Old-fashioned Bread Griddlecakes

Bread griddlecakes on plate

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:

Recipe for Bread Griddlecakes
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

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:

Bread Griddlecakes

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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

2 eggs

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.


14 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Bread Griddlecakes

  1. This recipe is so interesting. I am wondering if it would work with gluten free bread. I may experiment and find out. In a way this recipe is a quick version of a baked bread and butter pudding.

    1. At work, someone brought a loaf of bread, and it somehow got stuck in a cabinet and forgotten. Months later, we discovered it, and it was still soft, with no signs of mold. It was indeed a scary thought. Can you imagine what must have been in it?

  2. My first thought is what is the difference between a Griddle cake and a pancake? Your description and recipe help clarify. Like you share, this recipe does use bread crumbs. An interesting post, Sheryl.🙂

  3. I’ve always used my ‘older’ bread to make French Toast. When I researched when French toast arrived on the culinary scene, I found out it is sometimes called ‘eggy bread’. So fitting.

  4. I’ve been having a once a month “Breakfast for Dinner” meal and I was tired of waffles and French toast or scrambled/fried eggs. This sounds like just the thing to make it interesting!

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