Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pancakes 101: The simple method to making homemade pancakes

Around our house, pancakes are a big deal. I love making them because the kids are crazy about them and you can personalize them based on your mood. And if you are training for a fall half marathon or marathon, you can even eat more after a Saturday long run! I am always drooling at mile 8-10 for food. 

This morning I made ginger banana pancakes that were crazy good. I mean, the kids ate them and didn't even realize there was ginger in the pancakes. Ginger is great for digestion and after longs runs for fueling up because it's a free radical scavenger and antioxidant! Good to know. :)  

When I first started cooking I would use a Krusteaz baking mix and then I started using Bob's whole grain pancake mix (so delicious and great in a hurry). After awhile, it was hard to stomach paying four dollars for a pancake mix when I knew it was so much cheaper to use ingredients at our house.  

But, I didn't want to use a recipe every time because when the kids are hungry, they are ready to eat! Getting the cookbook out and thumbing through the pages to find the recipe took 5-10 minutes. 

Then in the spirit of Michael Ruhlman I thought, "I bet I can do this based on ratios!" 

Who is Michael Ruhlman?

You know, just Anthony Bourdain's best friend who lives in Cleveland. Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking says cooks should learn simple cooking ratios instead of a bunch of recipes out of a recipe book. 

You will become a much better chef by realizing that everything is made up of ratios. 

Ratios are the simple proportions of one ingredient to another. Biscuit dough is 3:1:2—or 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. This ratio is the beginning of many variations, and because the biscuit takes sweet and savory flavors with equal grace, you can top it with whipped cream and strawberries or sausage gravy. Vinaigrette is 3:1, or 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and is one of the most useful sauces imaginable, giving everything from grilled meats and fish to steamed vegetables or lettuces intense flavor. 

So, in the spirit of cooking, I used the ratio technique to find a simple and quick way to cook pancakes. After a little trial and error in the baking powder department (one teaspoon isn't enough for our family since we like them fluffy), we found a great basic pancake recipe that you can double or triple. Usually we triple it on a Saturday morning breakfast and then freeze extra pancakes for snacks. 

For every batch, you just double the ratios! So doubling is just 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, etc. 

Basic Pancakes 101 

1 cup of flour
scant (barely) 1 cup of milk (sometimes I add 1-2 TBS of whole plain yogurt in sub of milk) 
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg 
1 TBS sugar 
1 teaspoon salt
1 TBS veg oil or 1 TBS whole milk yogurt ( I use yogurt) 

Mix together with fork and add to griddle. Make sure to not over mix. 

If you sub in whole wheat flour, you may need more milk. Also, try using King Arthur Flour. It's simple the best flour around and made here in the US. 

Get creative and see how many different combinations you can try!  

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