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Healthy Competition Between Sourdough and Buckwheat Pancakes

 Can you give me good recipes for sourdough and buckwheat pancakes? My long-time girlfriend says her dad's sourdough and uncle's buckwheat pancakes are the best. Since they're two states away, we don't see them very often, and even then, it's hard to coax them into making the pancakes when we visit – especially as this ominously heavy feeling permeates the room whenever I bring up sourdough pancakes…. I know it is easy to make pancakes, even without (dare I say it?) store-bought pancake mix. But she says is yeast involved in the sourdough version, and I've never worked with yeast before. I know there are different types of yeast. So which one will work the best? Lastly, should I assume that regular ol' Mrs. Butterworth and butter suffice as accompaniments?

 First of all, unless you're a city person, you call them buckwheat cakes or buckwheat griddle cakes. Second, which is best – her dad's sourdough pancakes or her uncle's buckwheat cakes? They can't both be best. Third, yes, it is supremely easy to make pancakes without a mix. Fourth, yeast is a cinch to work with.

Finally, if your girlfriend's relatives are among the 97+ percent of Americans who have not tasted real maple syrup, why not invest in a jug or two. It tastes much better than the high-fructose-corn-syrup-based pancake syrups on the market, and might just do wonders to lift the ominously heavy feeling you sense when visiting (but which is probably just the result of them thinking, "why don't you marry my daughter/niece, deadbeat?").

As an optimistic engagement present, we've dug up recipes for sourdough pancakes and buckwheat cakes. Each requires you to start the process the night before you make the pancakes and each requires yeast (refer to Point 4, above). Many sourdough recipes ask you to make a sourdough starter, beginning as much as a week in advance (you can also buy sourdough starter). If this quick-as-lightning recipe doesn't produce sourdough pancakes worthy of your girlfriend's father's pancakes, let us know and we'll publish a recipe for the start-a-week-ahead sourdough pancakes. (And yes, the buckwheat recipe is for "Buckwheat Pancakes," but you'll notice that the writer clearly was a city person….)

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