Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pancakes on Saturdays

Most Saturdays, I make pancakes for breakfast.  I don't do big breakfasts during the week, but I feel that Saturdays demand something different.  Pancakes, waffles, omelets.... something different than the norm.  What is the norm?  Oh, that would be cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, a smoothie, eggs in a basket, anything I can do fast so we can get moving!  But on Saturdays we have extra time in the morning!  So bring on something bigger and better!!

Most of the time Saturdays mean pancakes.  I use Alton Brown's "Instant" Pancake Mix recipe and it is perfect.  The fact that the mix is pre-made and just waiting in your pantry speeds the process up a bit so in the morning there isn't as much to do!  Plus the pancakes are delicious and puffy and everything a pancake should be!

First let me give you the actual pancake mix recipe so you can get a feel for where we are going...

"Instant" Pancake Mix
adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients and put in a container with a tight lid.  Shake to mix.
Use the mix within 3 months.
Printable Recipe

Ok, now that you have the basic recipe, lets make pancakes!!

Put 2 cups of your new awesome pancake mix in a bowl.  In another bowl put 2 cups of buttermilk and 2 egg whites.  In another bowl, put 2 egg yolks and 4 TB cooled melted butter.  Whisk the buttermilk with the egg whites and then whisk the egg yolks and butter together.  Pour the egg yolk/butter mixture into the egg white/buttermilk mixture and whisk together.  At this point I often add a bit of vanilla extract.  Once it is all blended together, pour it into the bowl with the pancake mix and whisk just until it comes together.  Don't worry about lumps.

You can go ahead and get your griddle heating while you do all of this mixing.  Rub some butter all over the griddle and then wipe up the excess with a paper towel.  You don't want to fry your pancakes, you just want the griddle lubricated so they don't stick!

Let me digress for a moment to talk about buttermilk.  Once upon a time, I made these pancakes with the easily-available low-fat buttermilk that you find at the grocery store.  Then we went on vacation and we made these pancakes with fresh buttermilk.  Holy macaroni what a difference!  The fresh buttermilk made the pancakes so puffy and light!  Ah-ha!  I knew I would not be able to find fresh buttermilk in a grocery store near me, so I tried full-fat buttermilk and got similar results!  From that time forward, we only use full-fat buttermilk in our pancakes.  Yes, it is not as good for you, but you don't eat them every day and it is worth it for the delicious, puffy pancakes!  Full-fat buttermilk is hard to find.  The only brand of full-fat buttermilk I can find is Borden, and is called "cultured buttermilk".  My grocery store will have one tiny row of this perfect buttermilk and a zillion sizes and brands of the low-fat variety.  Ugh.  Search out full-fat buttermilk.  Try it.  I think you'll agree that it is worth it! 

Oh, and here is a secret.  Since I can only get this buttermilk in half gallon containers, I use what I can and then before the expiration date hits, I freeze the rest in 2 cup quantities.  Then when I know it is going to be time to make more pancakes (like on Friday night) I take some buttermilk out of the freezer, stick it in the refrigerator, and it is ready in the morning.  If you forget, you can also defrost it slowly in the microwave, you just want to be sure not to cook it!  Either way, once defrosted give it a good whisk to try to blend it all back together, as it sort of separates once it is frozen.  It still works great!

Okay, back to more important things, pancakes!  Your griddle should be nice and hot by now.  Spoon or pour some pancake batter in blobs all over the griddle.  If you have a little person in your house, you might try making tiny blobs aka "baby pancakes".  If you have the urge to put fruit in your pancakes, this is when to add them.  Go ahead and sprinkle in some frozen or fresh blueberries, strawberries, sliced banana, whatever you want!  We tend to use blueberries.  I get a huge bag of organic frozen blueberries at Costco and they are delicious!  When blueberries are in season I'll freeze fresh ones but we always have some of the frozen ones on hand! 

When your pancakes get bubbly around the edges, give them a flip.  They are ready once the entire pancake is set, about 2-3 minutes after flipping, depending on the heat of your griddle.

Go ahead and have some lucky diners dig in!  If you want to finish them all up and eat as a group, turn your oven on to about 200F and place a cooling rack on a baking sheet or sheet pan.  Put the cooked pancakes in a single layer over the cooling rack and cover with a tea towel.  Continue doing this as each batch of pancakes is completed.  When you are ready to eat, just take them out of the oven, place them on a platter and serve with some warmed maple syrup!

If you are wondering how many people a batch of these pancakes makes, it sort of depends on what kind of pancake eaters you have and how big you make the pancakes.  I would guess that my pancakes are generally about 4-5 inches in diameter and I get around 16 or so from a batch.  This feeds the three of us with generally enough left over for the clever girl and I to have some reheated for breakfast another day.

You can also halve the recipe if you don't need as many pancakes.  Before we had the clever girl, this is what we did.  However over time the clever girl was eating more and more pancakes and there wasn't enough with the half batch.  The kid often eats as many pancakes as I do!

"Instant" Pancakes
adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. I don't have an electric gadget like this.  I use a cast iron griddle over our gas stove and put the burners on low.  Not TOTALLY low but pretty low.  I don't want the outsides of the pancakes to cook too fast and leave the insides raw!
Heat oven to 200F.

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.  Lightly butter the griddle and then wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or place on a cooling rack on a baking sheet in the oven and cover with a tea towel.  Keep warm until all are cooked and ready to enjoy!
Printable Recipe

Get ready to have one happy family!!  What a great way to start the day!

1 comment:

  1. Made pancakes last weekend with whole wheat flour. They were great!! (Even without whole buttermilk.) Loved the leftovers for the next mornings, too.


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