We often find inspiration for preserved foods from cultures from around the world – and around our City. If you’ve never visited Toronto – and you love food – you must know that it’s incredible diversity offers an opportunity to travel the world from a streetcar (yes, we have those) while still offering you the opportunity to return home by dinner time! In researching recipe ides for the month of March I came across Anjero which is the name of a fermented sourdough pancake which I had to try to make!
With guidance from this recipe from Somali Kitchen I was well on my way (the authors live in Melbourne, Australia and make their city sound like a sister city of our own). They mention that these are often eaten with a meat stew (so much for maple syrup and breakfast!) and describe the pancakes as being “light, spongy and chewy and taste a bit like crumpets.” Our technique was similar to theres though you’ll find we used our dehydrator to help the fermentation along. I would gladly have these with stew, chilli, curry, a hearty soup or even with hot dogs!
Because these are fermented they will take up to two days to ferment – if you have a dehydrator we’ll share a technique to speed up the fermentation so that you can make them overnight.
The pancakes are, indeed, more similar to bread than a breakfast pancake. We ate them by ripping pieces off each cake and found the texture to be spongy and a little stringy (in a pleasant way). Although you can’t see the other side of the cakes they are pocked with holes created by fermentation which are then suspended into the surface of the cake that wasn’t fried.
I completely ruined the first few cakes I tried to make by using way too much oil. The best results came from using restraint and adding the smallest amount of oil possible while also using a frying pan (with a lid) that was the size of a salad plate and using a measuring cup to consistently add the same amount of batter each time. This was a significant breakthrough and made the results consistent and repeatable.
I also found a key to this recipe was adding the batter as quickly as possible in the center of the pan and then giving it a quick shake to spread the batter into an even circle. By adding it quickly the batter was able to spread across the pan before the bottom began to set.
Somali Kitchen called for white corn flour which I could not find. I was able to find yellow corn flour and this is perhaps the most contentious departure I have made from our inspiration. Depending on the source you read, “corn flour” is either the same thing as corn starch OR finely processed corn meal (in this article, it claims that it is both). I can’t imagine using 1 cup of corn starch so opted for an organic yellow corn flour that is, essentially, corn meal that has been ground into a powder/flour. This added a slightly yellow colour that was hardly noticeable.
- ½ cup white corn flour
- ¼ cup sorghum flour (optional)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 Tbsp whey (this will help the ferment get rocking)
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl that fits within your dehydrator, briefly stir to mix.
- Add the water and whey in 4 parts, stirring to make a batter.
- Cover tightly (with a lid or plastic wrap). If you fail to wrap it tightly it will partially dry and will not work as intended.
- Place the bowl in the dehydrator and set the temperature to 95 degrees and leave for 12-18 hours. Gently jostle the bowl every few hours to mix the ingredients.
- Place a small frying pan (for which you have a lid) on medium-high heat until it is warm.
- Using a measuring cup, pour ½ - ⅔ cup of batter into the center of the pan. Quickly pick the plan up and jostle it to distribute the batter. Cover with lid and cook until brown on bottom and solid on top (3-4 minutes).
A giant shout-out to our friend AJ Messier of Hogtown Studios in Toronto for working with us to shoot this months photos. He let us take over his studio for a day (I made a HECK of a mess!) and the 3 of us had a blast shooting and are so grateful for his talent and friendship. AJ often shoots sports, motion, weddings and other topics – head over to his site and check out his work!