Monday, September 17, 2012

For the next ten minutes everything comes with Pancakes

I just love the 70's sitcom Lavern & Shirley.  One of the funniest episodes has to be "The Diner". In this episode, Lenny inherits a restaurant from his recently deceased uncle. Lavern and Shirley take jobs at the restaurant and everything goes down hill from there... as you probably can imagine.

Whether you call them hotcakes, flapjacks or griddlecakes, pancakes are the breakfast food that everyone loves, both young, middle aged and old.  

I think we all grew up eating pancakes as kids. I loved the silver-dollar pancakes my mom used to make just for me when the rest of the family got regular sized ones. They were just the right size for a little kid. One or two bites and they were gone.

For the longest time, my "go to" pancake recipe was on the back of Krusteaz box. Used for both pancakes and waffles, this was the way to go, not to mention what I grew up on.  

However, somehow I could never get my pancakes to turn out like my mother's. I asked what she did, followed her instructions to the T (she added pure vanilla extract as well as soda water to make them lighter,) but they still did not turn out like Mom's.

I tried a few different mixes and some "from scratch" recipes also, some with good results, others not so good. I was getting very discouraged and was about to give up on homemade pancakes.

Then finally, while searching through one of my favorite cookbooks, I found a pancake recipe that sounded very interesting. The pancakes in this recipe were made with cake flour, rolled oats and buttermilk. The recipe sounded delicious and easy to make.

I whipped up a batch and served them with pure maple syrup, knowing from the first bite that I had found a winning recipe. This recipe is so good, I consider these pancakes to be better than anything I've eaten at a restaurant (even the ones that specialize in pancakes.)

Since that day, this has been my "go to" pancake recipe.

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes:

155 grams all-purpose flour
60 grams cake flour
45 grams quick-cooking rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
75 grams unsalted butter, melted
Extra butter for serving
Pure Maple syrup, warmed

Sliced bananas (optional)
Dried currents or raisins (optional)
Roasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Yes, you probably noticed that I listed the ingredients using metric measures.  I did this because, for me, this is the only way to properly measure ingredients. Since I want these pancakes to turn out perfectly every time, I use metric measures. I actually do this for much of my baking.  

Place a large glass bowl on a digital kitchen scale. Turn on the scale and zero it out.
Weigh the dry ingredients directly into the bowl, zeroing out the scale after each addition: all-purpose flour, cake flour and oats. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Remember, this is a a very important step.  (Check out The Bad Egg if you do not know why.) 
Mix the eggs slightly with a fork.
Pour the eggs into the buttermilk along with the melted butter and stir to combine.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Heat a large cast iron griddle on medium heat and brush lightly with butter or cooking spray.  

After 10 minutes, spoon batter into griddle and cook for about 2 minutes or until large bubbles begin to appear in batter. I use a batter dispenser to ensure perfect, even pancakes every time.

Turn over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.  

Remove from griddle and place on a warmed French White porcelain platter or in a preheated 200º F oven.

To serve, put the sliced bananas, dried currants or raisins, roasted nuts and butter in separate bowls. Place on the table along with the warmed pure maple syrup. Place three or four pancakes on a French White porcelain plate and serve immediately.   

Applewood smoked bacon or pork sausage patties make an excellent side dish. This is how I served them to Mom on Mother's Day a couple years ago and she just loved them. (It's nice to know I got Mom's approval.)

When it comes to pancakes, (griddlecakes, hotcakes, flapjacks - whatever you choose to call them,) these are the best. Pancakes are what's for dinner... or breakfast. 

Cheers,  Brad

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