Got buttermilk? Here’s one more reason you should…Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes! You know, classic, fluffy, ready to drink up melted butter and syrup, pancakes.
Everyone should have a good base pancake recipe in their files. This one is mine. I’ve tinkered with different ratios of liquid to dry ingredients. I’ve played around with different levels of fat and sugar. This one just works as a good, everybody loves it, fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe.
I’ve used this base many times as the starting point to develop other pancakes like Whole Wheat Butternut Squash Pancakes, Orange Buttermilk Pancakes and Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes. I most recently used a version of it in my Blueberry Pancake Cobbler.
However, one of my very first posts (my early photography gives that away, if the date does not :), Cream of Wheat Griddlecakes, is not based on this particular recipe. It’s a horse of a different color.
Those pancakes look fluffy, but they have a decidedly different texture than a typical fluffy pancake. They’re a bit heartier but not heavier. Definitely worth sampling. They’re a fave in our house. I love them! But, let’s get back to these stacks of Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.
So, basically, we’re working backwards to the base recipe that “mothered” most of the pancake recipes on my site. And that’s what’s great about having a good base, or shall I say, “master”, recipe. You can do so many things with it. Play around with different flavors and add ins. Use different liquids and fats and sweeteners.
The more you change things, the more you have to experiment, but I’ve never ended up with inedible pancakes on any of my trials. Sometimes, I just want a thicker batter and have to adjust liquids. Sometimes, the specific flavor variation that I’m working on isn’t coming through strongly enough so I have to adjust. But mostly, it’s pretty flexible.
Today, we’re not playing around with special flavors or add ins. We’re just making delicious, classic, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.
Is it hard to make pancakes from scratch? Nope. Whisk up the dry. Whisk up the wet. Combine. Rest. Cook. And to make sure you’re successful, here’s a bunch of tips!
Tips for preparing Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake batter:
- Measure your flour correctly. I use the spoon and sweep method. Stir your flour to lighten it up. Lightly spoon it into your measuring cup until it’s over full. Sweep any excess off the top with the back edge of a butter knife or other flat utensil.
- I buy buttermilk that’s reduced in fat. Here’s a little more info on buttermilk and how it’s produced. It explains why most buttermilk I’ve seen is reduced fat. Sometimes I buy grass fed buttermilk at Whole Foods. Whatever you find will be fine. It’s all good.
- To make them slightly healthier and easier, I use a light olive oil in my batter, but you can use any light flavored oil or melted butter. If you do use melted butter, the rest of your wet ingredients should be at room temperature so that the butter doesn’t re-solidify when you add it. I also let the butter cool for a bit so that it’s closer to the room temperature ingredients. If it gets a little curdled, just move forward. Don’t worry about it.
- Mix your dry and your wet ingredients separately. This will allow you to thoroughly combine each mixture without over mixing. (See the next tip.)
- Don’t over mix your batter. It should be well combined, but it’s fine to still have some lumps. Beating it excessively will simply develop the gluten and give you a tougher pancake.
- Let your batter rest after mixing. I usually let it rest about 5-10 minutes. This allows the gluten to rest and the batter to hydrate. Because we’re using baking powder, we don’t want it to rest forever, or we’ll lose some of the leavening power. I usually let it rest while I’m either setting the table or prepping another part of the meal.
Tips for cooking pancakes:
- Preheat your cooking surface. I find pancakes cook best on a griddle, plus there’s more surface area to flip, but a frying pan will work fine. Just don’t cook your pancakes in a cold pan. It must be preheated.
- I think the temperature of your cooking surface largely depends on your batter. If your batter is really thick, you should keep to a medium temperature. If it’s thin, a higher temperature. Too high of temperature for a thick pancake will leave you with a browned outside and uncooked inside. Too low of a temperature for a thin pancake will leave you with a pale pancake that’s fully cooked before it’s browned. I usually set my griddle to 340-350 degrees F.
- For consistent sized pancakes, use a measuring cup to scoop your batter and deposit onto the griddle. I always use a scoop to do this. It holds about 1/4 cup of batter. It’s the same scoop I use to fill muffin pans or to make cupcakes. And while it looks like an ice cream scoop, I really only ever use it for batters.
- Don’t fry your pancakes in lots of fat unless you really love “fried” pancakes. I either use a quick spray of cooking oil or I’ll lightly brush oil on my cooking surface just before cooking. I use just enough so my pancakes don’t stick to the griddle. This gives me a nice even browning on the surface of my pancakes.
- Do a test pancake before you cook all of them to test both the temperature of your cooking surface and the amount of fat you used to keep your pancakes from sticking. Adjust as necessary.
- Flip your pancakes when the edges are set and you see bubbles forming. The pancake needs enough structure to hold up to flipping without spilling a bunch of raw batter. Lift up an edge with your spatula to insure you’ve got a nice golden brown bottom before flipping. If you let it cook too long on the first side, the second side won’t have enough time to brown before it becomes over cooked.
- Your second side will cook faster than the first side, but you still want it to brown. Once you flip it, you’ll see it begin to rise up and become fluffy. Do NOT press the pancake down after you’ve flipped it! You’ll squash all of the fluffiness.
- If you’ve properly cooked the first side, then you should only need to flip your pancake once. No need to flip and flip and flip.
- Make pancakes often :) When you make them often, you get a feel for your batter and the temperature and when to flip.
Tips for serving and storing pancakes:
- I either serve my pancakes hot off the griddle, or keep them warm in my warming drawer if I’m making a particularly large batch. You can do the same thing in your oven. Just place them on a baking sheet, covered, in a 250 degree oven until serving. Or, you can always reheat them in the microwave, if they cool off too much.
- Serve your pancakes with warm syrup. There’s no reason to put chilly syrup on your hot stack of cakes unless your goal is to cool them down.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
- Pancakes freeze beautifully. That’s why I’m giving you a recipe that makes a bunch. You can eat leftovers the next day, reheating quickly in the microwave or you can freeze them for another day. I just separate them with waxed paper and place them in a zip top freezer bag. Then, you can either take them out the night before and let them thaw in the refrigerator, or just take them out frozen. The wax paper will prevent them from sticking to each other. Then, just reheat in a single layer in the microwave.
There you go. Everything you need to know about making Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes. You’ve got a solid recipe in hand and a list of tips for success. All you need is the ingredients…most of which you probably have in your pantry or refrigerator, if you bake every so often. Except buttermilk…if you don’t “got buttermilk,”
I think it’s time to go “get” some :)
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup olive vegetable or other oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat griddle to medium. I heat mine to 340 degrees F. If using a frying pan, you can wait until your batter is mixed up and rested before preheating.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and oil until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and buttermilk and whisk again until combined.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk mixture into the center. Whisk until combined but do not over mix. Batter may still have some small lumps, but no dry streaks.
Allow batter to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Drop batter by 1/4 cup scoopfuls onto preheated griddle or preheated pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cook until sides are set, you're beginning to see bubbles break the surface and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and finish cooking the other side.
*This is a great recipe for add ins like mini chocolate chips, blueberries, chopped nuts, coconut etc. If you add anything that has a lot of liquid, you'll probably need to reduce the buttermilk measurement.
*Pancakes freeze beautifully. I allow them to cool, layer them with waxed paper and stash into zip top freezer bags. Reheat in the microwave.
*I used olive oil but you can sub in melted butter. I would use unsalted, since there's already enough salt in the batter, or reduce the salt to about 3/8 teaspoon (or a heaping quarter teaspoon) if you use salted butter. Also, if you use melted butter, let it cool for a bit. Your other liquid ingredients should also be at room temperature or the butter will just re-solidify.
*Check out the full list of tips for success in the body of the blog post.
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