Chef Daddy Makes Pancakes
October 2, 2010Posted by andrew |
I think many will agree with me when I say that there's nothing quite like waking up to the smell of pancakes in the morning. That delicious toasty smell seems to beckon you out of bed and downstairs to the kitchen, where a hot plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, fresh off the griddle, waited, ready for you to slather with maple syrup and butter.
Unfortunately, when I was a kid, what I thought was the smell of pancakes cooking was usually a piece of food burning underneath the electric stove burner. I'd wake up early on a school day thinking that for some special reason my mom was making pancakes, and it turned out only to be an olfactory byproduct of boiling water for my parents' cups of Taster's Choice instant "coffee", which for some inexplicable reason they confused with real coffee for many years.
In fact, when I learned that coffee actually was made of ground up roasted beans I was pretty shocked, I tell you.
But I digress. Growing up we actually did get pancakes for breakfast, although they were usually restricted to weekend mornings. They also usually came out of a box, Bisquick being our family's baking mix of choice. These days, we usually reserve pancakes for the weekend, too. The Bisquick, however, is long gone in favor of buttermilk pancakes made from scratch. They're really not all that difficult to make, and are made up of a few things that you probably already have in your pantry. Read on, and banish the box forever.
Actually, the one thing you may be missing is buttermilk. If you don't have any, go get some at your earliest convenience. It's pretty handy stuff to have around, and you can use it in stuff like biscuits, waffles, ranch dressing, and even mashed potatoes. If you don't have any buttermilk on hand and are absolutely dead-set on making pancakes right now then go ahead and use regular old lowfat milk and add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, white vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar to it to sour the milk and add some acid to it. It's the acid in the buttermilk or lemon juice that interacts with the baking soda to make the pancakes fluffy, so you definitely need to have it in there. The sour-milk pancakes won't taste quite the same as the buttermilk ones, though. Buttermilk's the way to go.
Of course there are hundreds—possibly thousands—of buttermilk pancake recipes out there. I've tried quite a few over the past few years and have finally put together my own recipe that makes them turn out the way I—and the rest of the family, of course—like them. I think it's pretty good, so why not give it a try?
You're going to need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (or more) buttermilk or low-fat milk soured with lemon juice or vinegar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
Get a large mixing bowl and put all the dry ingredients in it. Most recipes tell you to sift it together, but who has time for that? Just mix them together with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add your buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter or oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixed together, but not totally smooth. You still want some lumps and stuff in there. If the batter seems too thick, add up to one more cup of buttermilk. It's a personal preference thing.
Get a griddle or big frying pan nice and hot, or, better yet, heat an electric griddle to 375ºF. Your pan or griddle is hot enough when a few drops of water spinkled on it immediately skitter around evaporate. Using a ladle, pour batter onto the griddle; about a half-cup per pancake is probably as big as you want to go. At this point, you can even sprinkle on some blueberries or banana slices, unless you're a pancake purist, in which case just leave them alone.
Watch the pancakes—when bubbles and holes to form on the top and the edges begin to brown, it's time to turn them over. Give them a few minutes on the side you just flipped until it's as nice and brown as the side that's already been cooked. You'll want to make sure they're cooked all the way through in the middle.
When done, spread with butter and pour on some real maple syrup.
Note: We have one of those cool Cuisinart Griddler things that folds open to make a nicely sized electric griddle. It's a great gadget to have that you can use for a panini press, grill, and a bunch of other things. We got it as a gift a few years ago and it's been doing pretty heavy duty in our kitchen ever since. You can buy one from Amazon.com for about 90 bucks.