnight.

In the morning, mix together the couple tablespoons of flour with the salt and soda. I do this to help the soda and salt get more evenly distributed in the batter. Sprinkle the mixture over the sludge of soaked flour and whisk well. Add the eggs and melted butter and whisk again.

Fry ladlefuls of the batter on a happily-buttered hot skillet. Serve pancakes with butter and syrup.

This same time, years previous: out and about, the quotidian (4.23.12), cauliflower potato soup, me and you, and the radishes,


  • Melodie

    And if you don't have buttermilk on hand does it work to make cheater buttermilk by mixing vinegar with milk?? I would think so, but just wondering if you've tried that, or would risk it with this overnight flour soaking business.

  • katie

    Do you still make sourdough bread, Jennifer? Your post made me want to make these pancakes then I realized that whenever we have the starter going we use all the extra starter — basically straight starter + egg + milk + oil + bk. soda — and make pancakes. I only make "regular" pancakes in an emergency, the fermented ones are so delicious.

    Actually, I think Ms. Fallon is spot on with the fully-hydrated grains stuff. I don't agree with everything she raves about, but that one makes a lot of sense. I think that is why masa is way better than regular cornmeal for quick stuff like cornbread, because it was once fully hydrated, before it was dried. I've taken to soaking the cornmeal overnight before making cornbread too.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Yes, I still make Farmer Boy Pancakes (the sourdough ones). In fact, they're what's for breakfast tomorrow. During a baking week, I save up the leftover starter in the fridge, feed it the last night to freshen it up, and then fry them up in the morning. The kids go crazy for them.

  • Camille

    Sounds good. Thank you for sharing. And…look! You've got a bottle of Maple Syrup from Costco on your counter!! It comes from Canada…did you notice? It's good stuff. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

    • Jennifer Jo

      My brother got us that bottle of syrup from Costco and it was good! But it's long gone. Now we just keep the homemade cheaters syrup in it.

    • Camille

      My bottle (which looks just the same) holds the homemade stuff at the moment as well. It doesn't impress my children when I do that to them…LOL! 🙂

  • Melissa @ thelittlegrayhouse

    If I push the keep warm button on my oven it sets it at 170, but if I manually punch in the temp at 150 and hit set it will stay at 150. That may help if you have a digital oven.

  • Mama Pea

    Yep, fermented pancakes are good stuff!

    We've always fed our chickens fermented mash. Hubby takes our "older" raw milk, mixes it with laying mash and gives it a couple of days to "work" by the wood stove in his workshop. The chickens have free choice of dry mash, too, but they ALWAYS clean up the fermented mash first. I think this is part of the reason our chickens stay so healthy and keep laying eggs for us way into their dotage!

  • Margo

    My husband's favorite pancakes are the soaked oatmeal kind – based on the recipe in Simply in Season and blogged here:

    Also, your dark rye flour reminded me of a cookie recipe from Food in Jars. It's salted rye cookies and they have citrus in them, too. A fridge cookie that is rolled in coarse sugar. SO delicious, although I found them a little crumbly to work with. Perhaps you could perfect them 🙂 Here's the link:

  • Rebecca

    Well, I'll be! Fermented chicken feed! I'm all about the fermentation but never heard of this. Tell me more. We've got some meat birds and a new batch of layers in our chicken tractor. And then the crispy nuts…I was planning to do crispy peanuts a la Sally today but saw the requirement for a 150 degree oven. Mine only goes to 170. What do you do?

    • Jennifer Jo

      Re the chicken feed: I'll say more…eventually. It's kind of an experiment.

      Re the nuts: my oven starts at 200 but at the bottom of the dial it says "warm." I don't know what temp that is exactly, so I kept a close eye on them. This last time, I used the dehydrator and it worked like a charm.

    • Anonymous

      I think when chickens eat naturally, some of the feed they ingest — bugs, plants, weeds, seeds — is alive and some is naturally composting and fermenting.

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