Pancakes

by Jeff Berkowitz on February 12, 2010 · 8 comments

in Breakfast

Stack of Pancakes

I have always had a strong dislike for pancake mixes. They often smell stale or rancid and the results are never quite satisfying. These pancakes have a smooth golden exterior with a light fluffy interior that has an aroma which entices you with a hint of toasted flour, fresh butter and a touch of sweetness.

When I was working at Carnegie Mellon University, the catering department had schedule a breakfast for around 450 people. One of the main parts of the menu was pancakes. They asked me how many cases of pancake mix was needed to make enough for this large crowd. I scoffed, “Just get me a case of eggs, a case of milk, a case of butter, a sack of flour, a bag of sugar, some baking powder and some salt. They laughed…”You mean you are going to make them from scratch? Are you mad?” I said, “Trust me: I know what I am doing.”

When the day arrived, I had a crowd of incredulous onlookers, most of whom were well seasoned food-service workers. I had scaled up exactly this recipe…I did have some help separating the 30 dozen eggs and we mixed the dry ingredients the day before….the batter came together perfectly…the food left the kitchen on time…the pancakes were a HUGE HIT!

Naturally, about 3 hours later the leftover pancakes came back to the kitchen. Even hours old and cold, the staff declared them the best pancakes they ever had and to this day those are the comments I get when I serve these to my family and friends.

Pancakes (Adirondack Flap Jacks)

adapted from Gourmet Cookbook, volume I or II (can’t remember which)

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • 4-6 Tbsp melted butter (6 makes it yummier)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar divided in 2 equal parts
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • (optional) chocolate chips, blueberries, diced banana etc.
  1. melt butter in your seasoned heavy bottom skillet, griddle, or non-stick pan
  2. combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; mix well and reserve
  3. separate your eggs being very careful not to get any yolks in the whites, otherwise your whites will not whip, reserve the whites and beat the egg yolks with 1 Tbsp sugar then add milk
  4. very quickly combine egg yolk and milk mixture with the dry ingredients (flour mixture); do not over-mix and do not worry if there are some lumps
  5. pour all of the melted butter from your pan or griddle  into this batter and combine quickly. Again, do not over-mix.
  6. Wipe out your pan with a paper towel. The worst thing you can do to a good pancake is fry it in excess butter or oil.
  7. Combine the egg whites with the last tablespoon of sugar and use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip the egg whites to nice firm peaks.  All equipment must be free of any oily substance or again the whites will not peak.  They should hold their peaks well but still look moist.
  8. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Then add optional ingredients.

Heat your pan or griddle over medium heat.  If you have an electric griddle with a thermostat 350° should be good. The pan should be hot but not smoking.  Pour a ladle full or about 2/3 cups of batter onto your hot pan.  You should hear a nice sizzle when the batter hits the pan.  It is important not to overcrowd the pan to leave room for flipping.  When the surface is covered with bubbles and the sides begin to look dry it is time to turn the pancake.  In one swift motion push your spatula under the pancake lift it and turn it over as close to the same spot it was in before you turned it.  This takes some practice and yes, it’s all in the wrist.  If you are using a nonstick pan you should not have any problems.  If you are not using a nonstick pan and it is properly seasoned you should still have no problems (I used a good professional quality stainless steel pan which are notorious for being sticky with pancakes or eggs but as you can see from the photos; there were no sticking problems because the pan was well seasoned before hand.  We will post the procedure for seasoning any pan separately.)  I implore you, do not put any oil or butter or spray in the pan once it has been seasoned.  This produces a greasy mottled looking pancake that is better left not eaten, there is plenty of butter in the recipe which will lubricate the pan sufficiently for each batch in the pan.  Turn the pancake only the one time, once you see a plethora (a lot) of steam coming off of the top of the pancake and it has risen well, it is done.  Remove it from the pan onto a warm plate, cover it with foil and keep making them.  If you are using optional ingredients, you may need to wipe out the pan with an oily cloth between each set of pancakes. Once there is enough to give everyone some, serve them at once, I am sure you know how to eat them.  Enjoy!

P.S.  If this seems like a lot of work for pancakes, they are worth it and after you have made them a few times and don’t have to consult the recipe too much you will see how easy they are and you will wonder why anyone would ever buy a mix. Plus, they freeze well.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 azelia October 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I love pancakes mixture with sourcream or buttermilk as the acidity with a little bicarbonate of soda create a very light texture.

Try the pancakes with a some Dulce de Leche mixed with some chopped bananas…delicious!

If Ken wants to add to his gluten free flours there’s also rice flour and gram flour (chickpea flour)!
.-= azelia´s last blog ..Fresh Fig Tart with Crème Pâtissière flavoured with Orange Blossom =-.

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2 Jeff Berkowitz October 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I totally agree…one of these days I will do a pancake posts with multiple variations, but these are great suggestions, thanks!

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3 J Chiaravalloti February 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Doesn’t anyone just make a recipe without ‘improving’ it. “Of course I will be replacing the all purpose flour with” … felafel. I gave my recipe for German Multikorn Pumpernickel to a friend who had admired it and he left out the rye and the caraway and substituted amaranth flour for amaranth seed and all purpose flour for bread flour and honey for molasses, then had the nerve to say he had tried my recipe! Arrrgh!

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4 Jeff February 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Point well taken. The first time I try a recipe, I always do it exactly as written and make my modifications to suit my own tastes. I encourage people to play with the recipe. In Ken’s case, he needs a gluten-free recipe and I am happy that my technique worked for him. One of the purposes of this blog was to teach technique too. I do appreciate your comment.

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5 Ken Peterson February 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Best Pancakes ever! For my first attempt I utilized a Wheat free, Gluten Free all purpose flour mix from Bob’s Red Mill. Separating the eggs and whipping the whites made my pancakes the fluffiest ever. Of course butter just makes them better. I am going to make them again this weekend utilizing my own mix of Gluten Free flour (Brown Rice, Coconut & Quinoa) These will need be shifted together with some baking power, baking soda, salt and Xanthan Gum. I also find that allowing the mixture to set for twenty minutes or so the first Pancake is as good as the last.

Thank you for sharing.
KP

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6 Jeff February 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

Ken, thank you for the gluten free ideas. When I was working in restaurants, gluten free meals were requested daily. I would eventually like to add posts for those who would like special diet recipes.

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7 Ken Peterson February 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I can’t wait to try these tomorrow, of course i will be replacing the all purpose flour with a gluten free flour mix, (garbanzo bean flour, tapioca Flour, white sorgham flour, fava Bean flour and Potator starch) I will let you know how they turn out.

Thanks for sharing.

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8 Jeff February 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Thanks Ken, definitely let us know how they turn out because there are a lot of people out there who would benefit from a gluten free alternative to the classic pancake.

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