Perfect Pancakes

Not long after M began eating table food we established the tradition of Sunday Pancakes in our house.  After some trial and error we realized that I was the chief pancake maker in the house so every Sunday I played around with the routine. It started innocently enough with Bisquick and some Log Cabin but it has now evolved, in true food snob fashion, to pancakes from scratch and local maple syrup.  The first revelation was when I purchased a cast-iron 2-burner griddle which made flipping and heat control much easier.  Plus I could make 4 cakes at a time, thus getting breakfast on the table in less then an hour.

Then I started looking around for the best pancake recipe I could find.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out that Alton Brown’s was the best. Truthfully pancakes from scratch are not that hard and I’m guessing you have what you need in your pantry already. AB’s recipe tells you how to mix enough dry ingredients for 3 batches so you can use it like instant mix but it’s so easy I just make what I need each week.  His instructions were a new concept to me – you whisk the yellow (melted butter + egg yolks) and the white (buttermilk + egg whites) separately before mixing together and adding to the dry stuff.  This produces a very thick batter which looked all wrong the first time I made it, but it produces thick, fluffy pancakes!

I do have a few tweaks that I’ve learned along the way to make the pancakes even better:

  1. Get good, full-fat buttermilk. You want thick, creamy buttermilk not the watery stuff you find in many mega-marts.  We get ours at the Farmer’s Market but have also found that Trader Joe’s has a good one.
  2. I add in a tsp of vanilla to the liquids before adding the mix to the dry.
  3. Whip the egg whites to almost soft-peak before adding the buttermilk for extremely light and airy pancakes.  Make sure to gently fold everything together after whipping the egg whites.

Mark likes to top his with peanut butter and I prefer local maple syrup that we pick up at the Farmer’s Market.  We both use plain, old Trader Joe’s butter but I suspect that I may soon go the way of Jonniker and Metalia and seek out some cultured butter to try.  As for M, she rarely eats more then 2 bites but I am counting on her to start liking pancakes someday.

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