I had never made pancakes before and, while breakfast foods aren’t usually at the top of my recipe box, I figured if they have “cake” in the name, I might as well have a go at it. I settled on one old-fashioned buttermilk recipe and one for classic pancakes (courtesy of Ms. Stewart). Making the two different batches at the same time was a little challenging, especially at 6am (not my finest hour), but they both turned out wonderfully and my family thoroughly enjoyed their stint as my guinea pigs.
First, the buttermilk:
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dab of butter for the pan
- “Sour” the milk with the vinegar in a medium cooking bowl (big enough for all the ingredients)
- Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar in a separate bowl
- Whisk egg and oil into the “soured” milk
- Pour in the mixed dry ingredients and whisk the batter until the lumps are gone (some small ones may remain, but the batter should be pretty smooth)
- Heat your favorite skillet over a medium flame and spread your dab of butter around in there (obviously you don’t want your pancake swimming in butter, but it’s ok if you use a couple extra dabs, especially in between pancakes to make sure the skillet keeps well greased)
- Scoop about 1/3 cup (or more/less depending on how big you want your pancakes) of batter and pour it into the center of the skillet (I used a ladle and eye-balled). After the first one, I used the back of my ladle to gently pat down and spread the dough a little because the pancakes fluff and thicken as they cook, and they were making me nervous with how thick they got
- Once the bottom is a medium-golden brown, flip the pancake and cook the other side. If one side is not quite done, go ahead and flip it back (pancakes, unlike hamburger patties, are no worse for wear after a couple extra flips, though I would try to reduce extra handling anyways)
These really had a fantastic taste to them, very deeply layered and rich. They were a little denser, though still fluffy, and almost imperceptibly drier (which in no way detracted from their soft, golden, goodness). The batter was easy and kind, pleasantly thick (and rather tasty). While my family preferred Ms. Stewart’s pancakes to these, it’s still a great recipe for buttermilk pancakes.
This is THE classic pancake; the recipe really undersells with the title “Basic Pancakes”. These pancakes were lightly flavored and incredibly fluffy with just a hint of sweetness. The batter was a little thinner than the buttermilk, but cooked up just fine with no problems. The pancakes had a wonderful little crisp to the outside and a gentle airiness inside. I used oil instead of butter, and maybe next time I’ll try them out with butter, just for fun. There will definitely be a next time for these pancakes. I didn’t do the oven-warming, but since it takes a while to get all the pancakes done, I’ll definitely use that little trick next time.
The secret to perfectly cooked pancakes is patience. It’s better to cook them a little slower and more evenly, than try to rush them (they’ll end up burnt outside and undercooked inside)
As far as toppings, etc. I made a few plain from each batch as well as almond, pecan brown sugar, chocolate chip (I used semi-sweet and white chocolate), and one with chopped crystallized ginger (which was very yummy and exotic). Basically anything I could grab out of the front of my pantry. For all of those, I simply pressed the nuts, chocolate, etc. into the uncooked top of the pancake after I scooped the batter into the skillet.