After seeing Alton Brown’s show dedicated to pancakes, it occurred to me that I probably have never had true, made from scratch pancakes. And lately I’ve been curious about the whole banana pancake concoction, so I decided to make them for dinner this week.
Because I was tired and didn’t feel like messing with it, I nixed the bananas and just went with a traditional buttermilk pancake recipe. Alton Brown’s recipe to be exact. So I measured exactly, and gently, slowly, carefully mixed the pancakes. I tested the skillet (because I don’t own a griddle) and waited till the water “danced” appropriately across the surface. I greased the pan with butter, then wiped it off, all like Alton instructed. I even squashed the need to beat out the lumps in my batter.
And what did I get for my efforts? Pancakes that looked and tasted just like the ones my mom used to make me. The ones that came straight outta the Hungry Jack Pancake Mix box. These might have been fluffier, but the taste wasn’t different AT ALL.
The one thing I did learn from his meticulous instructions is exactly what the edges of a pancake should look like just before you flip them. I always had trouble with this before, and usually ended up having weird, oblong shaped cakes because the batter would slop around mid-flip. But no more! I have mastered the art (and timing) of flipping a pancake.
If you’re just dying to make your own pancakes, here’s Alton’s recipe. But it’s really not worth the trouble, unless you’re fresh out of store bought mix.
Alton Brown’s “Instant” Pancake Mix
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. Use the mix within 3 months.“INSTANT” PANCAKES:
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups “Instant” Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desiredHeat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees F. Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don’t try to work all the lumps out.Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.
Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)
Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.
Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.
Yield: 12 pancakes