Mix one cup of water mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 cup flour, and 4 tablespoons commercial or home cultured buttermilk. Mix all of this together and place in a glass 1 quart mason jar. Top with a paper coffee filter and a rubber band. Allow to stand in a warm place for a few days .. or until it begins to ferment and smell wonderfully sour (somewhat like beer). My method above (without the sugar and buttermilk) took seven days to ferment. Every few days I add a few tablespoons of flour and water and stir with a plastic spoon. When you have about 3 or 4 cups of fermented starter you can use some of it in the following recipe. The starter should be the consistency of pancake batter. When not in use, store in the refrigerator. If you use about 1/2 of your starter each week, replace with equal amounts of flour and water, stir, leave at room temperature for a day and store back in the fridge. Remember ... if the starter is on the counter .. use a paper filter. If it goes in the fridge ... put on a metal lid. Never use aluminum utensils when mixing.
PROOFED SOURDOUGH BATTER
This must be made the night before use whether making bread or pancakes .. or anything with sourdough.
Remove the starter from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Take 1-1/2 cups of starter and place in a large bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups tepid water, and 1-1/2 cups flour. Mix well and let sit covered overnight on the counter. The natural yeast will make the batter bubbly and smell of a strong sourdough odor. After taking out the required amount of proofed starter for a recipe, you can add any leftover back to the mason jar and add up to 1-1/2 cups of water AND 1-1/2 cups flour ... mixing well with a plastic spoon. Let sit out on the counter covered with a coffee filter for a day ... then store in the fridge until ready for the next use (should be used and replenished once every 10 days).
2 cups proofed Sourdough Batter
1-1/2 cups flour (I use organic white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup melted butter
Prepare the proofed sourdough batter the night before. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the milk and eggs to the 2 cups proofed sourdough batter in a large bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients and let rest for 15 minutes. Gently stir in the melted butter. Using a 1/2 cup ladle, pour batter onto a med-high heat .. well seasoned and oiled griddle. Turn over once when edges appear a bit dry and bubbly. Serve with maple syrup. (Left over pancakes can be frozen on a wax paper lined cookie sheet .. single layer ... once frozen place in a ziplock bag and keep frozen.)
Recipes adapted from: Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American