Another sweet treat for you!…But this time to start off your day! Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, but often it is neglected or it is a repetitive routine (at least in Spain): coffee and a toast, or some cereals. So, whenever we have time to make something different to start our day, it is a real pleasure!
I’ve been fighting with pancakes over the years! I had developed a love & hate relationship. I’ve tried so many recipes, I can’t even give you a number, but well over 50, I would say. Some seemed to work one day, but not the next, or they just weren’t fluffy enough, or moist enough, or lacked a comforting flavour…Many times, instead of starting my day well, I felt like crying…how could I not get just what I wanted? How frustrating!
In that path to my “perfect” pancakes I encountered buttermilk pancakes. I didn’t even know what buttermilk was…it is just not an ingredient here in Spain. My only reference for good pancakes were those from a restaurant chain here called VIPS. My mom used to take me there right after the dentist, which was next door to one. It was my reward for putting up with all that torture (they’ve spent a fortune on my teeth, but to me it was hell being there so often…now I’m so grateful, though).
Since I couldn’t find buttermilk, I read about souring milk yourself to make a sort of substitute. This made pancakes much better, much moister and gave them a more delicate flavour than previous recipes with plain milk. I kept on trying recipes…and one day, I found buttermilk!…well, actually “butter-milch, 1% fett” (from Germany). I tried it, and guess what! Linguini said that it was too sour for his liking!…as since it is thick, it requires more to the same amount of flour. So, back to soured milk! The recipe that follows is my favourite pancake recipe so far…I use soured milk, which people in Spain will appreciate, as milk and lemon are available to all. If you have access to buttermilk, there’s a substitution as well.
We’ve definitely moved up from the original recipe, since last time Linguini tried a VIPS pancake, he came home all upset telling me I had screwed up his afternoon snacks, as he no longer liked the pancakes! I hope you like these as much as we do. So…enjoy breakfast!
My “final” american pancakes
(makes about 10 pancakes)
240g of whole milk (full-fat)First, prepare your sour milk. Warm the milk (in the microwave it’s faster and cleaner) to about 38ºC (that it feels warm but not hot to the touch), add the lemon juice and stir. You should see that it starts to curdle immediately and if you taste it, it’s slightly sour, but just slightly. Let sit for about 10 minutes… This is what you want to get:
10g lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 L-size egg
130g all-purpose flour
12g baking powder
pinch of salt
30g melted butter
butter for greasing the griddle
OR substitute the milk and lemon juice for about 340g of buttermilk
Meanwhile in a bowl that’s large enough to hold all ingredients together put all dry ingredients: place the sugar and the pinch of salt and sift the flour and the baking powder and mix together. Most recipes use some baking soda as well, half of the amount of baking powder, as it reacts strongly with the acid in the soured milk or buttermilk, using just baking powder works for me, but if you like, substitute 5g of baking powder for 2.5g of baking soda, 1/2 tsp, that is.
Now, the wet ingredients in another bowl. Beat the egg, add in the soured milk and finally beat in the melted butter.
Keep wet and dry ingredients separate until the moment you are ready to use the batter. If you want to make some toppings or sauces, do them now. I am happy with some freshly half-whipped cream and maple syrup…but Linguini won’t have his pancakes unless I make a hot fudge sauce for him. So unless it’s ready, I would do it now.
Preheat your griddle to medium-low heat. The heat should be rather on the low side. For the bubbles in the batter to go to the surface and the sides to be dry enough to turn, you need to let it cook for over 30 seconds. So, if it is too hot, the pancake will just burn and flipping will be a nightmare! if it has set enough, it’s super easy. To test, you can add a drop of water, if it “dances” before it sizzles and evaporates, it’s the right temperature. Whereas if as you add it it just evaporates, it’s too hot, so adjust it.
By the way, I use a griddle large enough to fit 3 pancakes, if possible choose the biggest you can find, it saves you time. Also, if it has a thick bottom it distributes heat better without overheating or having hot spots.
So, whenever ready, add your wet ingredients into your dry, folding them in just enough to mix lightly. YOU DON’T WANT TO OVERMIX. If you beat them both until well integrated, your pancakes will be stiff and dry. This is sort of like tempura, you want to see the lumps!
Grease your pan with a bit of butter. I fold some kitchen paper and grab a tiny bit of butter and use it to grease the pan, that way it won’t stick and it will look as if there’s barely any butter in the pan. If you put too much, it will burn, plus the surface of the pancake won’t be smoothly browned, but rather spotted.
Now, it’s up to you to decide how big you want your pancakes and ladle the amount accordingly, Mine were about 1/2 cup of batter each. So, do the test in your griddle, pour the amount you want, keeping in mind that it will expand, so make sure you leave space in between the batter you pour.
Time for turning…your first side will take about 30 sec, but to know when to flip just notice if the sides seem to be set. If it looks like the photo below, you are ready to flip it and you won’t make a mess:
Flip and leave a little less time to cook the second side.
Remove the done pancakes into a little tray with some kitchen paper underneath so it doesn’t sweat and get mushy, side by side.
Keep going until you use up all your batter.
Now, you are ready to enjoy them!
I took this shot against a window, just to show you how airy they are, you can see through the holes inside even through the front side!
And take a look at the back, it’s almost like a crumpet! through those holes is where the butter and maple syrup or whipped cream bliss goes into the fluffy inside!
You can see I’m not lying…
Oh boy, ode to breakfast!
I forgot to mention that if you want to add blueberries into the pancakes, you should do that after you’ve poured the batter into the pan and you start to see the bubbles begin to set. I’ve read it’s recommended that you add them frozen, but to me, if you add them right then, it works just fine. Plus, I like them to get a bit soft!
Like I said, with a bit of half whipped cream and maple syrup…or hot chocolate fudge…a capital sin!!!