Tuesday, February 28, 2012
IHOP says it's pancake day. I sorta failed to take in the IHOP part and just fixated on the pancake part, so I made a mess o' flapjacks for breakfast.
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup dry milk
about a teaspoon salt
about a tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons veggie oil
Mix everything together vigorously until there are no bumps, or at least, no big ones.
Heat a large, lightly oiled skillet, or 2, to medium high. Drop the batter about 1/3 cup at a time, and fry both sides until they're brown. Decorate them to suit yourself. I like some of everything, obviously.
There isn't much to know about making pancakes, but:
- make sure the skillet is hot enough that the batter sizzles a bit when you put it in, and
- don't flip them until they're nearly cooked through, then
- just brown the other side lightly, or they will go dry.
Dad could not make good pancakes. They were always heavy, dense, greasy, hard, rubbery, and burnt in places. They usually tasted like too much baking powder, and were a bit sulphurous from too much egg. In his culture-bound mindset, to make something 'good' you should pack as many rich ingredients into it as possible. Which meant using lots of oil and eggs in the batter, and practically deepfrying them in animal fat. Unfortunately lots of egg and oil makes a very solid pancake, which means you need lots of leavening to lighten it up, which means all you can taste is baking powder and egg white. And whatever animal contributed the fat. Sometimes that was a pig, but frequently it was a duck. Or a chicken.
Naturally, I was convinced for decades that pancakes were gross. I don't know exactly when that changed. Trader Joe's pancake mix might have helped. That was the first step on my road to pancake recovery. I used to have a box of the multigrain mix around all the time, but then 2 things happened: I moved out here and ate Pete's pancakes that he makes from scratch, and I realized that it didn't make sense to keep what is essentially a box of flour that I can only use for 2 things along with all my normal flour. I mean, even if you get a box of mix, you still have to add eggs, and oil, and milk, so at that point why not add the flour and leavening too, right?
Pete makes great pancakes. This isn't his recipe, his are fluffier, and I think he uses yogurt in them so they have an extra yummy flavor, a bit like a yeast batter but not near as fiddly. I saw him making them one morning and sort of went 'Huh. So that's how you're supposed to do it.'