Do you use pancake mix? That might be a stupid question given the linear footage of supermarket shelf space devoted to the product. In truth, we’ve all been duped into believing it’s essential to making pancakes. Not at all. No one needs pancake mix, except maybe when camping. Nor do you need a biscuit/baking mixes, either. You know why? Self-rising flour pancakes are the answer.
Self-rising flour is a miracle of the modern food industry. It’s been a pantry staple in the Southern kitchen for eons because home cooks in the South have traditionally baked biscuits every day. Self-rising flour is a perfectly blended mix of all-purpose flour, leaving (baking powder) and salt.
(Full Disclosure: I’m a self-ordained self-rising flour evangelist after many years of working with the test kitchen staff at Martha White, the historic flour company that pioneered self-rising flour and cornmeal in Nashville, TN. I am also a strong believer in cake mix.)
Follow the above recipe for Martha’s Perfect Pancakes.
Pancake mixes include dry milk powder, fat, and sometimes egg. Surely you can add those fresh kitchen regulars yourself. Pancakes are the simplest of quick breads—just griddle-baked cakes made from a leavened batter of flour, fat, egg, and liquid. That’s it.
For the fat, vegetable oil works fine, as well as melted butter. For the liquid, regular milk works great. Buttermilk makes the cakes moist and spongier with a tangy flavor. Yogurt works, sour cream works, soy milk works, even ricotta cheese. If you use a thick liquid like ricotta, yogurt or sour cream, be sure to thin out the batter with a little water or milk. Make the batter nice and pourable.
You can make the cakes richer with more egg. Often waffle recipes contain an extra egg and a little more fat, otherwise they are same. And you can add a pinch of sugar for browning.
Lots of folks swear by the pancakes at Cracker Barrel restaurants because of the down-home mottled look with crispy edges. You can make those too with your same old self-rising pancake batter. Generously grease the griddle with a little more bacon grease or vegetable oil than usual so that the cakes “fry” around the edges.
Watch for more about biscuits and cornbread as the Kitchen|Pit Self-Rising Crusade continues.