Secret Recipe: Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

Breakfast on weekends is a feast for us. With the kids grown and gone, I only cook breakfast on weekends--or if the kids and families are home for a visit.

Something my family (and I also) love are the Buttermilk Pancakes I make. Everyone loves them.

As I mixed the batter today, I thought I'd share this old recipe with you. They're really easy to make. Trust me, it's not rocket science.

However, there are a few secrets to making perfect pancakes. I'll share those with you.

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients for the Batter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I use sunflower oil but any light oil will work. No olive oil because it's too heavy.)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (yes, it must be buttermilk)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (yes, it must be self-rising)
The Process

(1) Turn on your griddle to the desired temperature. (See secrets below.)

(2) Crack the egg into a very large measuring cup or mixing bowl. With a whisk, beat the egg until it is lemony in color. (This introduces air into the egg.)

(3) To the egg, add the sugar, oil, and buttermilk. Blend well.

(4) Add the baking soda. Make sure it's fine, not lumpy. I put the half teaspoon of baking soda into my palm and "pinch" it with my fingertips to make sure it's fine. Blend well.

(5) Immediately beat in the flour. When the batter is smooth, it's ready to pour. Do not set it aside. The buttermilk and baking soda (along with the baking powder that is in self-rising flour) create a chemical reaction in which carbon dioxide is produced and this "raises" the batter much as yeast does. If you set it aside for any length of time, the batter will lose this, and you won't have fluffy pancakes.

Now, you're ready to pour the batter, but, first, read these secrets.

Secrets to Perfect Pancakes
  • Griddle. Yes, for perfect pancakes, you need an electric griddle. This allows you to pour several pancakes at once. The electrically-heated griddle maintains constant even heat so that the pancakes cook evenly. Electric griddles come in several sizes and several price points. An inexpensive one that cooks about 6 pancakes that are 4 inches in diameter. These usually can be had for under $30.00.
  • Temperature. Usually 250-300 degrees is where you'll bake your pancakes. Griddles vary, but that temperature range yields good results. After using your griddle, you'll know the exact temperature that produces the best pancakes. You'll always pre-heat the griddle before pouring the batter in approximately 4 inch diameters. You can make tiny pancakes. I made what I called silver dollar pancakes when the kids were little. Sometimes I make big 6-8 inch diameter pancakes--what my grandfather called flapjacks--for my husband.
  • Turning the pancakes. Turning too soon is the most common mistake. When you pour the pancakes, watch as they cook. You'll see tiny bubbles forming. From the edge inwards, you'll see as the edges "dry" and bubbles "mature" or disappear. This is when the pancake is ready to turn. Flip them over. The side that cooked should be a beautiful golden brown.
  • The same amount of time is required to cook the second side. If you're cooking for a crowd, remove the pancakes from the griddle and place on a heated platter. Brush the top lightly with melted butter. Return the platter to the oven which is set at its lowest heat setting. When all pancakes are cooked, it's time to serve them.
  • Syrup. They're already buttered so the only thing you need is a good, pure maple syrup to make them perfect. Sure, you can eat them with fruit. In fact, they're delicious eaten alone. Heat the syrup before serving in a small pitcher next to the platter of pancakes. Be prepared for rave reviews.
If you have any questions, just post them in Comments. Please let me know if you make these pancakes and how they turned out.

Takeaway Truth

Enjoy these pancakes and have a wonderful Sunday!

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