September 26th is ‘National Pancake Day’. I do not know of anyone who does not like Pancakes. Pancakes are an exceptional food and can be made for any meal of the day or just for dessert. Pancakes can be found in many varieties around the world and they are not just made from wheat products. Pancakes may be made from Vegetables or Fruit. If you know the basic formula for making good pancakes, you can just about make them from any of the ingredients you may have in your pantry or refrigerator.
Pancakes normally eaten for breakfast can be made with All-Purpose Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Buckwheat Flour or even Cornmeal. There are almost always Eggs in Pancakes and in fact, the more Eggs in the recipe, the lighter and thinner your pancakes will be. In addition to Eggs, there should be some liquid which is usually in the form of a Milk product.
Buttermilk is popularly used for pancakes as not only does it provide flavor but helps to make your pancakes lighter and fluffier. If you do not have Buttermilk, but do have Sour Cream, that can be used also. To make a facsimile of Buttermilk just add 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice to your measuring cup before adding your milk product. After putting in the Lemon Juice, then add the milk and let it stand for a few minutes. The Lemon Juice will add some tartness to the milk and actually make it curdle, thereby giving you the effect of Buttermilk. I have even used Cottage Cheese or Cream Cheese in my Pancakes. In the case of the last two ingredients you may have to use additional eggs or even add some water to get the consistency you will want for your pancakes.
If you have fruit that is getting too ripe to eat, you can mash it up and put that in your pancakes. Bananas or Apples are especially good for this purpose.
My over-all formula for making Pancakes from whatever I have on hand at the moment is:
Two Cups of Milk Product
2 cups Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda*
¼ tsp. Salt
1-3 tsps. Sugar**
2 – 4 Tbsps. melted Butter or Vegetable Oil
While you are making up the Batter, begin heating your griddle over low heat. To make the Batter follow the general directions below.
Whip up the Eggs and then add your Milk Product. If you are adding fruit, this the time to add them is right after the Milk. Just stir in the fruit. Combine the Dry Ingredients and add, stirring only to combine the ingredients. Next, stir in the melted Butter or Oil.
Turn the heat up on your griddle. Your griddle will be hot enough when a drop of water will sizzle upon contact with the surface of the griddle.
Rub a thin layer of Butter on the griddle (this will be for the first batch only) or use a Vegetable Spray. Then ladle or pour your batter onto the hot griddle. For he-man size pancakes, use up to a whole cup of Batter and cook just one at a time. For smaller pancakes, use anywhere from ¼ cup to 1/3 cups of Batter. Once bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to dry, then it will be time to turn them over and cook the other side. The second side will cook considerably faster than the first one.
If you like your pancakes thinner than the first batch turns out, add a little more milk or if you like them thicker, stir in a little more flour.
If you are feeding a crowd, turn the oven to 250 degrees and put your pancakes on a shallow baking sheet as you make and keep warm in the oven until time to serve.
Serve your pancake with melted Butter and Hot Syrup. There are many types of Syrup that can be used, however Maple seems to be the most popular in the US. Other syrups that are available are Apple Syrup or Berry Syrup. In Hawaii you can also get Pineapple or Coconut Syrup.
Caramelized Fruit is also a nice accompaniment to Pancakes. Fruit that can easily be Caramelized is Apple, Banana, Mango, Papaya. Berries can be sliced, sugared and served with Pancakes also or they can be turned into a Sauce by cooking them with a little sugar and a dash of Lemon Juice.
Whichever way you like your pancakes, do enjoy them!
Most people think of Sourdough as a Sour dough French Bread and yes, it can be. Sourdough can be traced back time many thousands of years and and as with many discoveries and innovations, it was most likely by accident that our ancestors figured out what to do with it.
Sourdough is a bread made from a fermented yeast mixture. Sourdough can be saved from one bread making day to the next. Those bakers who have a special sourdough starter, baby it and take good of it, feeding it almost every day to keep it ‘alive’. The Goldminer’s during Gold Rush Days kept their sourdough in special packets and used it on a daily basis to make their breadstuffs.
You can make your own Sourdough by combining Flour and Warm Water and leaving it out in a warm place uncovered so that it can catch the wild yeast in the air. And yes, there is yeast in the air, although if you leave your starter near an open window, it will ferment faster.
You can purchase a Sourdough Starter from on-line sources along with directions on how to use it and preserve it.
If you don’t wish to make your own sourdough and breadstuffs, you can just go down to the market and purchase a loaf of sourdough. Or go to San Francisco and buy some of their famous Sourdough Bread.
In addition to bread, Sourdough can be used for pancakes and waffles and biscuits and muffins. Since April is National Sourdough Day, you may want to think of ways that you can use Sourdough in your family’s meal. Many restaurants serve Clam Chowder or Chili in small Sourdough Bowls which you can purchase at some bakeries or markets.
Try the recipe below for Sourdough Starter. It can be used for Pancakes or Bread. You actually don’t need a recipe for bread; you just have to get the right proportion of ingredients (yeast/liquid) to achieve a nice soft and elastic dough.
1 ½ cups Warm Water
1 cup Flour
1 tsp. Yeast (optional)
- Combine the all the Ingredients in a glass bowl; cover with cheese cloth and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 3 days.
- Place in a sterile jar. (dishwasher clean is okay)
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
USING YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER
- Remove the starter from the refrigerator and measure out the amount of starter called for in the recipe. Set this in a warm 85 degree spot for 1 hour.
- Add enough warm water and All-Purpose Flour in equal parts to the remaining starter to bring it back up to its original level in its storage container. Stir it well and return it to the refrigerator.
- If the recipe calls for more than half of your starter and you desire to use the starter within the next week, it is recommended that the replenished starter be placed in a warm 85 degree spot for 8 to 12 hours before returning it to the refrigerator in order to restore its strength.
For a recipe for Sourdough Pancakes please go to the recipe section of this blog. breads/sourdough-pancakes/