Sour Milk for Delicious Pancakes

Stephen graciously supplied us with this simple, yet delicious recipe that has been in his family for almost sixty years. The story that surrounds this recipe reinforces how individuals used to use all of their food products and didn’t waste a single thing.

Community-based food systems played an intrinsic role in maintaining local sustainable food practices in the period following World War II. For instance, as a child, Stephen remembers when Victory gardens were built as a way to limit the strain on the public food supply. In this time of need, most vacant lots were transformed into local food hubs, each family in the community having a plot. The need to conserve resources was all around them, forcing people to look for locally based food options just to survive. The frugality of war meant that they had to think about where their food came from and how to use every part of it. Nothing was thrown out as it was a time where individuals could not afford to waste anything, even rotten milk.

Once a week, in the suburbs of New York, the clattering of a horse drawn carriage and the clinking of jugs was heard on most of the city streets. These sounds meant that fresh milk and cream from a local dairy was about to be delivered. The neighbourhood lined up all the empty bottles up to be reused by the dairy and, once the new milk arrived, quickly put the fresh bottles in the ice box or on their hot millet, cereal or coffee. But if the milk ever did stay outside a little too long, or if the last bottle didn’t get used before it started to turn, there was no need to fret, one could just whip up some delicious pancakes.

For information on dairy, check out the article To Pasteurize or Not to Pasteurize! in the Tips section.

Sour Milk Pancakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 ¼ of Sour or Off milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Optional: mashed bananas, or berries


In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and white sugar. In a separate bowl mix together the remainder of the wet ingredients: sour milk, egg, 3 tablespoons of butter, and optional fruit. In the bowl of dry ingredients, make a well in the middle and add half of the wet ingredients and mix slowly. Mix all the ingredients until smooth.

In a pan or a skillet, heat the last tablespoon of butter. Once melted, add a portion of the pancake batter. Once the top of the pancake begins to bubble, flip pancake and cook until a light brown.

Serve with cut up bananas, fresh berries, maple syrup and butter.



5 thoughts on “Sour Milk for Delicious Pancakes

  1. i don’t know many people who have milk go sour “in today’s day and age”, so if you want to make these you can sour some milk by adding a tbsp. of white vinegar to a cup of milk… then pancake away!

    nice recipe — i love pancakes 🙂

      • just tested these out on my family…with real butter and real maple syrup…absolutely worth the calories 🙂
        Easy to make, and a perfect pancake….I added a bit more milk to thin out the batter….( maybe I measured the flour wrong…oops, my bad…but it still turned out ! 🙂

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