Thursday, February 21, 2013

pancake studies & a recipe

Confession: Since Ana's pancake post, I've been kind of absorbed by pancakes. Before our Saturday waffle tradition, we had a pancake tradition (Sam will remember those days!). It started as a baby step toward getting soaked grains in our diet, a la Nourishing Traditions. In my wheat days, this was okay, they were good! Shit gets more complicated when you deviate from wheat bases, son!

Like, look at this article's pictures. I had googled "pancakes raw in the middle" and found this. See that thick fluffy white perfection? That does not happen with thicker, rougher, gluten-free flours yo! (Plus, did you see the recipe for fake maple syrup? Ewww.)

But even before I started dabbling with multiple grains, I'd had issues; they'd sometimes burn on the outside and be yucky in the middle, things like that.

The Smitten Kitchen Pancake 101 helped a lot. I now use a pastry brush to coat the pan with the thinnest quantity of butter, having realized that a) too much butter makes them fry in a way that is not true to the ideal pancake, and b) butter smokes!. I also stick to a lower heat, as she recommends. I am still amazed that they take sooo freakin long, and they never get perfect and fluffy in the middle, but I think I've just realized that gluten-free pancakes cannot and will not do that. White wheat flour is a mysterious and wonderful substance, and it refuses imitation.

This post was also helpful, if only on the level of sympathy with pancake frustration (and wow, sour cream with maple syrup, why has this previously been absent from my life?).

So that all having been said, here is my present recipe, with which I am satisfied. You can use other flours in place of millet, but keep the flax - gluten-free pancakes are agonizing without flax because they break no matter how gentle you are, how evenly you turn them, how small they are, etc. Flax is very gluey and holds it all together; I didn't have a single crack-through having made two batches of these. Don't even attempt GF pancakes without flax. Really.

Without further ado...

Amy's GF Flax & Millet Pancakes

The night before, combine:

1 c warm milk/water/kefir/mix
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c ground flax*
1/2 c ground millet*

* I make these both in my Magic Bullet, but you could use a proper grain mill (yes, it's on my wishlist, thanks for asking, my birthday is only 4 months away!!) or commercially ground flours, whatever floats your boat!

Stir well, cover, leave out on the counter.

In the morning, preheat your skillet (I do one notch below medium), then beat in (I used an electronic hand soup blender):

1/2 c water
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Make your coffee or tea while you wait for the skillet to preheat. Get your pancake station organized. Now get ready to cook!

My station - batter with measuring cup for pouring on my right, white mug with melted butter and a silicone pastry brush behind the pan, a white plate and spatula on the left (just out of sight).

Brush on your butter (I might try ghee next time), then pour! I use about 1/2 c per pancake.

It's ready to flip as the drier, more set-looking edges start creeping inward.

Flip! Hello lovely brown.

This is the second side, just to show you, though in fact I cooked it a little longer, as mine seem to be quite moist in the middle forever.
They are quite thin. We're out of maple syrup and I'm stubborn about only buying it when the price is good, so I've been eating mine with berry coulis... but I recommend maple syrup and butter, of course. Or maybe real live fermented sour cream. Omnomnom.
Yields 6-8 pancakes, depending on size; enough to feed 2 people straight or up to 4 if served with bacon or some other delice!

 My next project is making sprouted flour for these quick types of things and increased digestibility (I know, I totally sound like I'm becoming a super crunchy homesteader lady! Or wait, do I already seem like that?); I have quinoa, millet and brown rice sprouting as we speak. Exciting! I'll let y'all know how that goes!


  1. Are you happy with how they taste? Do they taste like the buckwheat pancakes you make?

    Totally unrelated: Have you ever baked with ghee?

    1. Yeah, they taste great! Flax and millet have flavours but they're pretty mild. I don't really like buckwheat to be honest. I'm dragging myself through this bag and that's it, I don't think I'll buy buckwheat again. The flavour is just so strong, ugh.

    2. Oh and no I've never baked with ghee; I'd probably not use store-bought (I do cook with it but it kind of freaks me out...). Homemade yes, I'd totally go for it.