I started to call these “The Best Pancakes You Will Ever Put Into Your Mouth In Your Entire Lifetime” but decided that was a little much. But these pancakes?
They are GOOD.
They are, quite simply, the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. Even Beloved, who is lukewarm about pancakes, loved them and said, “Keep this recipe!” They are tender, light and fluffy and have such a lovely flavor it’s almost a shame to put butter and syrup on them.
Ever since I began cooking, I have been plagued by chewy, tough pancakes. And I hated it; why were pancakes made from a mix – especially one where you just add water – fluffy and tender, and mine so…blah? My waffles are good – crispy on the outside, light on the inside – but my pancakes generally, well, sucked.
So Sunday morning I was flipping through my stained and dog-eared copy of The Settlement Cookbook, idling perusing pancake and griddle cake recipes, when I decided to combine three of them: one using buttermilk, one using sour milk and one using sour cream.
Only I used yogurt. Because that’s the way I roll.
Actually, I used yogurt because I had no buttermilk or sour cream on hand, and since yogurt is a cultured dairy product like buttermilk and sour cream (kefir belongs in that category as well) I decided that it would work just as well.
I was mistaken – it worked better. I have finally found the secret to tender, fluffy and flavorful pancakes. It may be more involved than pouring water into a plastic jug and shaking, but it is worth every bit of effort. Many batters of this type benefit from resting for a period of time before being cooked, but as with any batter that contains a cultured dairy product and baking soda for the leavening, it needs to be used right away, or the pancakes won’t rise properly.
This recipe also makes a LOT of pancakes, so make them for a crowd or allow the extras to cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing.
Note: I used plain (unsweetened, unflavored) full-fat yogurt, so I have no idea how this would come out with a low-fat or non-fat yogurt. If you use it, let me know your results.
makes about 12 three-inch pancakes
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt
1 cup whole milk
1 egg, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar. Place the white of the egg in a small mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until stiff but not dry. Whisk the yolk together with the yogurt and the melted butter in a third bowl.
In 3 additions, add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture; stir until combined but lumpy – it will be very thick. Gradually stir in the whole milk, being careful not to over-mix the batter. Gently fold in the egg whites. The batter should be a little thick, but light-textured.
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and test temperature by sprinkling with a few drops of water. If the water disappears at once, the griddle is too hot. If it flattens out and boils, the griddle is not hot enough. If the drops bounce and sizzle before disappearing, the griddle is ready for use. Brush it lightly with vegetable oil or melted butter.
Pour the batter in uniform amounts from a pitcher or the tip of a large spoon (I use a ladle; it holds just about 1/4 cup of batter). When the surface of the pancakes are full of bubbles and the edges become set, turn them with a spatula and brown the other side. Turn only once.
Serve at once, or keep warm for a few minutes in a 200º F oven.