Food was a major expense for many families a hundred years ago, and cooks tried to minimize food waste. Bread – often homemade – sometimes went stale before it was eaten, and rather than just throwing the stale bread out, they looked for ways to use it.
I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Bread Griddlecakes that called for using stale bread crumbs (and relatively little flour), and I just had to give it a try. The Bread Griddlecakes turned out well. This recipe made relatively thin pancakes that had a nice flavor. If I hadn’t made them myself, I never would have guessed that they contained breadcrumbs. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised since bread is made out of flour – so at some basic level this recipe contains similar ingredients to may typical recipes.
Here’s the original recipe:
Modern bread (at least store-bought bread) doesn’t seem to go stale, so I just used bread that wasn’t stale when I made this recipe.
I’m not sure why the old recipe called for scalded milk, so I used milk that I didn’t scald. It worked fine.
It’s fascinating how words change across the years. The original recipe title had a hyphen between “griddle” and “cake.” Today “griddlecake” is generally written as one word – or people just call them pancakes.
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs (I tore 3 bread slices into very small pieces.)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
Put the bread crumbs and milk in a mixing bowl, then soak until the crumbs are soft (10 – 15 minutes). Add butter, eggs, flour, salt, and baking powder; beat to combine.
Heat a lightly greased griddle to a medium temperature, then pour or scoop batter onto the hot surface to make individual griddlecakes. Cook on one side, then flip and cook other side.