Making pancakes from purchased pancake mix? It really does not save you time or money. DIY and make pancakes from scratch.
Please stop buying commercial mixes to make pancakes! The only benefit to it is if you own a processed food company, but for the rest of us, it’s a ridiculous waste of money.
It doesn’t even save you time!
Years ago, I worked in a university kitchen and the assistant cook scolded me for using pancake mix instead of making pancakes from scratch.
It wasn’t something I had ever really thought about.
After all, the mix was inexpensive, only costing maybe a dollar at the time for a box, and it only needed a bit of water added.
“Pancakes are EASY. Put a bit of flour in a bowl, sprinkle in baking powder and salt, maybe a bit of sugar. Add an egg or two, and cook.”
Now Patrick knew a thing or two about cooking, and about life, and I listened.
Okay, so maybe the recipe is a bit harder than that, but not much, if you’re making basic pancakes.
The dry ingredients in homemade pancake mix are a bit more than just flour, but not MUCH more. Certainly nothing difficult or hard to get!
Last week our 8 year old woke us with “Mama, I made pancakes the way you said, and they’re ready for you to cook.” Other than him misunderstanding what “a pinch of salt” was, he did quite well.
Here’s a note for any budding cooks that are reading this – a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of salt are NOT the same thing at all.
If an 8 year old boy with Aspergers can mix up this after being told the ingredients verbally, you really do not need a package of pancake mix. You just need this in your recipe box so that you can make pancakes from scratc.
The simple fact is that it is not saving you any time and it is certainly not saving you any money!
The only thing that the commercial, prepacked mix does is make money for the processed food companies!
Pancake mix ranks up there with pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
You don’t need a boxed mix.
(You don’t need syrup made by Aunt Jemimi, either – real maple syrup is so much better. Anyway, back to pancakes.)
I promise you don’t. You can make simple pancakes from scratch without a lot of effort.
And if you really need that mix ready to go in the mornings, I’m going to show you how to do that, too. And now you won’t need to wonder what to do with the open box of mix sitting in your cupboard. You won’t have to worry about the expiration date, either – the shelf life of pancake mixes is a lot shorter than the shelf life of the ingredients!
(Can commercial pancake mix go bad? Oh, yes. Can your basic ingredients go bad … maybe, but it takes a long time.)
Simple Pancakes from Scratch
It should take you a couple of minutes (literally – it should take less than two minutes) to scoop 2 cups flour into a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon baking powder, three tablespoons sugar and a bit of salt. Put 1 or 2 eggs in the middle of the flour mixture, pour in about 1 1/2 cups milk, and stir.
If it’s too thick, add a little more. Be careful, though. If you want light and fluffy pancakes, don’t add too much liquid.
Canned milk works just as well as fresh to make the pancakes. If you usually use an alternative milk (like a nut milk or grain milk), go ahead and use it. As long as you like the flavour, it will work. We tend to use Veggiemo, which is made from pea and tapioca.
Use ordinary wheat flour, but don’t use all whole wheat – that would make them very heavy. If you’re used to cooking with a gluten free flour blend, it should probably work, too. I haven’t tried that yet.
Don’t fret about this. I don’t even measure. When I make pancakes, it’s by the “Eh, looks close enough” method!
Whisk together all the ingredients until they’re smooth.
While you’re doing that, turn on the burner. Medium high to start … lower it as the pan or griddle heats up. It really doesn’t take a lot of heat to cook a pancake. Don’t try cooking pancakes on high heat or you’ll burn them.
1/4 cup is the typical amount of batter used to make a pancake, but it’s not written in stone. I’ve seen everything from quarter-sized pancakes to big ones that fill a plate. Big ones are hard to flip, though.
Drop it on a greased frying pan over medium heat (you can use butter or oil … but butter will brown more quickly so you might need to wipe your pan out after a few pancakes) and cook until the bubbles stop popping. I’m not sure I’d use olive oil unless you usually use it for everything – I just use regular vegetable oil.
I always expect the first pancake to go to the dog, but sometimes I get the temperature right the first time!
Flip and cook the other side for about a minute, just long enough for that side to become golden brown. Keep watching the heat and adjusting when needed. If it’s too low, they won’t cook. But if it’s too high, they’ll burn before the inside batter cooks.
You can add stuff, too, if you’re that sort of person. Cinnamon is good. Fresh blueberries are better. A sprinkle of chocolate chips makes little people smile.
AND if you really want to make the children happy, pour the batter into muffin tins (I use a non-stick copper muffin tin) and bake at 375F until they’re firm to make “pancake muffins”!
I have to admit, I’ve never had much success keeping leftover pancake batter. Use it all up – the cooked pancakes can be frozen and then reheated in a microwave or toaster.
Would you like to make your pancake mix ahead?
Mix up the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a container – a quart jar is plenty big.
If you use powdered milk, add 1/3 cup AND 3 tablespoons powdered milk.
Stick a piece of tape on it that says “One batch of pancakes: Add 2 or 3 eggs, and milk to make a batter.” (Or, water if you added powdered milk).
Seal the jar tight – baking powder does not like being exposed to the air.
Would you like to use something sour?
If you want to make these with buttermilk, kefir, yogurt or anything that is sour, it is really easy.
Just add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
And you can add that directly to your ready-mix jar, too.
Do you prefer all or part whole grain flours? Switch it up as much as you like. Whole grain flours often soak up more liquid, so you might need to increase the liquid volume. Make it up like normal and then adjust if it gets too thick.
I told you it was easy.
Now go make some pancakes.
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