Do you ever go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons? It’s not pretty.
Two days ago, I was weaving in and out of aisles at Whole Foods, repeatedly cornered or trapped by someone’s cart or, worse, by those two dark-haired women who stood in front of the entire yogurt section, chatting with sour faces that never once looked my way, for the solid five minutes that they’d commandeered the dairy case, and by the time I’d finally made it past them and to the baking aisle, my mindset was reduced to pure self-preservation: Flour. The only other thing I needed was flour.
There were people on my right and people on my left, with one couple edging towards me quickly. I scanned the shelves. No whole wheat pastry flour, but white whole wheat flour! That’s similar, right? I grabbed a bag. While I waited in line with it at the checkout, a surly balding man cut in front of me, pretending not to see me or my shopping cart that were inches away from him, and would you believe it, I let him.
That grocery store broke me, I tell you.
Turns out, though, that the experience wasn’t entirely bad. Because white whole wheat flour? It’s different from whole wheat pastry flour in that it has more protein (13% compared to pastry’s 9%) and comes from a different flour (hard white spring wheat rather than soft white winter wheat) but has specific strengths: It offers all the fiber and nutrition of traditional whole wheat, for example, but with milder flavor and lighter color. It has a finer grind than regular whole wheat flour. It makes a good substitute for white all-purpose flour. It’s said to be great in breads, cookies, bars, etc.
Also, it makes a great pancake.
A few hours after I got home from the store, I was hardly watching an episode of something on Hulu, when someone mentioned pancakes and, you can blame the rough morning if you’d like, but that’s all it took: I had to have pancakes. Five minutes and one Google search later, I was looking at 101 Cookbooks, the same site that brought me this and this, and Heidi called them her favorite pancakes, so I whipped up a half batch right on the spot.
These super-simple pancakes are thin and cakey, absolute perfection when a little overdone and topped by butter and maple syrup. I can eat about six of them, one sitting, no problem, and that’s saying something.
And when I ate them, happy, I kept thinking if all Sunday afternoons at the grocery store brought things like this, they wouldn’t be so bad.
Whole Grain Pancakes
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
I halved the recipe, and despite burning a couple at the beginning, I had enough pancakes to push me past full, with a plateful left for the next day. As written below, this recipe makes about 6 large pancakes, 15 medium ones or a whole bunch of little silver-dollars (which is what I ended up liking best).
1 cups white whole wheat flour (or unbleached all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/8 cups organic buttermilk (or just a little over a cup)
1 large organic egg
1 Tablespoons butter, melted (melt in the pan skillet you are going to use)
extra butter, to serve (and for pan)
Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt, in a large bowl. Add the liquids: buttermilk, egg and melted butter. Stir until it’s just combined and maybe still a little lumpy, being careful not to overmix.
Heat your skillet, pan or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. Test for the right temperature by dropping a bit of water onto the pan; if it dances, you’re ready. Pour batter onto skillet. When the bottom is deep golden and there are bubbles on the top, flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until the other side is also golden.
Serve with butter and, if desired, pure maple syrup.