Thursday, January 5, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes

I love pancakes. I can't think of a time of day that isn't perfect for pancakes. In the pantheon of pancakes the buttermilk pancake is the gold standard of fluffy, sweet, yet tangy, pillowy perfection. A few weeks ago my wife and I had a rather negative experience with some pancakes, and this poor confection was calling out for redemption. When I went online for a good recipe, most of them seemed pretty poorly written, or just had ingredients that didn't make much sense. So, after a little experimenting, I put this together and I made some of the best buttermilk pancakes I have ever had. Warning: I'm going to get pretty indepth with my directions here, so the block of text might seem intimidating but I assure you it is very simple, I just want to explain why I'm having you do what I'm having you do.


3 C AP flour
1 T baking powder
1.5 t baking soda
½ t salt
3 C lowfat buttermilk
3 eggs
¼ C sugar
⅓ C shortening or butter, melted*


These pancakes are assembled using the muffin method which means you combine all your dry ingredients first, then all your wet ingredients (yes, sugar counts as a wet ingredient when making cakes, which these are, just fried cakes) and then the two mixtures are added together. Making sure both sets are mixed thoroughly before combining means the final mixture will come together with less stirring, and less stirring means softer pancakes. So, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl then mix the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and shortening or butter in another bowl.

While the wet and dry teams are separate, then can be held that way for a little while, but once they are combined, chemical reactions start taking place and you are committed. When you are ready for pancake making, mix the wet into the dry team using a whisk, stir only 12-15 times. Yes, there will be lumps, but that is ok, they will work themselves out. Besides, if you work the batter till it is completely smooth you will have a chewier, bread-like pancake. Now let the batter sit for 10 minutes. This will allow the flour to hydrate without agitation, and this is a pretty thick batter that will trap the air bubbles that the baking powder and soda are busily making.

While your batter is resting, heat up your favorite liberally oiled griddle. You'll know the griddle is ready when a few drops of water sprayed on the surface skitter before boiling off instead of instantly disappearing. Once the 10 minutes is up and your griddle is nice and hot, it's time to start cooking pancakes

Pour on a ladle of batter and, using the back of the ladle, spread the batter out into a roughly 5-6 inch circle. You'll know you are ready to flip when bubbles in the center of the pancake break without filling back in. Flip with a wide turning spatula, and cook until the side that is now down is golden brown. Keep finished pancakes warm in a low oven until ready to serve to a grateful world.

*I recommend shortening for this recipe because, with its lower water content, it creates a fluffier pancake. I know that shortening is worse for you than butter, but come on, we are making pancakes here, not health food.

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