Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Sitting down to write of pancakes, my mind drifts back to childhood on Saturday mornings. My Dad had John Denver turned up loud, “When the sun’s comin’up I got cakes on the griddle, Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle, Thank God I’m a country boy.” Though I didn’t live in the country, nor was I a boy, pancakes on the griddle was a welcome treat…associated with music, warmth and the activity of a Saturday morning.

It’s fun to delight a child with a pancake in the shape of Mickey Mouse, a bear or puppy. And who can resist hearts on Valentine’s Day? If you make “average” size pancakes, switching to large pancakes…or “dollar size” can bring a surprise to the table too. (Excuse me, but with inflation how big are “dollar size” pancakes anyway?)

Thick, fluffy whole wheat pancakes made with buttermilk are my family’s favorite. I remember the astonished, but delighted, look on one woman’s face as she told me that she thought I was really “overrating” the buttermilk…until she tried it. Yes, buttermilk really does make a difference! In a pinch, you can use soured milk (add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to about a cup of milk.) But, it won’t be quite the same.

You can purchase whole wheat flour. I have a mill to grind wheat into fresh flour. Then I store the flour in the refrigerator for quick use. You can also mix the dry ingredients of the pancakes together ahead of time for convenience. I even made a couple dry mix packages to take along with us on our trip last month.

You can increase the recipe to please whatever crowd size you have gathered ‘round the griddle. You’ll notice there’s a range for how much buttermilk to use. The smaller amount is fine in more humid climates. While the larger amount may be needed in a drier climate. The amount of moisture and bran in the wheat also make a difference in how thick the batter gets. So, start with the lesser amount, relax and let the batter tell you when it’s enough. If you get to the grill and it’s too thick, just whisk in a little more buttermilk.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • scant ¼ tsp salt
  • scant ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ to 1+ cup buttermilk
  • up to 1 Tbsp vinegar, optional
  • 1 Tbsp oil

Whisk dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then whisk in the buttermilk, vinegar and oil. (I like to add the vinegar to give a little extra rising action.)

Whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients. Add additional liquid if needed, then let rest while the griddle or pan heats.

Ladle the batter on to the grill in your choice of shape. The pancakes will spread a bit…depending on the consistency of the batter, so save room for easy flipping.

After a few minutes the cakes will start to bubble. Use a pancake turner to flip them to the other side. This side will cook in about half the time as the first side.

Serve these up, hot with butter and maple syrup. Or use other delicious toppings like: honey, Nutella, berries, bananas, peanut butter, jam, nuts, coconut…you know!

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