Sourdough Johnnycake Recipe

Johnnycakes come in many shapes and sizes. I’ve seen thick skillet versions, oblong slab versions, and flat, pancake-style versions. I surveyed them all when putting together this recipe, and settled on the pancake. First because I think it’s probably the original form of the johnnycake, but also because the thicker versions require chemical leavening to give them height and lightness.

I’m dispensing with the chemical leavening because I want to keep the formula as streamlined as possible for those who may not have access to chemical leaveners at the moment. However because I do want as many bubbles as I can get, and because — despite the pandemic — we still live in the modern era, I’m going to add some egg white foam as a lightener. I believe the results will be quite satisfactory. But I guess we’ll see!

4.5 ounces (1 cup) cornmeal

1 ounces (2 tablespoons) sugar

1 tsp. salt

6 ounces (3/4 cup) milk, room temperature

1 egg yolk, beaten lightly

1/2 ounce (1 tbsp.) melted butter

8 ounces (1 cup) bread starter, well fed and bubbly

1 egg white, whipped to stiff peaks

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the milk. Warm the mixture slightly, until the milk no longer feels cold to the touch, then take it off the heat and whisk in the yolk. With a hand mixer or a whisk, whip the white to stiff peaks.

Assemble the batter by stirring the milk mixture into the starter. Pour the milk-starter mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine. Add more milk if the mixture seems too thick. Lastly, stir in the whipped egg white.

Heat a cast iron skillet, or other flat pan, over medium-high heat. Lubricate the pan with a little butter or cooking spray and griddle the cakes until brown on both sides. Serve with sweet or savory condiment of your choice!

2 thoughts on “Sourdough Johnnycake Recipe”

  1. You’re an old hand on the trail, can rustle a mess of cattle or johnnycakes before the rest of us sleep off the whiskey, can’t ya Joe? I sure will give these a try.

    I have a lot of cake flour, and a shortage of AP and bread flour. Any ideas for using that up without a lot of butter and eggs? Thanks for reviving your blog!

    1. I’ll give’er my best shot, yeh ol’ cow poke!

      Great to be in touch, Dave! Be warned, if you’ve a mind to griddle over the next couple of days, that I have yet to try this recipe out, but I see no reason why it won’t work (though a little more milk might be needed). I’ll know more after my trial run over the weekend!

      Cake flour can be used for quite a few things other than cake (though angel food cake and pound cake are easy applications). Look to the Southern US for inspiration, as bakery there is all about low protein and fine milling. So…biscuits, pie crusts and dumplings are a natch. Waffles, cookies, cupcakes and pancakes are other good choices. You can feed it to your bread starter also, though the low protein will tend to flatten out hearth-style breads.

      Hope that helps!

      – Joe

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