The best pancakes are made from scratch. But let me contextualize that. There was a comment posted once criticizing me for saying that the recipe was made “from scratch” when it contained ingredients like ketchup and mustard. I replied that, perhaps, the commenter wanted to object to the homemade tomato sauce in the recipe too because it was not made from tomatoes that I had personally planted, tended and harvested. I can’t remember anymore in which comment thread it was posted but I do remember what was written because comments like that are hard to forget.
I wanted to start with that recollection to explain what “from scratch” in the title means. I made these pancakes with flour, milk, eggs and butter but, no, I did not plant the wheat and mill the flour, I did not milk any cow, I did not gather eggs from hens in the backyard and I did not churn the butter. “From scratch” simply means there are no pre-mixed ingredients in the recipe. In short, no pancake mix. And they were the best pancakes I’ve ever made.
I have something against pancake mixes, is that it? Not really. I’ve used them in the past. I love Krusteaz. But it’s not available here in the suburb. We used to buy Krusteaz pancake mix at S&R but it’s only available in large packs. Considering how there is just Speedy and myself in the house five days a week and we don’t eat pancakes everyday, the chance that the pancake mix will go beyond the expiration date before we are able to consume it is more than probable.
What about other brands? We tried some. If the pancakes are not too sweet, they are rubbery or, worse, both.
So, I prefer to make pancakes from scratch. I can control the saltiness, the sweetness, the fluffiness and the amount of butter, and the wonderful flavor that it imparts. And since all the ingredients are pantry staples that are replenished regularly, there’s no need to worry about expiration dates. This is my pancake recipe. And this is how to make the best pancakes.
The best pancakes. Ever. From scratch.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (do not press into the measuring cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
Stir together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg and milk.
Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.
Pour in the melted butter and fold in.
Pour the batter into a hot pan. Yes, the pan should be already hot before pouring in the batter so that the steam immediately pushes the batter upward. If not, the pancake will be too flat, too dense and too pale.
How do you tell if the pancake is ready to be flipped? You watch for the appearance of bubbles. Ideally the center should have a few bubbles while the edges are almost covered with them. If you wait until the entire surface is covered with bubbles, the underside will be too brown.
If the temperature of the pan is right just, the pancake should be ready to be flipped in about 45 seconds to a minute. The opposite side needs less time to cook.
Serve the pancakes warm. Top it with whatever you fancy. I like butter and honey (am not a fan of commercial pancake syrup) and, occasionally, whipped cream. Jams are also great with pancakes.
Pancake cooking tips
What kind of milk you use will affect the flavor and texture of the pancakes. For instance, evaporated milk will make them more dense while non-fat milk will not give the pancakes the ideal richness. Full cream milk is the best choice.
If using a non-stick pan, there is no need to use oil or more butter during cooking. The pancake batter has enough oil (melted butter) for the pancakes to cook well. If, however, you are using a regular metal pan, you many need to brush the bottom with a little oil before pouring in the pancake batter.