Almost four years ago Jeff and I walked down the grassy isle and got married. It was a simple small wedding at a state park followed by a pancake and mimosa lunch. The pancakes were perfect. We even had a panCake cutting instead of a traditional cake cutting. (If you want to know more about our wedding check out our wedding blog: http://www.lowimpactwedding.blogspot.com/)
However it is more than just a recipe; the technique for making pancakes is cruitial. You can have all the right proportions, but if the skillet isn't hot enough or the batter is over mixed, well, you'll have flat pancakes with doughy centers and be disapointed.
Below I'll go through, not only the best pancake recipe, but also how to mix the batter, how to make sure you have the right heat and amount of oil in your skillet, and how to keep the pancakes warm and crisp until you are ready to serve them. Plus tips on serving eggs with pancakes. First the recipe:
The Best Ever Buttermilk Pancakes2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 large egg
3 tablepoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
oil for the skillet
Yields 4 Servings
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Wisk them together and then form a well in the middle. Set aside. Combine the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Wisk them together.
Step 2: Pour the wet ingredients into the well you formed in the middle of the dry ingredients. Using a wisk or a fork mix scraping the bottom of the bowl, mixing just until everything is moist, but still lumpy. The batter will be very thick, this is the way it should be. Do not over mix.
Step 3: Choose a skillet that is heavy and with a large flat bottom. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-low for at least 3 minutes before adding batter. Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of batter into the skillet. Depending on the skillet you might be able to cook more than one at a time. This batter is thick so you may need to help it spread out. As the pancakes cook tilt the skillet to move the oil around. The oil will make the edges of the pancakes nice and crispy. Cook the pancakes for two minutes or until golden brown than flip them over and brown the other side. The second side should take slightly less time than the first. Serve warm.
Trouble Shooting and Pancake Making Tips
The pancakes are still doughy in the middle: If the center is still doughy when the sides are browned your skillet is too hot. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the center is set. Do not flatten the pancakes with your spatula this will ruin the texture. Also it may help to spread the batter out when you pour into the skillet if the batter is extra thick.
How much oil to use in the skillet: If you want super healthy pancakes use as little oil as you can. You will need a little to keep the pancakes from sticking. If you want crispy delicious pancakes, add 2-4 tablespoons. Tilt the skillet as you cook to move the oil around so the the pancakes gets lightly fried on all sides. This results in the best pancakes ever.
How to keep pancakes warm: When your cooking for a crowd you want to serve everyone at once. It's also best to keep the pancakes warm rather than reheating them. Reheating can make them rubbery. Put your oven on warm (about 150-175 degrees F). Prepare a cookie sheet with a cooling wrack on top. Put that in the warm oven. As you finish the pancakes pop them onto the cooling rack in the warm oven. They'll stay warm and crisp until you are ready to serve.
When do I make the eggs? If you are serving pancakes with eggs you will want to make the eggs last. Eggs don't like being held over. Put all the pancakes in the warm oven, then reduce the burner heat to low. You can even use the same skillet to cook the eggs. Once the eggs are cooked serve immediately.
The pancakes are tough and flat, what went wrong? This is a case of over mixing the batter. When the batter gets over mixed all the baking soda and powder reacts and there is none left to make the air bubbles that makes the pancakes fluffy. Also mixing causes glueten in the flour to develop. Glueten forms long chains of protiens the more it is worked. This makes the batter more elastic, but also less tender. So less mixing is less work and it makes for better pancakes. Sounds good to me.
How to Freeze the Leftovers: It's really hard to half this recipe because it calls for one egg. Instead of trying to use half an egg, simply make a full batch and freeze your leftovers. Arrange all the leftover pancakes on a cookie sheet uncovered and pop it into the freezer for a couple hours. Pull them out and pry them off the cookie sheet and package them into airtight containers. You can store them in the freezer for several months. To reheat I usually put them in the microwave for a half minute then toast them in the toaster or toaster oven. They are 90% as good as the day you made them fresh.
So there you go. You are now a pancake making wizard. Now all you have to decide is what toppings you want to go with your deliciously crisp and tender pancakes. I suggest honey and raspberries.