The nice thing about buckwheat pancakes is they are a fermented food so they add easy probiotics to your diet. I really like the flavor of them. They do not taste like regular pancakes at all. The texture is more chewy, the surface of each cake is pockmarked with bubbles and the flavor is kind of nutty with a hint of sourdough. The cakes I make are fairly thin but I have seen pictures of Ethiopian cooking with thicker pancakes more in the line of pocket bread. I’m not sure how to get such a texture. I did try adding some gluten free flour to the batter to see if I could do that but my mom and I preferred them plain.
The pancakes themselves don’t keep well. They need to be eaten the same day you make them. But the batter keeps fine for up to a week in the refrigerator. It is possible to over ferment this batter. Its pretty easy to figure out if this has happened by the smell. The batter will suddenly it smell overly ripe and not edible. Do not use the batter it smells off. Start again.
- Buckwheat groats
- Buckwheat starter (optional)
In a glass or non metal bowl, cover buckwheat groats with dechlorinated water (I use reverse osmosis water) overnight or at least 12 hours. The water will become slimy, the slime is a protective layer that the seeds create to help them adhere to soil so they can grow, it’s completely harmless but you don’t want it in there for the next step.
Rinse off the groats carefully. Put the clean groats into a blender with a little bit of fresh dechlorinated water and blend until a nice smooth batter forms. The groats swell up and when blended make much more batter than you might think. You can add more water until it is about the thickness of pancake batter. Don’t make the batter too runny or it will be impossible to get a good pancake to form. Too think is better than too thin. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon or so of starter per cup of batter and mix well. Transfer to a clean glass or non metal bowl and cover with a plate or towel. Let ferment until bubbly at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Depending on the temperature this can take 24 hours or three days. If you don’t have a starter it will take a little longer and won’t bubble as well. Your next batch will taste better. I often have no starter and the pancakes turn out fine.
Once the batter is bubbly you can make pancakes out of it. Heat up a pan just as you would for pancakes and fry them on medium low heat in lots of butter. If you have trouble with sticking the batter is too thin. I have yet to come up with a cure for thin batter and usually end up throwing it away and starting over. Because these don’t keep well it’s better to just cook up as many as you will eat and store the batter covered in the refrigerator for up to five days and cook up more as needed.