Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

October 11, 2012

Toss the pancake box and make your own

TRAVERSE CITY — Pancakes make a wonderful breakfast.

However, made with some of the mixes such as Aunt Jemima or Bisquick, pancakes don't offer much to fortify the body.

Yet, pancakes can offer a delicious and effective way to increase whole grains in your diet. With a little planning, you can make your very own pancake mix that is good for you and lends itself to your personal preferences.

Pancakes are not only wonderful for the whole family, but to serve when entertaining. They can be eaten plain or dress them up with sweet potatoes, berries or fruit.

Begin by shopping for a variety of different flours, available today in many of our local markets. Try oat flour, spelt flour, brown rice flour, whole wheat flour and soy flour. Keep unbleached flour, buttermilk, milk, eggs, butter, baking powder, baking soda and sugar on hand.

Experiment with the different flours to discover the ones you like best. I tend to use anything I have on hand in similar proportions. However, should you not favor a certain flour, leave it out and increase the flours you do like.

While I used to make each batter from scratch, hauling all of the ingredients from the pantry can be a bit much. To make things easier, I have begun to assemble and store the dry ingredients in a large batch. Having the basic mix on hand makes serving pancakes easier.

Use this first recipe as a base to create Sweet Potato Pancakes, Banana-Filled Pancakes and Apple Pancakes.

Basic Pancake Recipe

½ c. unbleached flour

½ c. other flour or flour combination: soy, brown rice, oat, spelt

2 t. sugar

½ t. baking powder

¼ t. baking soda

1 egg

¾ c. buttermilk

¼ c. milk (plus a little more if needed to thin batter)

2 T. butter

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the egg, buttermilk and milk in a smaller bowl. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and blend, leaving a few small lumps. Melt the butter and stir into the batter.

Heat frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil or butter to surface and pour batter onto griddle in puddles. Fry the cakes until bubbles pop on surface and underside is a toasty brown; flip and cook second side. Adjust the heat — higher if pancakes cook too slowly, lower if they brown too quickly. Thin with milk if pancakes are too thick.

Makes about 6 4-inch pancakes. Hint: Multiply as needed to make a larger quantity.

To make this next mix, allow 50 percent unbleached flour to half other flours. The 50 percent unbleached flour allows your mix to behave as if it were all wheat. Using more than half of the other flours may make your batter behave differently.

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