10 March 2010

Buttermilk Rye Pancakes

Alton Brown is one of the few television chefs I really respect.  Now, I don't watch a lot of television these days, but I do cook - a lot.  And his recipes are perfect.  He really focuses on the science of cooking, which lends so much understanding of how ingredients interact with each other during the cooking process.  Now, how could I not appreciate bringing a little science into the kitchen?

I was having a lazy Sunday morning.  I'd slept late, and while most days I don't eat breakfast, I was really feeling the potential that morning.  I was well-rested.  I didn't have much else to do.  I had buttermilk in the fridge.  (Those three conditions, incidentally, are vital conditions if one wishes to create anything great... be it Sunday morning pancakes or a life-changing, quit-your-job-and-move-to-another-country career plan).

So I came across Alton Brown's buttermilk pancake recipe on the Food Network site.  The only thing I did differently here was that I swapped half of the AP flour for some whole rye flour I'd picked up at the farmers' market.  The rye ended up being a perfect addition, transforming the usual fluffy/creamy buttermilk pancakes into something a bit more earthy and wholesome.  I'd love to try other types of flour here, just for fun... that is, if I ever get tired of the recipe just as it is.  The recipe provided is for a mix to keep in the cupboard, and while you could half this mix (or more) for single-use purposes, why-oh-why would you want to?

Buttermilk Rye Pancakes
adapted from Alton Brown's recipe

Dry pancake mix:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole rye flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. Use the mix within 3 months.

"Instant" Pancakes:

2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons (about 55g) melted butter
2 cups Pancake Mix, recipe above
1 stick (about 113g) butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups fresh fruit such as blueberries, if desired

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350F (175C).

Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Hold in a warm place (e.g. oven at 200F/90C) for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes

I recommend, of course, serving with pure Ohio maple syrup.  I realise this is not widely available outside my childhood home in Northeast Ohio (my family has been making maple syrup for uncountable generations, and it's the only kind that tastes good to me).  My advice: spend the money.  Use real maple syrup.  Aunt Jemima is not real maple syrup.  I cannot stress this enough.  If there is more than one ingredient listed on your bottle of maple syrup, it's not maple syrup. (Okok, stepping off my soapbox now...)


  1. Ah this looks and sounds awesome!
    I've been obsessed with all things rye lately and this would fit the bill wonderfully.
    With only 2 tablespoons of sugar, would it be at all bland without syrup?
    Also, do you think the rest of the AP flour could be substituted for wholemeal?

    1. Wholemeal flour may give you a more crumbly pancake -- I imagine they could possibly come out a little dry. You could maybe try it and add more liquid after your first test pancake.

      I'm not sure about the sweetness issue since I always ALWAYS have them with maple syrup. Again, I think this is something you could easily adjust in the mix if you find your test pancake isn't sweet enough.

      Hope that helps, cheers!