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So what would a 1920’s family actually cook for breakfast? Unlike their predecessors in the 1900’s (who actually munched on rice, cold meat, and jellied veal — yeah, we know — for breakfast), folks during the jazz age loved a good ol’ pancake. Hmm “Flapjack”, “Flapper” coincidence? Fortunately for us, some things never change.

But, were pancakes the same as they are today? Lucky for you we did a little research and if you want to try your hand at an old-fashion 1920s-style pancake, check out this recipe. And according to the actual recipe from the 1920’s, we found on the Melissa K. Norris blog, pancakes from this time were gluten-free, egg-free, and refine sugar-free. The recipe instead includes buckwheat flour, cornmeal, yeast, water, salt, molasses, and baking soda.

1920’s Overnight Buckwheat Pancake Recipe

This buckwheat pancake recipe is not your ordinary pancake, and there is nothing quite like a weekend morning breakfast of hot-off- the-griddle pancakes.

Especially when the batter can be made the night before, making these an overnight fermented pancake recipe. Score!

This heritage recipe was found among my great-grandmother’s recipes, in a cookbook released in 1921.

Unlike most modern buckwheat pancake recipes, this one incorporates yeast into the batter, which rises overnight and is cooked in the morning.

Batter can also be saved from the first batch and used for subsequent batches without adding more yeast, similar to a sourdough starter.

For those who may have allergies, these buckwheat pancakes are also gluten-free, egg-free, and refined-sugar free, although this was probably not even a consideration when the recipe was written!

Sweetened only with molasses, they are an enjoyable breakfast treat served with fruit, drizzled with maple syrup, or topped with yogurt. Cooked pancakes also keep well in the fridge for a few days, and freeze well, too. I also like them toasted and spread with peanut butter.


2 cups buckwheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp molasses, divided

1 tsp baking soda

To Use Starter:

Pour the starter into a large bowl and add:

2 cups buckwheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp molasses

Beat first 6 ingredients (only using 1 Tablespoon of molasses) in large bowl until smooth. Cover the bowl and leave overnight.

The next morning, stir in 1 tsp baking soda and another tbsp of molasses.

Cook on a greased pan – my cast iron frying pan does the best job with these pancakes. Cook until bubbles form on the top, then flip and cook on the other side.

If desired, save 1 cup of batter, stored in the fridge, to start the next batch of pancakes. The batter should keep up to 3 days in the fridge. I give mine a quick shake or stir daily to keep it from separating.


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