You never realize how different the US and the UK are until you live for a while in the one you didn’t grow up in. You think to yourself, “We speak the same language. We share a lot of common history. How hard could it be?” It’s definitely easier than moving to a country where they speak Chinese, but there’s still plenty of culture shock to go around.
Of course, more of my cultural meltdowns revolve around food. I’m embarrassed to say that I really miss Sonic and Taco Bell. They have McDonald’s here, of course, but the recipe for the sausage is different, so a Sausage McMuffin is downright disappointing. And if you want to go out for a pancake breakfast, you’re screwed. Pancakes are either usually tiny and always tough. And for some reason they insist on covering them with ice cream and candy. That’s fun, but it’s not what I want for breakfast. Whipped butter and enough syrup to drown a horse, please.
Let me tell you how American pancakes are supposed to work. Buttermilk is required. If you’re shopping for this recipe in the UK, I suggest you check the Polish section. They should be at least six inches in diameter. They can be dinner plate size, but only if they hold onto their most important quality. Tenderness.
Tenderness is, in my opinion, what makes pancakes fabulous. If you serve me tough pancakes with huge bubbles, I’ll be crying on the inside. It’s easy to accomplish perfect tenderness. You have to do less. When you’re mixing your wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, absolutely do not overmix. You might be tempted to keep stirring until all the lumps are gone. Resist the temptation. Fold it together gently, and try to get everything mixed in 10 seconds. Lumps are fine. Walk away and let your batter rest for five or ten minutes. Finally, make sure your pan is at the right temperature before you begin cooking your pancakes.
Do these simple things, and you’ll be transported to your favorite American diner. Buttermilk Pancakes will cure your culture shock in no time.
Buttermilk Pancakes are an all-American joy.
- 270 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 42 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk.
- In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Now step away from the whisk.
- Pour your wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and quickly and gently mix them together with a rubber spatula. You should use a fold/stir hybrid method. Don't worry about getting out every little lump. Try not to stir for more than 10 seconds. This is the key to tender pancakes.
- Now walk away for five minutes to let the batter rest.
- Preheat your griddle to 350 (if you're lucky enough to have one, I don't.) or place of a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You definitely want to have your pan preheated before you pour out that first notorious pancake.
- Add a small pat of butter to your pan or griddle. Use a paper towel to spread it evenly across your cooking surface. I use a third cup measure to drop my pancake batter into the pan, creating a medium-sized pancake.
- Cook about two minutes a side, turning when you see the bubbles start to subside and the edges start to change color.
- Keep pancakes warm by covering your stack with a clean dish towel.
- Serve yourself a big fat stack, three is about perfect, with plenty of butter and more syrup than is probably reasonable.