I’ve known about pancakes in my bones for most of my life. My mom’s are legendary. She made them regularly, and when I was finally allowed to help she always watched over my shoulder when I mixed the wet and dry ingredients. “Just a few swift strokes!!” she’d shout after my fourth gentle, rubber-spatula-ed fold. I can hear it still, every time I mix these up.
That’s the first key to great pancakes. After years of experimenting and practice, I’ve found that, for truly unforgettable pancakes, it’s also important to use buttermilk — not milk mixed with lemon juice! — plus at least half white flour and a decent quantity of melted butter. Some folks like a splash of vanilla in the batter, which is fine, though I prefer to let the maple syrup take centre stage. For more tips and tricks, watch this episode of the Twenty-Minute Cooking School.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- Whisk the flours with sugar, baking powder and soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the buttermilk with eggs and melted butter in a small bowl.
- Heat your largest non-stick fry pan over medium-high and turn the oven oven to its lowest setting. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir it assertively but no more than 5 – 7 times. It’s ok if you can still see streaks of flour, in fact that’s a good thing!
- By now the pan should be hot. I use a small measuring cup to pour in the batter (which is very thck). Leave the pancakes alone until the surface is covered with small bubbles. Flip and cook another minute or so. The tops of the pancakes should look matte (not shiny). Don’t touch the pancakes and never ever flip them again.
- Transfer them to a rack on a baking sheet and keep the pancakes warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the batter. For subsequent batches, you’ll likely need to reduce the heat under the pan to medium if not medium-low.