Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pancakes Fluffy and Light

First off, I don't make pancakes too often anymore, mainly just because I don't need the gratuitous carbs. I do love pancakes though, and I had been talking with our friend Rich about buckwheat and Kamut® Khorasan. I wrote quite a bit on the subject of Kamut® Khorasan in my blog of November 21, 2014, so I won't go into all that again. I will say that I love trying out new and different grains. And besides, I just love buckwheat pancakes. 

Buckwheat and Kamut® Khorasan Pancakes

A Bit about Buckwheat

Buckwheat: triangular, green or tan in color
Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum, is not wheat, or even related to wheat. It is not a grass either, nor related to rice. It is instead related to such plants as sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. Because the seeds are eaten, it is sometimes called a pseudo-cereal. Buckwheat is a very ancient food, first domesticated and cultivated around Southeast Asia as far back as 6,000 BCE. The little "seeds", triangular in shape, are actually fruits encasing a seed. The fruits are so closely wrapped around their seed that it appears that the outer coating is just a hull. The seed coat is green or tan, and darkens the flour when the seeds are ground. Buckwheat contains no gluten, so it is considered safe for those with gluten intolerance. 

Buckwheat was once used widely, but its use tapered off with the rise of other grains, easier to grow and produce. Of late, resurgence of interest in ancient grains has led once again to buckwheat's popularity. Buckwheat is commonly made into noodles (soba), blinis, pancakes. There is also buckwheat honey. It is used as a thickening agent in soups. It can be cooked and eaten as porridge. Buckwheat hulls have been used to stuff pillows, as the hulls easily adjust to the shape of head and do not conduct heat as do many synthetic products. This is only a very brief synopsis of buckwheat history and use, but hopefully it will give some idea.

On to the Pancakes!

So as we were talking, Rich and I, he allowed that he would certainly like to have some pancakes, if only once, as he is also trying to keep his carbs on the low side. This morning seemed a good time to try out this recipe. I wanted to use the Kamut ® Khorasan instead of regular wheat flour, and I added in just a small bit of regular white cake flour to lighten up the mix. I love to use buttermilk in my pancakes, but when I don't have buttermilk in the house, I do generally have evaporated milk and vinegar or lemon juice. Mixing up a half evaporated milk / half water mixture and adding in about a tablespoon of vinegar of lemon/lime juice per cup of milk makes a very acceptable substitute for buttermilk. Since my husband bought me a Wonder Mill, I have been enjoying the ability to just instantly grind a grain or seed as needed. I ground 1/2 cup each of Kamut® Khorasan and buckwheat, to make the needed 3/4 cup each for the recipe. I still had just a little left over, but that makes no big difference to me - I will toss that into something else as I am baking or cooking. 

Texture of Buckwheat and Kamut® Khorasan Pancakes
When I placed the Kamut® Khorasan into the Wonder Mill, I absolutely forgot to reset the dial to fine grind. As it was on coarse grind when the machine started, and it takes mere seconds to grind, the Kamut was done before I even realized. I figured, oh well, so part of the flour would be a little coarse. I turned the dial to fine grind before adding in the buckwheat. As it turned out, Rich, my husband and I all marveled at the fluffy and lovely texture of these pancakes. I am not sure of the why, but these came out tender and perfect and really, really good! For full grain pancakes, they were very light.

Buckwheat & Kamut® Khorasan Pancakes 

Buckwheat and Kamut® Khorasan Pancakes
makes about 16 pancakes

3/4 cup Kamut® Khorasan flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar (or substitute 2 packets of Stevia sweetener)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk or soured milk (see above)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients and whisk to combine. Separately, mix together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Have a griddle ready at 350 degrees, or a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Use oil, baking spray or whatever grease is preferred and begin ladling out the pancake batter. Once the edges of the batter look dried and there are many bubbles over the surface that leave holes once they burst, flip the pancakes to the other side. The second side will take far less time than the first. 

Serve these pancakes as with any other pancakes, with maple syrup, honey, fruit, fruit pie filling or whatever favorite thing you like with pancakes.  

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.