Y’all know how much I love BraveTart, right? Well if you didn’t know, I have a long-running baking crush on Stella Parks. It all started when she posted that herringbone pie crust– like 3 years ago and since then Stella has never let me down. When I made her oreo vanilla cream recipe, I literally yelled in my kitchen, “Damn that’s good , Stella!”. For short period of time, my husband thought I had an actual friend named “Stella” I talked about a complete stranger that much.
This crush is bordering on “Justin TImberlake in high-school” status. [I never claimed to be cool, I am who I am]. Why is the crush so strong? Because she’s a pastry chef and she spends the time to explain down to the minute detail what needs to happen when you are following her recipe. There is literally no second-guessing. If you can read, and follow instructions, you will be successful. If the butter is supposed to be a certain temperature, she will literally say “65ºF”. She gives you the exact weight measurement for flour-and it’s probably, in ounces and grams– and there will be a note saying “if you have to use measuring cups do this’. Simply put, Stella’s style, speaks to my tax lawyer brain. I need to know the rules before I can even begin to manipulate them.
About a month ago, Stella posted a pancake recipe on Serious Eats, and because I previously hunted down malted milk powder (THREE STORES!) I decided to give them a spin. Which led to intense pancake testing. I regret nothing.
Bread Making Techniques?
About a year ago, I started really baking bread at home from scratch. It took 6 attempts at sourdough to end up with a decent loaf. Then I tried challah, baguettes, focaccia, and english muffins. With that bit of background, on the last version of the pancakes, I decided to see what would happen if I added an autolyse step in my process.
What is an autolyse?
An autolyse is when the flour and water are mixed together, typically in bread recipes, and then rests for a period of time. In bread-making this rest allows for hydration in the flour and develops the gluten which will reduce the amount of time kneading the dough later.
For pancakes, we aren’t kneading, or even intending for the dough to hold it’s shape, but I was curious to see if a bit of hydration would create a nice open crumb in the pancake. To do it– mix the milk (buttermilk in my case) with the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt). This will create a very stiff dough– which is fine. Just make sure that all of the flour is wet. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and wait 5-15 minutes. After the autolyse period if up, slowly incorporate the rest of the wet ingredients and get on to cooking!
Ugh. I know bloggers/recipe writers that I follow on twitter hate it when they work on a complete recipe and then people change it entirely and then have comments about how it didn’t work. That’s BS. I practiced a legit recipe, and made a couple of tweaks. (Listen, I spend my entire working life editing things– I can’t help it. )
- I nixed the malted milk powder and added a bit more sugar because not everyone has malted milk powder. Seriously, it’s kind of hard to find. Thank god for Publix.
- I experimented with flours, ending up with a nice combination of all purpose and cake flour. I can’t tell you the scientific reasons why this worked, I can just tell you that we liked it a lot.
The result: The fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made in my entire life. The fluffier the pancake, the closer to God. Patience y’all. It’s the secret ingredient.
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
- 1 cup 4 ½ oz AP flour
- 1 cup 4 ½ oz Cake Flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp. Baking soda
- 4 tbsp. Sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz melted butter cooled slightly
- 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
- Butter or cooking spray for skillet
Whisk the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Then stir in the buttermilk making sure all of the flour is moist. Cover with a dish towel and let sit for 5-15 minutes.
Stir in the eggs, butter and vanilla extract. Let the mix sit for 5 minutes.
Heat electric skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and let bubble. Pour the pancake batter (using a ladle or large cookie scoop) onto the griddle. The larger the pancake, the more time it will need to cook on each side. For a medium sized pancake, let cook for 2-4 minutes until bubbles are evenly distributed. Flip carefully, and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Serve, immediately, or stack on a heatproof plate and put in the oven at 200ºF for up to 15 minutes.