Pancakes!


I have to admit. I am not one to indulge in sweet breakfasts. Growing up in Mexico meant breakfast consisted of heavily sauced items that were usually greasy, spicy, and salty. You know; chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, enchiladas and the sort. So the idea of having “cakes” for breakfast is just different for me. In fact, one of the most commonly eaten breakfast foods, cereal, is on of my least favorite foods. Anyway, I digress, the point is that we have been making pancakes at home, mostly because my girlfriend really likes them.

Last summer I had bought her a book that I think every person interested in cooking should own. It is called “A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes,” by Harold McGee. An admirable title don’t you think? My first ever post here was about how recipes are evil and they deter people from success in cooking. I’ve always thought that understanding what is going on when you are cooking is much more valuable than just being a mere executioner (almost as though we are slaves to these recipes.) This book does just that, it explains why and how things work in the kitchen in a very accessible manner. This last bit is important because I think there are plenty of food science books that are two technical for the lay cook to even be interested in.

We have been trying to not buy packaged foods encouraging us instead to make them and therefore learn about them. A while ago we decided to make pancakes for breakfast and were pleased, but just so, with the results. We looked at the book and found some useful tips. We have since played around with the recipe enough were we think we have arrived at amazing pancakes, and I must say I am a fan.

So heres the recipe, and the reasoning, for amazing pancakes:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 112g    Pastry Flour
  • 15g      White Sugar
  • 1.25g  Salt
  • 7.5g    Baking Powder
  • 7.5g    Baking Soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 50g  Egg
  • 112g Whole Milk
  • 112g Plain Yogurt
  • 22g   Melted Butter

You will notice that all of the measurements are mass measurements. The only way to ensure consistency, and repeated success, is by weighing all of your ingredients. If you don’t yet own a scale, now is the time. A good scale is affordable and probably one of the most useful tools in the kitchen.

Procedure:

20 minutes before you start pull an egg out of the fridge and weigh your milk. Let these sit and come to room temperature. Using cold wet ingredients results in dense pancakes, for fluffy moist pancakes room temperature ingredients are in order. Sift and mix all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the large dry ingredient bowl. Using a fork, very slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Do not over mix! You do not want to create a homogenous mixture, quite the opposite. I mean it, barely mix the two together until they are somewhat together. Yes, even if there are still clumps of flour. Walk away. Let the mixture sit for 4 minutes. This allows the soda and powder to act and your mixture will start to bubble. By using baking powder, a chemical leavener, along with the usually called for soda we are adding a bit of a sour edge to the pancakes. The yogurt is also there for the same reason.

Pre heat a non stick pan on medium-high heat until its quite hot and then lower the heat to almost the lowest setting. Also, turn on your oven to the lowest setting (usually 170F.) It is important to have a hot pan but not have high heat on while the pancakes are cooking because this will scorch the pancakes. Once you have lowered your heat add a pad of cold butter and swirl it around. Using a ladle pour some of your unmixed batter into the hot pan. You will see the pancake mix will spread, then slowly come to a halt. Then the edges will start to bubble. Flip your pancake when you see a bubble pop in the center. Then your pancake will rise: shortly after remove it from the pan! This is the point where most people over cook their pancakes. It really only takes about 20 seconds to cook the other side. Then remove your pancake and place it on a rack in the oven. For your next pancake use a paper towel to clean the browned butter of the pan and let your pan come back up to heat before adding a new pad of cold butter. Once you are done cooking it do not stack them in the oven. Doing so will steam you pancakes and make them dense and dry. Thats what the oven is there for to keep them warm while you cook the rest.

A good way to add variety is by making compound butter. To make a compound butter choose spices or herbs that you think would work, or even orange peel for example, and then work it into some room temperature butter. Put the compound butter on a square of plastic wrap and form a cylinder. Place it in the fridge to let it set and infuse. Then you have delicious butter to add to your pancakes! You could even add maple syrup to a compound butter.

I wish you the best with pancake making. Feel free to comment with any questions or success stories.

[image: http://acozykitchen.com/maple-bacon-pancakes/]

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