Sunday, September 11, 2005

Homemade Whole-Grain Pancake Mix

Whole grains are coming on strong, and our aim at King Arthur is to make them easy for you to swallow—literally! The following pancakes are just shy of 50% whole-grain; and they’re absolutely delicious, featuring the sweet-nutty taste of oats.

This mix not only makes an exceptional pancake, it’s remarkably easy to use. The proportions couldn’t be simpler: 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg. If you’re not in the habit of having buttermilk around, reconsider: you can freeze leftover buttermilk, in 1-cup portions, for future batches of pancakes. You can also use buttermilk in yeast bread, muffins, quickbreads… most anyplace milk is called for, buttermilk is a rich-tasting, creamy-yet-low-fat stand-in.

These pancakes taste wonderful, puff up beautifully, hold in a low oven for half an hour without getting tough or rubbery, and they’re more than willing to act as a vehicle for any kind of fruit addition. A partial list of combinations that have made successful appearances so far: peach, raspberry, banana-walnut, cheddar-apple, blueberry, and cranberry-apricot.

This recipe comes from Susan Reid, editor of King Arthur’s "Baking Sheet" newsletter and co-author of "The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion" and "The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion." Each Christmas she prepares a giant batch, divvies it up, gift-wraps it, and gives it to family and friends. We’ve beefed up its whole-grain content with a touch of whole wheat flour, but other than that have left her original pretty much alone. Thanks, Susan!

Pancake Mix
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
3 1/2 cups (12 1/4 ounces) old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup (7 ounces) vegetable oil

To make the mix: Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine, but not a powder. Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all of the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it holds together, it’s just right. If it won’t hold together, stir in tablespoonfuls of oil, one at a time, until the consistency is correct. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer. Yield: 10 cups dry mix.

To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (you can use soured milk, but buttermilk gives noticeably superior results; a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk also will do), and 1 large egg. Don’t worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you’ve got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do). Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 3 1/2-inch diameter pancake. If you have English muffin rings , use them; they make a perfectly round, evenly thick pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 90 seconds, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. Yield: a batch using one cup of the mix will make about ten 3 1/2-inch pancakes.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk in the house, but do have buttermilk powder , try this: In place of the buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder to 1 cup of dry mix, then stir in 1/3 cup water and 1 large egg.

Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange juice to the dry mix along with the buttermilk. We’ve found that the acidity and sweetness of the orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won’t have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you, if you’re not a fan of whole wheat flour (but still want to get more whole grains into your diet).

©2005 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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