I’ve been experimenting with creating a ferment to make bread, inspired by The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, and consequently have some whole grain rye flour on hand. I decided to see what I might be able to make from this flour, and what benefits I might gain from using it.
Rye is a cereal grain, and can be known as “winter rye” as it is often planted in Fall and early Winter as a cover crop to keep back aggressive winter-hardy weeds. It’s often a bonus crop and its production is prevalent in Germany, Poland and Russia, producing the largest crops globally. Interestingly enough, a certain rye protein that acts as an antifreeze allows the grain to survive sub-zero temperatures.
Rye has a rich hearty taste and numerous health benefits. Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, in contrast to refined wheat flour. For example, whole grain rye is an excellent source of fiber; is very rich in manganese, with one serving having 72 percent of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in phosphorous, copper, pantothenic acid (B5), and magnesium.
Most of us are familiar with rye bread’s unique texture and flavor, often paired with caraway seeds. I wanted to move away from that traditional association and created a pancake recipe that uses orange zest and juice to coincide with rye’s richness. These pancakes are fluffy, full of rich rye flavor, and have a lovely citrus finish. The batter keeps well for several days in the refrigerator and can easily be made the night before making the pancakes for a convenient quick breakfast. I used orange segments as a garnish, but any sliced fruit goes well with these pancakes.
1 cup whole grain rye flour
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of ½ an orange
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt
1 cup milk
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons butter
Heat oven to 200 degrees F.
Whisk together rye flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and sugar in a medium bowl, set aside.
Whisk together sour cream, milk, orange juice and eggs until smooth.
Whisk together the sour cream mixture and the rye flour mixture until just combined.
Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop pancake batter in ¼ cup portions using an ice cream scoop and cook until top of pancake has many bubbles in its surface and the edges are brown, about 4 minutes. Flip pancakes over and cook an additional 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer cooked pancakes to the oven on a wire-rack-lined sheet pan to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
Garnish with orange segments or sliced fruit if desired.