1 quart buckwheat flour
4 tbs. homemade yeast (1-2 packets or cakes commercial yeast)
1 tsp. salt
1 handful Indian [corn] meal
2 tbs. molasses-not syrup
[Add] warm water enough to make a thin batter. Beat very well and set to rise in a warm place. If the batter is in the least sour in the morning, stir in a very little soda dissolved in hot water.
Mix in an earthen crock, and leave some in the bottom each morning–a cupful or two–to serve as sponge for the next night, instead of getting fresh yeast. In cold weather this plan can be successfully pursued for a week or ten days without setting a new supply. Of course you add the usual quantity of flour, &c., every night, and beat up well.
Do not make your cakes too small. Buckwheats should be of generous size. Some put two-thirds buckwheat, one third oat-meal, omitting the Indian.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Buckwheat has always been a sort of poor relation in the cooking world. It is not only no relation to a male deer but not any sort of kinfolk to wheat, either–and to go for a clean sweep it is not, botanically speaking, even a grain at all. Here the buckwheat is treated the same as, and probably stored in a crock next to, the home’s yeast supply. When prepared as directed it would be ready to go on the stove as soon as the cook was up, dressed, had the fire in the stove started and built up to the proper stage, had gone out to the smokehouse for meat and the chicken coop for eggs–and if you had to do all that every morning you would appreciate any slightest bit of time-saving convenience too.