Monday, July 28, 2008

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

Google has launched Knol, a knowledge base of exhaustive articles written by people who are experts. Well, claimed to be experts. Self-proclaimed experts. It is good enough for me. The first click found an impressive treatise on the blueberry pancake.

The classic American pancake has many variations, but the buttermilk pancake is its highest form. Properly made, it is extra light, almost nothing in your mouth. Its flavor is also more complex, revealing a depth beyond just the syrup poured over the top. It is also, unfortunately, one of the rarest finds in American kitchens: most pancakes are either microwaved (shudder) or made from a mix, which is too bad as they are easy to make. Once you've have had them like this, there is no going back...
Particularly good was the Disaster Strike subsection on substitution of key ingredients.

I've been called on to make my pancakes in many situations. While these pancakes are very easy to make, it is hard to pull this off in most kitchens that aren't prepared. Here are a few tips:

No buttermilk: The ultimate disaster! Should you give up and go home? All is not lost. You won't be able to make them swoon, but you can make do. The best case scenario is to have whole milk and lemon juice. Mix 1.5 cups whole milk and add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will sour the milk and give you 80% of what buttermilk can do. You can certainly do this with any grade of milk, whole milk just works best. White vinegar will also work in place of lemon juice, in the same proportion. The point is to sour the milk, and both methods work just as well.
I am excited by Knol though at present it is wildly represented with medical self-diagnosis porn. It feels different than wikipedia; though moderated collaboration does sound familiar, there seems to be a topic overlord who keeps things on point.

Blueberry Pancakes

Other compelling Knol content:

Italian Beef Sandwiches
Orchid Basics