The Sourdough Pancake That’s Keeping Gage & Tollner’s Starter Alive
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Do you ever crave old-world elegance? You’re not alone. That’s exactly what the team at Gage & Tollner was hoping to revive when they set about re-opening this century-old Brooklyn establishment.
The original Gage & Tollner was a cornerstone of dining in Brooklyn. It served meat and seafood to celebrities and locals for over a hundred years. It officially closed in 2004, and the building saw a series of short term tenants before lying dormant. Finally, a team of established New York City restaurant veterans stepped in to breathe life into this historic space.
Gage & Tollner’s triumphant reopening was set for Spring 2020. When the team realized that the COVID-19 pandemic would force them to delay, it wasn’t long before their thoughts turned to their sourdough starter, Edna Lewis. If they left her alone, she’d perish. Pastry Chef Caroline Schiff took it upon herself to keep the starter alive, and she’s been creating quite a few projects in the meantime.
This is Caroline’s recipe for a savory pancake made with sourdough discard. She encourages you to get creative here. You can swap the scallions for a quarter cup of chopped kimchi, grated carrots, or herbs. A handful of cheddar cheese with some sliced jalapeños is also delicious. As long as it’s about a quarter to a third cup of stuff, you’re good to go.
Sourdough Pancake by Caroline Schiff
Makes one 8” pancake
3 Tbs neutral oil like canola or grapeseed, butter and ghee will also yield delicious results
1 cup active but unfed sourdough discard *this works best with same day discard at room temp, but older stuff is ok too! Just let it come to room temp and give it a stir
Pinch of kosher salt
2 tsp white sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1. Heat the oil in an 8″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Season the discard with a good pinch of salt and add it to the hot pan. Swirl the pan to spread the oil out in an even layer.
3. Top with the sesame seeds and scallions in an even layer.
4. When the edges start to set, and you see bubbles forming (about 3 minutes), carefully flip the pancake using a large spatula or tongs. You can peek at the bottom as it cooks; if it seems like it’s getting a little too dark, just reduce the heat a bit.
5. Gently flip and fry on the other side until crisp, another 2 to 3 minutes or so.
6. When the pancake is golden and crispy on both sides, remove from the pan, slice into wedges and enjoy hot, maybe dipped in some soy sauce or sriracha depending on your fillings.