Homemade Buttermilk Pancake Mix

If you can buy a mix on the shelf at the store, you can make it at home. Why bother? Because when it’s made from scratch, it’s just to your liking. This buttermilk pancake mix results in thick, yet light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth tender pancakes. It’s adapted from Martha Stewart’s buttermilk pancakes, my absolute favorite recipe, so far. All it takes is about five minutes to measure everything out in bulk, whisk it up, and store it away for use at any given moment.


THE RECIPE


Buttermilk Pancake Mix adapted from Martha Stewart’s Buttermilk Pancakes Ingredients

Don’t forget to check out my Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until very well incorporated.


Buttermilk Pancakes

(serves 3-4)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tsp dry mix
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (fresh not powdered)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat an electric griddle to 350-375 degrees (depending on your griddle) or a heavy skillet until very hot.
  2. Put dry mix into a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mix.
  5. Gently whisk together until all the dry mix has been just wet, but the batter is still lumpy.
  6. Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water onto it; if the water bounces and spatters off the griddle like it’s dancing, it’s hot enough.
  7. If desired, drop 1/2 tsp clarified butter onto the griddle and evenly coat with a pastry brush or thickly folded piece of paper towel (so as not to burn yourself).
  8. Using your preferred size ladle/measuring cup (I use 1/3 cup) pour pancake batter onto the hot griddle in pools 2 inches away from each other. Depending on the thickness of your batter, you may want to gently spread it out so it isn’t thicker in the center.
  9. When it starts to bubble on top and is slightly dry around the edges, flip over.
  10. Cook until golden on the bottom.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes warm in the oven (175 degrees) or a container of your choice.

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions

Whisking the Dry Mix: I like to take my largest balloon whisk and set it rather horizontally into the mixture, spinning it so that it drags the ingredients from the bottom up to the top and vice versa. I do this all around the bowl until it appears to be well-incorporated and then I switch to a common whisking motion, just to be sure. This should only take you a minute or two. Once everything is clearly mixed together, pour it into a storage container and your dry mix is ready for homemade pancakes at any moment!

Heating the Griddle: For some reason, my griddle always burns the first few pancakes when it’s set to 375, but cooks the remainder perfectly at that temperature. So, I start it out at 350 and increase as needed. Know the tendencies of your equipment and your food will always come out right.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk is the best liquid to use for any pancake because it helps keep the batter all the same consistency from start to finish and creates a tender pancake, whether thick or thin. If you prefer thin pancakes, don’t use a thinner milk, just add more buttermilk. As you’ll see in “The Story”, below, you can get any thickness you like.

That being said, if you need to substitute for dietary reasons, by all means, use whatever you like.

If you don’t happen to have buttermilk, heavy cream results in a similar texture, though the flavor will be altered. You can make a decent buttermilk substitution at home with a mixture of dairy milk and vinegar or lemon juice, but it won’t be as thick as cultured buttermilk or heavy cream. Another option to imitate the volume and flavor of buttermilk is plain yogurt, perhaps subbing with half homemade buttermilk and half plain yogurt. Experiment, figure out what works best for you!

If you’re afraid you won’t use enough of it to warrant buying it, buttermilk lasts forever in the fridge due to the added cultures (similar to yogurt), months past the date on the container. As long as it isn’t moldy or chunky, it’s safe to use. Expiration dates are a guideline using the extremest of cautions, they aren’t a rule. Use common sense to determine if your food is safe or spoiled.

Mixing Liquids: Whisk your liquids together in the same liquid measuring cup that you use to measure the buttermilk and you won’t find yourself with an extra bowl to clean!

Mixing the Batter: Your batter should be very thick and lumpy. If you over mix, your pancakes will be tougher rather than light and airy. Lumps are a good thing! I take a thin whisk and carefully and slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry. It’s a very relaxing process! Bring the whisk to the bottom of the bowl and slowly bring it up the opposite side, dragging the ingredients from the bottom over onto the top. If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to mix slowly and carefully, a large wooden spoon or spatula is less likely to break up the all-important lumps.

Optional Additions: Chocolate chunks; dried cherries or raisins plumped in fruit juice; chopped toasted nuts; granola (I like to use Gwyneth Paltrow’s seed mix for G.); sliced bananas; sliced peaches or pears and ground cardamom; apples and cinnamon; fresh raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries; poppy seeds and lemon zest…whatever you can think of!

Incorporating Fillings: For best results, the above additions should be added to the pancakes after they’ve been poured onto the griddle. Nut and granola toppings will lose their crunch while resting in the batter and chunkier toppings won’t be evenly distributed, while fruit juices will bleed into the batter, thinning it out and dying it with their color (especially blueberries!).

Keeping Them Warm: I currently use a pancake warmer, which is like a lidded casserole dish with holes in the sides; it keeps the pancakes hot while preventing them from steaming. What I love is that I can handle the warmer without pot holders. Before I had this, I used an actual casserole dish; my pancakes did steam a little, but it just ensured they were melt-in-your-mouth tender and moist!


THE STORY


Every Saturday, we have pancakes for breakfast–light, airy, fluffy buttermilk pancakes. This is something B. and I used to do back when we first moved in together; but, after the baby, it since became a rare practice simply because cereal or eggs were faster and required less cleanup. After establishing our meal schedule, though, I decided to renew the tradition of Saturday morning pancakes and am so happy for it! It’s a relaxing treat to look forward to after a week of waking up early for work and tiring oneself out from morning to bed with the daily responsibilities of life,especially parenting life.

I previously published my favorite pancake recipe, but after years of working with it and trying new things, I find I have more to say on the subject. So, this may be a bit of a repeat for some, but bear with me.

When we moved in together over three years ago, I decided to carry on the tradition of weekend pancakes, just like I’d grown up with. Every Sunday, my dad makes thin, delicate pancakes using Jiffy Mix and boy are they good! I think he actually grew up with the traditional American-style thick, fluffy variety, but my mom prefers thin pancakes, so that’s how he’s always made them and they, of course, grew to be my favorite. I actually always hated the thick, fluffy restaurant pancakes; they were (and are) so dry and tough in comparison to my dad’s! But I later figured out that’s probably because of the recipe and mixing methods, not because they’re thick. And that’s something you should always remember when making your own pancakes; mixing is key.

Bruce Paltrow’s thin, delicate buttermilk pancakes

Anyway, every weekend at our new apartment I made Jiffy Mix pancakes until, one morning, I found myself with an empty box! And so I did what any determined pancake lover would do…sucked it up and made them from scratch. I made Martha Stewart’s buttermilk pancakes and all I can say is wow; I never knew that thick and fluffy could be so good. I was a total convert after that! No more Jiffy Mix pancakes and definitely no restaurant pancakes…Call me snobby, but I don’t ever want to feel excited for something, order it, and then miss my own because I know very well that it’s better.

Of course, I still adore thin pancakes. I recently tried a recipe by Bruce Paltrow, which resulted in the most delicate pancakes that have ever made it past my mouth and actually found it extremely difficult to choose between them and Martha’s fluffy ones, so it’s really about your own tastes! Billy outright prefers the thick and fluffy, so I stick with Martha’s recipe, but if you’re a bigger fan of thin and delicate, even almost crepe-like, by all means, stick with a recipe for those. Absolutely, though, find yourself a tried-and-true, from-scratch recipe and you will never turn back!

On the left are Bruce Paltrow’s pancakes and on the right, Martha’s. Both amazing, both made with buttermilk.

Now, I’ve been making these buttermilk pancakes for years and I never thought they could get better. I will preface this by saying that I did slightly alter the recipe. Martha calls for buttermilk and melted butter…I used powdered buttermilk (because I mistakenly thought it was a good substitution) with soy milk and vegetable oil. For three years, this is how I made the pancakes and they were out of this world. In my opinion, they couldn’t be beat! But then I bought Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook,My Father’s Daughter, in which she touts her father’s pancakes as the ultimate best anyone could ever eat; challenge on! I decided to do a taste test.

When I made the pancakes, I decided to do the recipes exactly as written. I mean, how could I truly know whose is better if I change the original? So, we bought real buttermilk and I couldn’t believe my eyes or my mouth. I never considered the difference that might exist between fresh and powdered buttermilk, but I guess that’s because I’d never actually used real buttermilk! I didn’t realize how thick it was, I just thought it was a taste thing, having more a tang. Buttermilk is much more along the lines of heavy cream, though; it’s very, very thick.

Here’s how the switch made a total difference…The pancake batter I started out with, using powdered buttermilk, had a medium consistency that got thinner as I got to the bottom of the bowl. The second I mixed the batter with real buttermilk, though, I could tell the difference. It went from a pourable liquid to what looked like incredibly wet, yeast bread dough. There is no pouring this batter! You have to scoop it and you may even need to shake it out of the measuring cup or scrape it with a spatula, that’s how thick it is. And it doesn’t thin out as you get to the end; it’s as thick as ever. I never knew! So, while substituting the buttermilk will still result in crazy delicious, light and fluffy pancakes, there’s really no replacing it. You wouldn’t think they could get lighter and more airy, but boy can they.

If I still haven’t convinced you to ditch your generic dry baking mix or bottle of pre-made batter in favor of one hundred percent homemade, think about these two things. 1, a lot of those baking mixes are generic; they’re appropriate for pancakes, muffins, biscuits, you name it. Wouldn’t you rather have a mix that’s just for pancakes? Exactly how you like them? And 2, any homemade baked good can start out from a homemade dry mix, all it takes is a few measuring cups/spoons and five to ten minutes of your time.

I’ve always been of the opinion that homemade doesn’t truly take much longer than a store bought mix–you have slightly fewer measurements with a box mix, but that’s all; you still have to measure and mix in the wet ingredients that aren’t included in the box! But I can admit that pulling out and putting away even a few extra ingredients can feel like so much more, especially when your life so often feels busy and hectic. You don’t want to have to pull out flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder when you could just pull out one box and one measuring cup alongside your wet ingredients. So…make a dry mix and you’ve just solved the problem. Once every few months you make this mix and it will feel like nothing, trust me! For all the busy people out there whether it be from work, children, or just life in general, you can still have pancakes from scratch and easy, effortless Saturday mornings 🙂

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