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Jun 7, 2014 06:52 AM

Tweaking a pancake recipe

In my mind, at least, this started before February of this year, but was kicked into high gear by this thread:
Hi, treb!

So I haunted the various markets in a 20 mile radius from my home, and while it took some doing, I found the flours I needed (with long expiration dates) to get started. Finally, this morning, I got around to experimenting. I used and already tweaked a copycat recipe to mimic the old Aunt Jemima recipe, not the garbage they're selling now. The resulting pancakes had a very slight corny crunch (which I wanted) but also a very slight pastiness (which I most definitely do not want). This list includes the tweaks I made to the source recipe.

1 cup KA AP Flour
2 Tbl. Hodgson Mill Stoneground Rye Flour
2 Tbl. Arrowhead Mills Organic Corn Meal
2 Tbl. Bob's Red Mill Stoneground White Rice Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

I include the brand names not to name-drop, but because these mills all have different methods and end-results in product. I'm asking all you experienced bakers out there: what should I be tweaking to make pancakes less pasty? I'm currently thinking along two lines: either reducing the rye or rice flour, or soaking the cornmeal.

PS: I should add, these are already better than anything that ever came out of an Aunt Jemima's box. :)

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  1. Can you clarify "pasty"? I'm afraid I just think "underdone," to which there are obvious solutions.
    Re: texture
    Have you tried freezing and "frying" them?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Kris in Beijing

      Hate to put you off, time-wise, but it's hard to clarify it right now except that it's a pasty taste more than texture; I've got a little more than half the batter in the fridge now, and will be making more pancakes tomorrow morning. Either tomorrow's batch turns out differently, or I'll be able to clarify then.

      To your point about obvious solutions, I've thought about it, and it may just be that this slightly heavier batter needs a hotter griddle than what I've done in the past.

      Do you mean freezing cooked pancakes, and then re-frying? Interesting...

      1. re: mcsheridan

        1) thus an uncooked flour taste? Wonder if browning the flour would help eliminate that rawness?
        2) yeah-- it's an OAMC strategy to make a zillion pancakes and freeze, then "fry" in butter and a drop of syrup or just pop them into the toaster.

        1. re: Kris in Beijing

          Round two pancakes came out a little better than day one, actually. Thinned the batter with water, not dairy, and let the griddle heat a bit longer. Still a slight pasty taste, 'cause these were definitely and most thoroughly cooked.
          More below.

      2. Your are using King Arthur All Purpose Flour which has a protein/gluten content of 11.7%. It is similar to bread flour (12% protein/gluten) and will make the pancakes "chewy" and tough. Gold Medal All Purpose Flour has a protein/gluten content of 10.5% and would be better.

        For really light pancakes mix 1/2 cake flour (7% protein/gluten content) with 1/2 Gold Medal All Purpose Flour for a gluten/protein content of 8.75%. This is similar to a soft southern flour like White Lily (8 to 9% protein/gluten content).

        FLOUR PROTEIN / GLUTEN BY TYPES AND BRANDS (retail supermarket flour):
        CAKE FLOUR - 7% to 9.4% protein
        Best Use: cakes, blending with national brands all-purpose flour to make pastry flour or Southern flour substitute.
        -King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour, 7.0%
        -King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, 9.4%
        -Pillsbury Softasilk Bleached Cake Flour, 6.9%
        -Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
        -Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour, 7.1%
        ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, SOUTHERN - 8 to 9% protein
        Best Use: biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles.
        -Martha White Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 9%
        -White Lily Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 8 to 9%
        SELF-RISING FLOUR (flour, baking powder, salt) - 8 to 10.5% protein
        Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, waffles.
        -Gold Medal Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 10.5%
        -King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, 8.5%
        -Martha White Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.4%
        -Pillsbury Best Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.7%
        -Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
        -White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 8 to 9%
        ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIXES (flour, shortening, baking powder, salt) - 6.25 to 12.5% protein
        Best Use: biscuits, cookies, coffee cakes, pancakes, quick breads, pastry, waffles
        -Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Baking Mix, 12.5%
        -Bisquick Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
        -Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, 6.25%
        -King Arthur Flour All Purpose Baking Mix, 10%
        -Pioneer Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
        Best Use: makes average biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, pizza crusts, quick breads, waffles, yeast breads.
        -Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, 10.5%
        -Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, 10 to 11.5%
        -Pioneer All-Purpose Flour, 10%
        -White Wings All-Purpose Flour, 10%
        Best Use: cream puffs, puff pastry, yeast breads, pizza crusts.
        -Heckers and Ceresota All-Purpose Flour, 11.5 to 11.9 %
        -King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, 11.7%
        -Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour, 12.0%
        -Five Roses All Purpose Flour, 13.0%
        -Rogers All-Purpose Flour, 13.0%

        BREAD FLOUR - 12 to 13.3% protein
        Best Use: traditional yeast breads, bread machine, pizza crusts, pasta.
        -Gold Medal Better For Bread, 12%
        -King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 12.7%
        -Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, 12.9%
        -White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour, 11.7%
        To make U.S. self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to each cup of flour. (British, Irish and Australian "self-raising flours" only add baking powder to the mix, and no salt.)
        To make a lower protein flour (similar to White Lily or Pastry flour), mix half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.
        Another substitute for soft Southern flour, not quite as tender, for each cup of regular all-purpose flour, replace 2 Tablespoons of flour with cornstarch, mix well. (1 cup lightened all-purpose flour = 14 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Antilope

          Oh, they're definitely not tough, and the addition of the rice flour helps in tenderness. But thank you for all that detailed info. And while I don't have cake flour in-house right now, that's one other tweak I will certainly try. Thanks!

        2. Add in some ricotta or Greek Yogurt to lighten the load.

          4 Replies
          1. re: treb

            Ricotta has no place in my kitchen at all, but Greek Yogurt gets in on occasion :)

            Would you use the yogurt to replace some of the buttermilk, or as an addition?

            PS: I knew you'd show up here. :)

            1. re: mcsheridan

              I'd go half Greek Yogurt and half Buttermilk, both have a nice tang. Why no ricotta.

              1. re: treb

                Hmmm. Worth exploring, for sure.

                As to ricotta, I loathe it and all other loose cheeses. Won't use ricotta, not even in lasagna.

          2. I don't know if I would like rice flour in a pancake. Are you putting it in to counteract the non tenderness of the rye and corn flour? For tenderness I would up the oil to 1 1/2 Tbs. and for pastiness maybe drop the buttermilk down to 1 c and add water if you want the thinner tender pancake.

            I also love the flavour of buckwheat in a pancake.

            Just make blueberry buckwheat pancakes last weekend and wish I had enough buttermilk to make them this morning.

            The most delicate pancakes I've ever made were a sourdough.

            2 Replies
            1. re: daislander

              Yes, I thought perhaps the source recipe was shorting the oil here, but I try not to make too many tweaks at once. And the source recipe never specified any quantity of milk at all beyond the words "enough milk to make the right consistency after beating". So I started with 3/4 cup, and wound up with 1 1/2 cups I list above. I actually thought about water when I'd gotten up to 1 1/4 cups, but kept going with the buttermilk.

              And yes, I'm using rice flour for two reasons; one, it was one of the ingredients in the long-ago AJ mix, and the source recipe I'm adapting continued using it, citing the tenderness factor.

              1. re: daislander

                You may be onto something here. I took the leftover batter out about an hour ahead, then thinned it with a few tbsps of water, not dairy. It may be that it is the rice flour; now I had plans to tweak this a bit farther in the corn direction - I want a bit more crunch - so next batch I'll reduce the rice flour and up the corn in equal amounts and see where that takes them. I'll also double the oil, and sub out at least a half-cup of buttermilk in place of water.

                Bottom line - this is yet another batter that benefits from a long rest - I think yesterday I cooked them too quickly.

              2. They are too low in fat to be tasty. Usual pancakes have many more tablespoons off fAt. The JOC multigrain pancake has 4-5 t at least of butter.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JudiAU

                  I have to wonder if the source recipe didn't contain a typo, and teaspoon was specified where tablespoon should have been.