I like pancakes.
I like them thick and fluffy and full of maple syrupy goodness. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find good pancakes. So finally out of desperation, I stole a recipe from Alton Brown. So now I get pancakes like this:
Luckily, good pancakes are fairly simple. It turns out that the fluffiness that you want comes from combining just the right leavening agents with the right amount of heat.
Here’s what I do: the following scheme makes between six and eight pancakes depending on how big you make them.
In bowl #1, mix:
- 2 cups flour.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
- 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Grated nutmeg. Just slide that whole nutmeg over your microplane grater ten or fifteen times. This makes a big difference.
Mix this up with a whisk so that everything is combined very evenly. This is important.
Next, in bowl #2 beat up 2 eggs. Then melt 1⁄4 stick of butter and mix that in. Then measure about 2 cups of buttermilk and mix that in. I do this differently than Alton, who separates the eggs to make them mix better, because I am a lazy bastard.
Now pour the contents of bowl #2 into bowl #1. Get your whisk and mix it about 10 times. All you need to do is get the dry ingredients wet and mixed together. It’s OK if it’s lumpy, the lumps will cook out. If the mixture is too thick (it usually is for me because I measure the flour too aggressively) then add a tablespoon or two of plain milk to thin it out. It’s important not to overmix here because it makes the pancakes chewy.
Now heat up a pan or griddle. The cooking surface should be between 350 and 400 degrees. Put one scoop of batter in the pan. I use a small soup ladle for this purpose. Let the batter cook on one side for about two minutes. When you see bubbles on the top side, flip the pancakes over and cook them for another two minutes. Don’t get impatient here, or you will get goopy wet pancakes. Those suck.
If you did everything right, when you flip the pancake it will puff up like this:
If it doesn’t do this, your pan is not hot enough and the leavening in the batter is not activating. The result will be thin rubbery pancakes that no one will like, so turn the heat up a bit. I had this happen when I tried to use a shitty electric griddle to cook pancakes on. I have since gone back to using my trusty steel frying pan or the cast iron griddle.
When the cakes are done, put them on a plate and pour some maple syrup over them. If I catch you using that brown corn syrup crap on your pancakes I will hunt you down like a dog. If you did everything right, the syrup will fill up the little air holes in the pancakes with mapley goodness. There really isn’t anything better to eat for breakfast.
I have been experimenting with adding cinnamon and ginger to the dry mix above to try and get closer to the spicy flavor in Dottie’s pancakes. But I’m not there yet.
A few years after writing this recipe I started adding a bit of vanilla in the wet side. Just a dash. It makes a difference.