I found this recipe for 100 Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes in the latest Cook’s Illustrated magazine. In the article, they discuss how there are very few pancakes recipes that use 100 percent whole wheat flour – most use a combination of white and wheat, white whole wheat flour, add oats (or oat bran, wheat bran), etc. I knew I had several pancake recipes that used white whole wheat flour, oats, oat bran, wheat bran, and combinations of them all, but I thought for sure I had a basic whole wheat pancake recipe. Then I searched through all the pancake recipes on the blog (all 24!!) and realized no such recipe existed! Say what?!? I knew I had to give their recipe a try!
For whatever reason, I always thought that pancakes made with 100 percent whole wheat flour would be dense and heavy. This was based on my experience with 100 percent whole wheat flour yeast breads. Whole wheat flour isn’t ideal for yeast breads because wheat flour contains the bran and germ, and these don’t contribute to gluten formation – which is what we want with yeast breads. However, gluten formation is what we want to avoid with pancakes. More gluten = thinner and tougher pancakes. So what makes whole wheat flour problematic for yeast breads makes it ideal for pancakes! Typically we avoid overmixing pancake batter (to avoid gluten formation), but with whole wheat pancakes this is not an issue. Mix the batter until smooth; the whole wheat flour has less gluten than white flour and the bran will cut through any gluten strands that do form.
Once again Cook’s Illustrated did not disappoint! These pancakes were amazing! 100% whole wheat, soft, fluffy, nutty, and addictive…everything a pancake should be =). Give them a try and let me know what you think! (And pick up a copy of their latest issue if you’re interested in more science-nerd explanations ;). ) Enjoy!
100 Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour*
2 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2-1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
5 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and oil; whisk until smooth. (Mixture will be thick; do not add more buttermilk.)
2. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat (or electric griddle set at 350 degrees).
3. Using 1/4 cup measuring cup or scoop, portion batter into pan . Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately or transfer to wire rack in 200 degree oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes ~18 pancakes.
Note: Make sure your whole wheat flour is very fresh for best flavor.
*adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Nutritional Info (per pancake): 109 calories; 5 g fat; 12.4 g carbohydrates; 1.8 g fiber; 3.6 g protein.