Buttermilk PancakesMakes 10 to 12 pancakes
Ingredients:1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
Butter for the pan
In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat a large, shallow, nonstick pan to medium heat and add just enough butter (or oil) to make a thin coat on the bottom of the hot pan. Ladle 1/4 cup of pancake batter into the pan, forming 4-inch circles. When the pancake batter begins to bubble, with the 1” center still remaining smooth, flip the pancakes. They should be golden brown.
Cook pancakes on the other side for another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.
If there is anything that was the bane of my homemaking existence when my children were small, it was my inability to perfect the pancake. And by perfect, I mean recreate a diner-style, slightly sweet, oh-so-fluffy, never tough, golden brown, perfectly circular rounds of edible deliciousness.
Every Saturday morning, for many years, I’d pull out the large electric griddle and flip dozens of pancakes while listening to the Blue Yodel Number 9 on Lexington, Kentucky’s public radio station, WRFL.
I do not exaggerate when I say that I spent countless hours, dozens upon dozens upon dozens of eggs, numerous pounds of flour, and far too much taste testing that went straight to my hips (ahem) trying to achieve in our tiny bungalow kitchen the same results of those yellow and black pancake houses.
As with most comfort foods, pancakes are eaten in some form or fashion in every culture. Cong You Bing in China. Raggmunk in Sweden. Dosa in India. Our American version is differentiated from most by the use of baking soda and baking powder to lighten, fluff, and brown those golden-hued silver dollars we’ve cherished since our first spin at the golden-arches drive-thru. Basic as most pancake recipes present themselves to be, they are tricky little suckers to perfect. Every recipe seems to produce a different reaction (thin batter, thick batter, lots of bubbles, no bubbles) and even the same recipe can give a different result each time. When does the search end? Is there one recipe that marks the end of the perfect pancake search for good?
I would love to say ‘yes’ but I just can’t because my yes may not be your yes. Everyone must embark on their own pancake quest in life. Pancake preferences abound so who am I to say my preferred level of sweetness is yours, my desired hint of buttermilk tanginess is what you look for and the tenderness of bite is the same that you like to sink your teeth into? These answers are ones you must discover for yourself, one bluegrass-listening-Saturday-morning-pancake-breakfast at a time.
Until then, the recipe below has served us well here at The Smith Homestead for nearly 2 decades. We’re still not at pancake perfection just yet but the stars are aligning more and more each passing weekend. Have the ultimate pancake recipe? Why not put me out of my experimental kitchen misery and share it. I’m likely not the only one on the same griddlecake journey.