Pancakes for Dinner

I have been cooking dinner pretty much every night these days, what with being home all the time. I don’t have a drive home after working later than I should and then a day’s worth of fatigue to dissuade me. Instead I close my laptop and head to the kitchen.

I used to make pancakes fairly frequently. Saturday morning I would whip up some batter and fire up the griddle and, once everyone was up for the day, I would cook up some pancakes. Maple syrup and berries and bananas and nuts and whatever we had that seemed appropriate to top of them off–that was the extra prep work. But now that our kids are older, they sleep in. Pancakes for breakfast? More like pancakes for lunch.

Since that morning rise time is unpredictable (could be 9:00, could be noon) and since it is rare that everyone gets up at the same time, I just don’t make pancakes anymore. It isn’t as enjoyable to eat them alone and the batter doesn’t last for hours. It is a breakfast that just doesn’t make sense these days.

But we do eat dinner together. And I have been wanting pancakes. So we had a marriage of convenience last night. And that relationship was one to savor while it lasted. I made yeasted batter and while it rose I sliced strawberries and washed the few blueberries we had left and cut a banana into discs. I heated some maple syrup, as well as the griddle and off we went.

We enjoyed dinner. I mean, pancakes are great, especially these yeasted pancakes. I did not make them with buttermilk, which really makes them excite the taste buds, but one has what one has. Dinner together–that works. We pretty much never have breakfast together so this was a bit of a throwback.

I did polish off a half gallon of maple syrup and cracked open the next one–our last one I am afraid. We never got down the road to the sugar shack to get more this spring. I am sure they still have some as their season was cut a bit short. I need to give them a call and set a time to stop on over to get more. Everyone wins with that deal. And it means we can have pancakes for dinner another night. I am sure we will have the chance. We will be stuck at home at least a month more yet.

Who Knew Pancakes Could Be So Good?

So buttermilk pancakes are the classic pancakes. Every time I hear about pancakes, at a restaurant, in a cookbook featuring some awesome breakfast, even on a box of powdered mix, it is all about buttermilk pancakes. Supposedly they are just “so good.” I have made lots of pancakes. I feel like I have a pretty good basic recipe. It does not involve buttermilk.

The waffle recipe I use is made with yeast. It requires making the batter the day before and letting it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight. It takes some planning but good gravy those puppies are delicious. Recently I wanted to try something different so decided to try to make pancakes using yeast. I made that batter with some yeast and some baking soda. They came out really well. In fact, they were the best pancakes I had ever made.

I have never made pancakes with buttermilk in part because I never have buttermilk. I mean, what else do you make with buttermilk besides buttermilk pancakes? It isn’t exactly an item to keep stocked in the pantry. Or the icebox. Or whatever. I’m not going to go out and buy buttermilk when I can make perfectly good pancakes with regular old milk.

However (and you knew there would be a however), our CSA share recently started offering buttermilk. Our CSA share works a little differently than others. We get a quota of points each week and can use them for whatever they have–produce, eggs, honey, flowers. Last time we were there I grabbed some buttermilk–from a local dairy farm. I figured it was time to try making me some buttermilk pancakes.

I adapted the yeast pancake recipe I used before, adding buttermilk instead of plain milk. And let me tell you, those pancakes were crazy good–fluffy and light and buttery, and soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Daggone those babies offered some good juju to my taste buds.

Next time we pick up our share I plan to get more buttermilk. I need to make more of those pancakes. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
extra butter for the griddle

Whisk together 1 cup flour, the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl.

Warm the buttermilk until just warm–too warm and it will curdle (but if it does, don’t worry, just mix it right in). Mix this into the the flour mixture thoroughly and set aside, covered with a towel. Let rise for about an hour.

Whisk together the remaining flour and sugar, the baking soda, and the salt in a separate bowl. Whisk the eggs and melted butter together in a yet another bowl. Make sure the griddle is heating at this point.

Stir down the yeast mixture and add the egg/butter mixture until well blended. Add the flour mixture slowly, stirring all the while, until just blended. Pour small amounts onto hot griddle and heat. Once each pancake is brown on one side, flip only once to brown the other side and to cook through. Do not be tempted to flip them again as they will lose their loft and will not be nearly as good.

Scrape down the bowl with a silicone spatula to get all that tastiness cooked up.