Saturday, January 15, 2011

Flippin’ flapjacks

PancakesI was asked to make some American-style pancakes as part of a midday luncheon today.  This is basic breakfast cooking in the US: I think it fits between learning how to stir hot water into mix-‘n-eat oatmeal and how to scramble an egg.

Unfortunately, our usual procedure was to get the Krusteaz mix, add egg and milk, and fire up the griddle.  Minus the mix and the griddle, I was really thrown back to Boy Scout days when we made do with what we had (scrambled pancakes was one memorable result).

I poked around on the recipe sites and found a basic pancake batter recipe:

Ingredients (dozen pancakes)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Minus measuring cups, I poured an approximate cup of flour into a bowl, added 2/3 measures of all the dry ingredients, cracked in a medium egg, then beat it with a fork, adding random splashes of milk until it had the right consistency.  A teflon fry pan, butter to grease the pan (bubbling but not brown), and spoon in a dollop of batter.  It flattened nicely and darkened encouragingly around the edges, but bubbles were slow to raise across the center.  I peeked, I flipped: it had more of a french toast look than a pancake nut-brown, but the batter was cooking all the way through.  I stirred in some blueberries and finished the batch.

Since nobody had tried American-style pancakes  before (and I had a bottle of maple syrup on hand), they passed inspection at the table.  But I know that they didn’t have the correct ‘light and fluffy’ texture and didn’t brown like I expected.

So: Has anyone got a good ‘from scratch’ recipe?  I suspect that I might need more baking powder and a different cooking surface; maybe my batter was a touch too thick.  Suggestions (and grandmotherly recipes or tips) welcomed.


Jules: said...

Equal parts milk and flour (assuming you're measuring by volume). Use 1 egg per cup of flour. For uber-fluffage, divide the milk 1:2 karnemelk to normal milk. I typically use 2 Tbsp sugar, and a 2:1 ratio of baking powder to baking soda (1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda). A generous pinch of salt. And about two tablespoons melted butter.

The exact recipe doesn't really matter, though. What matters most is that you measure and mix your dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients, and then, when you add wet to dry, you mix them together as quickly as possible with a minimum of mixing. Lumps are okay--the force of the bubbles forming will flatten out most lumps. If you're stirring for more than 1 minute, it's too long.

My boyfriend's favorite pancake is bacon and chocolate. He eats one and it puts it into a food coma :-) I'm more partial to apples.

Jules: said...

Hope that helps. Pancakes, no matter what, are always awesome.

Dave Hampton said...

Actually, this is all really helpful, thanks. I did stir and stir to get the lumps out, then added a bit of milk when it stiffened up - probably bad. Karnemelk is an interesting idea - I'm headed back to the kitchen(ette) :)

Bernd said...

Try Koopmans American Pancakes available from the lager Albert Heijn stores; just add milk and eggs.

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks, Bernd: I'm headed back this weekend and will look in teh local '#5'. Did you hear that Albert Heijn's grandson passed away this week; amazing that they are still working the business within the family.