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Perfect pancake mix

March 21, 2010

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you know that I generally like to make everything from scratch — if I’m doing baked brie I’m likely to use my own home canned jam or chutney, puff pastry that I rolled and folded and smothered with butter all by myself, and I find it something of a disappointment that I am, as yet, unable to make my own brie.

But sometimes, very occasionally, the thought of hours in the kitchen is not appealing.  Yesterday with the sun shining and my brand new bike waiting right outside the door (more on that later!) I just wanted to be at the park as quickly as possible.  So I was really glad to have in the freezer a batch of instant pancake mix. Don’t panic: I haven’t sold out… its pancake mix I made myself and put in the freezer for just such a lazy morning.  I made a whole tower of pancakes in minutes and they were sweet and fluffy and very good (though they would have been better, much better, with a side of bacon!)

Homemade Pancake Mix

Yield: 6 cups mix (for about 30 pancakes)

Adapted from Diane Unger’s recipe in ‘The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best recipes and reviews 2010’

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 c. cake flour
  • 1 c. milk powder
  • 1/2 c. malted milk powder
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Process all the ingredients in a food processor until they are an even sandy texture, store frozen (up to 2 months).

To make 10 pancakes:

  • 2 c. pancake mix
  • 2 lightly beaten large eggs
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or sour milk – which I always save up for just such an occasion)

Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.  Use 1/4c. of batter per pancake and fry in a lightly greased skillet until golden brown.  Serve with maple syrup (and a side of bacon!)

–By Talia

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2010 8:57 am

    i wish that photo was real and it was sitting on my table right now. srsly.

    no, i mean srsly.

    • March 21, 2010 9:11 am

      I wish Bed Stuy were closer to Long Island City: I’d drop you off a batch…!

  2. March 21, 2010 1:57 pm

    Mmm…just had pancakes this AM but these still look tasty! I always am looking at different recipes but seem to inevitably end up making Mark Bittman’s–probably just routine on Sunday morning and I”m hungry! I have tried to make up a “mix” of my own a few times as well. I can’t imagine using a store-bought mix on the other hand. It’s one of my fave Bittman quotes: “Americans must have been sadly alienated from the kitchen for pancake mix to take hold.” Your version definitely looks more complicated (or, just more ingredients), but I think the solution is to make up a batch as you did, not reach for the Bisquick! Is the malted milk powder being used because you are specifically making a “mix” for later (as I imagnie is the reason behind the powdered milk), or does it serve some other purpose?

    And what do you mean by sour milk…?

    • March 21, 2010 2:49 pm

      I like the Bittman quote – and I’ll have to try his recipe. I don’t think the pancake mix is even the worst of it: I think things have gotten even worse… I mean, whats up with instant rice in plastic one serving containers… how hard is it to cook rice??!!

      According to the test kitchen notes, the malted milk powder is the secret behind the success of these pancakes: it was the preferred flavor by all the tasters the recipe was tested on (others that were tried and rejected were vanilla, cinammon, oatmeal…). It does give a very rich sweet flavor to the pancakes: although the first time i made them I thought they were a bit too sweet so i cut down the quantity of the malted powder a little — the recipe in the post is for the lesser amount.
      As for the sour milk… since I never drink milk and only buy it to use in cooking, I find that I am frequently left w/ milk gone sour in the fridge. I’m sure this sounds gross, but I’ve done it for years so it seems natural to me… I just use the spoiled milk in recipes that call for buttermilk and it imparts the same type of flavor.

      • March 21, 2010 2:58 pm

        How about pre-cooked microwave pasta? At least rice (in theory) takes about a half hour to cook once you get the water boiling…pasta? I didn’t think there was more “convenient” rice than minute rice out there, but apparently so.

        Interesting about the sour milk…I’m not sure I could get away with trying that one 😉 though we rarely have milk go bad anyway unless I forget to look at the dates at the store!

  3. March 21, 2010 3:00 pm

    Sara: don’t get me started… pre cooked pasta is insanity. and whipped cream in a can. unbearable!!
    I think the thing about sour milk is its totally great just don’t tell anyone… I guess I broke the rule on that one today… oops!

  4. March 21, 2010 10:20 pm

    this is absolutely the perfect recipe for me considering my undying love for pancakes. bravo.

    • March 22, 2010 6:58 am

      whats not to love with pancakes?!! hope this helps you eat them as often as possible!

  5. March 22, 2010 1:34 am

    That first photo is beautiful. I wish I had that kind of light in my home.

    • March 22, 2010 8:51 pm

      Thanks! The photo was taken on a sunny day with the window on the left. The aperture was set at 5.6 with a slow shutter speed of 1/8s. You can make any day look bright by increasing the shutter speed.

  6. March 22, 2010 8:46 am

    Talia, great photography!!

    • March 22, 2010 9:46 am

      Thanks Jessie: but I can take no credit for any of it, Noerah works the magic, I just try to inspire her!

  7. March 22, 2010 3:13 pm

    Yes, Noerah and her photos are making me REALLY want to take a proper photography class – she keeps getting better and better!

    We eat pancakes or waffles at least once a week, probably more often if you count that Boy-O likes to eat them cold for snacks. I’m usually using Dorie Greenspan’s recipe (which is strangely similar to Alton Brown’s recipe, which is also a standby) for pancakes and the Burp! Where food Happens Cornmeal Waffle recipe, which can not be beaten.

    But…. I will be making your version here as soon as I can get some malt powder, since they look really great, and maybe with the Spring weather, I’ll want to go faster in the breakfasts so we can be outside more. I guess this gives me a reason to order from King Arthur Flour…

    • March 22, 2010 8:55 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca! You are too kind. Listen, why don’t you come to NY for three days in July, stay with us, and take the class with me?! I have to say, Talia is the one that sets things up nicely for me to photograph, which in my opinion is more difficult than taking the pictures! -Noerah

      • March 23, 2010 1:37 am

        Ohhh that is tempting… But I don’t really have the proper equipment (my Canon is a S5 IS, non DSLR). Maybe I can take you up on that in a year or so!

  8. March 23, 2010 4:20 pm

    Beautiful photos and recipe! I absolutely LOVE pancakes and would probably eat them everyday except I too lazy to make them half the time. Great idea to have a mix already made.

    • March 23, 2010 4:22 pm

      I hope you will make them every day now… that sounds like a good life to me. Except then you wouldn’t be posting other new and exciting recipes, hmmm… maybe not everyday then!

  9. May 9, 2010 5:34 am

    Hi, my daughter tried pancakes during a foreign trip and she loves them. I have been making them for her for a few days now and I am very interested in the idea of freezing the mix. But I am quite new at this, so I do not quite understand how do you thaw the mix. That is, how do you take the portion you need and thaw it?


    • May 11, 2010 7:39 am

      I’m glad your daughter discovered pancakes: yum! The mix doesn’t really freeze, I guess because there isn’t so much moisture in it, it stays pretty loose and you can just measure out as much as you need.

  10. August 5, 2010 4:28 pm

    Your pancake picture made my mouth water……YUM! It never occured to me to keep my pancake mix in the freezer. Smart! Thanks for the tip.
    I posted a Cinnamon Bun Pancake recipe on my site this afternoon. It’s TO DIE FOR!

  11. August 10, 2010 1:42 pm

    I now live alone. I like to eat healthful food. but I find most things I cook are just too much. I don’t like to eat leftovers forever. I liked this receipt because I can just cook what I want at one time.

  12. October 14, 2011 2:20 pm

    I’m going camping this weekend and I’m exciting to bring this mix along to WOW fellow comrades with breakfast Sunday morning! Have you ever used almond milk in place of buttermilk (allergic to cow’s milk…womp womp)? I’m going to use powdered goats milk in place of the malted milk powder!

    • October 14, 2011 4:18 pm

      Katherine: so glad you are getting to impress people with this mix… I haven’t used either almond milk or goat milk powder but will be excited to hear how the pancakes turn out for you… let us know!

  13. February 14, 2012 6:32 am

    when I make pancakes I make them small enough to fit in the toaster so if there are any left we can toast them for a quick breakfast or snack later… yummm .. good for a morning if you over sleep and need to get going in a hurry.


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