Yeast Pancakes

Morning suck.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been demonstrably terrible at waking up. I’ve been staying up too late and sleeping in too long for as long as I can remember. I just don’t feel tired at night, and I just don’t feel rested in the morning.

It’s probably due to my worryingly large coffee intake and my love of reading books and playing video games long into the evening, but that’s neither here nor there and I don’t plan on changing my habits anytime soon. Regardless, there’s an unfortunate intersection that occurs in my life at the crossroads between two of my absolute favorite things, which are sleeping in and eating:

savory pancakes

Breakfast.

I freakin’ love breakfast. Bacon is amazing and I enjoy filling my home with the salty scent of impending breakfast. Much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, I usually have a container of bacon grease in my fridge, lovingly rendered from chunks of dead pig and ready to be used in all kinds of culinary applications. The amount of bacon grease she’s consumed unbeknownst to her over the years is nothing short of alarming. Don’t tell her.  My two favorite foods are, hands down, eggs and oatmeal, both of which are breakfast foods. Going out for breakfast/brunch is my favorite choice in terms of going out to eat and I absolutely love the fun, sweet yet savory breakfast meal ideas that restaurants and home cooks come up with. As well, coffee is a big part of my life and it’s an integral part of the breakfast experience, so there’s that. Also, I am Dutch, and pancakes are a big part of my culture and traditions, which sounds weird but there’s a lot of traditional pancakery in European peoples.

How does one manage a love of breakfast with an absolute, intrinsic loathing of waking up early? Can you make a decent breakfast meal for you and your loved ones if getting up early is your most hated activity and (allegedly) you’re an absolute wretch of a human to deal with before coffee?

The answer is yes. Sort of, anyway.

batter

Enter yeast pancakes. You can make substantially-better-than-average pancakes with less work than normal pancakes AND have more time to sleep in. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but it’s a pretty basic concept. Instead of making pancakes from scratch and baking them immediately, you just toss the batter into the fridge and let it jam out overnight in the cold. Normally, pancakes made with baking powder and/or baking soda need to be baked right after mixing because the leavening agents in them are both moisture activated and heat activated; thus, the longer your batter sits all wet and juicy, the less jump it’s going to get when you make your pancakes. This is important because it’s the little bubbles formed by the release of gasses by yeasts and baking powder/soda that give breads, cakes, cookies, pancakes, and everything else in these categories their characteristic taste and texture.

Microbubblz

Microbubbles, man. If your batter goes flaccid because you left it sit too long and your pancakes don’t jump and rise in the pan, you end up with dense dough disks that taste like ass and make you look like a bad cook.

By using yeast instead of baking powder/soda, we’re able to have more control over the fermentation process. Rather than releasing all of it’s pent up gas in one go, yeast takes its time, doubly so when under refrigeration. This allows you to mix the ingredients together the evening before, or even the morning before, stick it in the fridge, and enjoy pancakes the following morning without having to find or measure anything. Going from sleep to pancakes in under 5 minutes is pretty impressive, and there will be far less to do in terms of cleanup as well.

Unless, you didn’t clean up your pancake mess from the night before because you’re an absolute disaster in the kitchen and now you have to work doubly hard to scrub pancake batter cement off of a scummy mixing bowl. Seriously. Step up your kitchen cleaning game. You’re never going to impress the ladies (or fellas) with kitchen skills like that.

Things you will need:

  • A digital scale.
  • A mixing bowl.
  • Some kind of spatula like thing.
  • A measuring cup or similar cup type thing. Not for measuring, just for equal pancake portioning.
  • Plastic wrap.
  • A fridge.
  • A frying pan or a griddle.
  • A pancake flipper thing.

There’s not a lot of crazy tools needed to make these pancakes. If you can make regular pancakes, congratulations: you’re set up to make yeast-leavened pancakes.

Ingredients:

This will make roughly 10 pancakes if you measure each one out to be 1/4 of a cup in size. If you make teeny little baby pancakes or mac daddy biggie size pancakes, your numbers will obviously be different.

  • Bread Flour: 165 grams.
  • Cake Flour: 165 grams.
  • Milk: 365 grams.
    • Alternatively, you can use 365 grams of water and 17 grams of milk powder. Or, if you want to go hardcore vegan, just use water. You’ll be missing out on some fat and some flavor, so feel free to add some vegan friendly fat like bacon grease.
  • Sugar: 40 grams.
  • Salt: 4 grams.
  • Eggs: 100 grams (about two eggs).
  • Canola Oil: 58 grams.
    • Alternatively, you can use 58 grams of melted butter which has been cooled to room temperature, but then you have to ensure that your other ingredients are room temperature as well or you will get a clumpy mess when you mix your butter with cold water, you amateur.
    • Or you can just use room temperature bacon grease.
  • Yeast: 5 grams.

20170507_230920

Keep in mind that you can add anything that you’d normally add to pancakes to this mix to make it more fancy. Protein powder, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, banana chunks, pumpkin puree, chocolate chips, you name it. Anything goes, so long as you’re aware that it if would horribly ruin regular pancakes, it would horribly ruin these as well. Usually, simple is best, as you can always top your pancakes with extra junk if you feel so inclined. Don’t futz with the recipe too much on your first go. These pancakes aren’t handled like regular pancakes and you run the risk of ruining breakfast again and setting off the smoke alarm at six in the morning if you pancake too close to the sun.

I may have butchered that idiom. I do not care.

Method – 

Begin by assembling your ingredients. If you are going the water-milk powder route, mix those two amounts together vigorously before combining the rest of the ingredients.

Put your flour in a big mixing bowl. Dump the  dry ingredients into the bowl and mix it up.

 

Then, dump in the wet ingredients and mix with a SPATULA AND NOT A WHISK. If you over-mix your pancakes you will develop the gluten too much and they will become tough. Gluten is great for bread, but you’re making delicate, tender pancakes here. Save your whisk for another time. Mix the mixture together until all the flour is hydrated. Do not mix until the mixture is completely smooth and lump free. The whole thing is going to chill overnight in the fridge and any really dry bits left over will be slowly moistened by the water in the batter as it sits. You be good. Less is more.

Once you’ve reached this stage, you’re done for the day. That’s it. Cover the bowl in saran wrap and stick in in the fridge, clean up your area, then go to bed, giddy with excitement over your impending carbohydrate heavy breakfast. You can realistically let the batter sit in the fridge for about twenty four hours. Anything more than that and the batter will begin to take on an over-fermented flavor that tastes like you used old, flat, bargain beer to make pancakes with. I’m sure there’s a market for said pancakes somewhere, but six thirty in the morning on a weekend with your children and/or loved ones isn’t it.

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When you check on your batter in the morning, it should look quite different. The yeast in there has been up all night, working hard so you don’t have to. All those fun little bubbles you see mottling the surface of the batter are what’s going to turn your pancakes into bona-fide cakes of the pan.

overnight pancakes

It’s important to realize how this process works. Without giving any time for the yeast to ferment, this batter wouldn’t produce pancakes that rise. You need to give the yeast enough time to properly replicate and ferment to ensure that you’re going to get a jump out of the pancakes when you griddle them up.

The image on the left was taken after mixing, whereas the image on the right was taken in the morning. The tiny bubbles and foamy appearance are all the evidence you need to ensure that your yeast has been jamming out all night long on your behalf. If you batter looks the same as it did the previous night, your pancakes aren’t going to work and you may as well make a fresh batch and use baking soda and/or baking powder. Your pancakes won’t taste as good, you’ll have more cleanup to do, your partner will be less impressed, and it won’t be nearly as much fun to brag about later on.  Try again next weekend.

Anyway.

Turn on your oven to real low, like 150 to 200, and put a cookie sheet in it. You will be storing pancakes in here while you cook more so you can serve an impressive stack of breakfast bliss and not just frisbee pancakes to your loved ones from the kitchen as they come out.

Put some frying oil in a frying pan and put in on your stove at a little less than medium heat. Or, grease up your griddle. I recommend using just plain old canola oil, unless you have some clarified butter on hand. Clarified butter doesn’t have the milk solids left in it, which are the parts of the butter than burn when it’s heated up too hot for too long. Charred milk solids don’t add much in terms of flavor to anything, let alone pancakes. Just stick with the canola oil unless your clarified butter game is up to par. Try and use a measuring cup when measuring out your pancakes so that they all maintain an even size. Don’t do what the internet says and put your batter into a squeeze bottle type thing: this batter is delicate and you will de-gass it if you manhandle it all that much. Scoop your batter out of the bowl and deposit it into your heated frying oil.

home made pancakes

Notice that the batter is thicker than what you may be used to. Don’t be afraid of using a spatula to gently shmear the batter into a more flat and round shape if you so desire. Let it cook for about one to one and a half minutes, then check to see if it’s ready to be flipped. If it has bubbles in it that don’t get immediately filled in with runny pancake batter, it’s ready to flip.

vegan pancakes

Don’t be a hero and try to flip pancakes by tossing them up and back into your pan. Unless you have a really decent pan and a lot of practice, you’ll just burn yourself. You should have enough oil in your pan to get a good frying going on, and launching a pancake into the air and having it splash down in very hot oil is both stupid and dangerous. People want to eat tasty pancakes as the some comes up and the world wakes up, not apply first aid to an idiotic partner. Having a griddle makes the whole process easier, but it is one of the very few kitchen appliances I don’t actually own.

blintz

Once flipped, continue cooking until done. Use the first pancake as a tester pancake to gauge how long you need to cook them for. When you undoubtedly burn it a little bit, just eat it while cooking some actually nice ones so no one sees your shame. Don’t burn your pancakes by cooking them too long; chances are, they will take less time than you think. Take it out, admire it, put it in your heated oven, then put another one in right away. You can usually get away with cooking two or three in rapid succession before you have to add more cooking oil. If your oil starts to smoke, finish cooking the one you have going and then very carefully use paper towel to wipe out the burn oil and pancake shrapnel. Turn your heat down a bit, put in more oil, wait a few moments, then keep going. Once you have a few flapjacks done, set your stack up on a plate, put a cute little butter cube on the top, drown it in syrup, then throw it directly into the face of your significant other while screaming at the top of your lungs about how cool your pancakes are. This is the best way to earn breakfast-based brownie points.

pancake batter

These pancakes were all made in a small frying pan and canola oil for frying. I don’t have a fancy griddle or other equipment for making this kind of thing in what I would consider a professional manner. Because of this, these pancakes look largely similar to what regular folks’s pancakes look like, which is a good thing. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, these pancakes will challenge your view of what a pancake can be and open your mind as to the possibilities of yeast leavened goods.

There’s a lot of things you can do with bread leavened with yeast that involves letting it sit around in the fridge for ungodly amount of times. Some of my best breads are made from a dough that sits in and out of a fridge for over three days. Longer fermentation times help to break down the proteins and carbohydrates in the flour through enzymatic activity, making them easier to digest and the nutrients in them more readily absorbed by your body. This contributes to a better tasting end product that has less additives, a better taste, and is overall a much healthier option than a store bought alternative.

And then you positively drown it in store-bought flavored liquid sugar and a stupid amount of delicious butterfat and proceed to eat 400% of your daily intake of carbohydrates in under 5 minutes approximately 15 minutes after you wake up.

And it’s so worth it.

— The Breadest

 

EXPRECIPE – 

  • Bread Flour: 165 grams.
  • Cake Flour: 165 grams.
  • Milk: 365 grams.
  • Sugar: 40 grams.
  • Salt: 4 grams.
  • Eggs: 100 grams (about two eggs).
  • Canola Oil: 58 grams.
  • Yeast: 5 grams.

METHOD – 

  • Scale it
  • Mix it
  • Fridge it
  • Wait it (overnight)
  • Grease it
  • Fry it
  • Flip it
  • FRY IT MORE
  • Sugar it
  • Butter it
  • EAT IT

 

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