He washes our clothes and shrinks my shirts. Not on purpose, of course. He works all week and teaches at night. He’s determined to payoff his grad school loans faster than he accrued them. His work socks leave dents in his legs which can only be seen as he mows the lawn after work. He’s the CEO (Chief Email Officer) of this site because I’m so debilitatingly right brained. In the words of Hallie, “He’s the best daddy.” Because he is. His fatherly intuition is stronger than mine. He wakes up first and goes to bed last. He forces me to talk when I’m mad. He knows the bitter conversations are the only way to get to the sweeter ones. So in honor of Father’s Day, we’ve worked just as hard to perfect our fluffy pancake recipe. For him. Because he’s been eating my thin whole wheat pancakes all these years without a complaint. Or without much of one.
I knew a good buttermilk pancake recipe would quickly get us to the pancake we were looking for. But I don’t stock buttermilk in the fridge regularly. And pancakes are always a spur-of-the-moment weekend thing. I’m not a planner. So this recipe needed to be spur-of-the-moment pantry-proof.
Amelia from Eating Made Easy gave a glowing review of Cheryl Sternman Rule‘s cardamom yogurt pancakes from her book from Yogurt Culture. So that’s where we started. Because not a day goes by without a fully stocked fridge of whole milk plain yogurt. Hal was never into cows milk when we made the switch, but she’d eat bowls and bowls of plain yogurt. We tried every plain yogurt at the store until we landed on Stonyfield. It has the best consistency with a touch of tartness. So the pancakes had to have yogurt. Its tang would mimic that of the buttermilk. I took it a step further and added a splash of apple cider vinegar since Stonyfield is on the mild side. If you’re using an extra tart yogurt, I’d go ahead and skip the splash. I added a bit more butter to the batter after taking it out of the cooking process because Molly Wizenburg swears by using oil (instead of butter) to cook her french toast. I tried it too and fell in love. So I cook my pancakes in the same way now. The best part—I don’t have to shower off that butter smell right after making pancakes. You know what I’m talking about.
When cooked at just the right heat, these pancakes are fluffy with fully cooked center parts. They have enough tang to yield loads of flavor. In fact, I like them so much, I grab one to eat while flipping the rest. Something I’d smack Kev’s hand for if he tried. Lovingly of course.
So to Kev—Happy Father’s Day to the guy that carries us on his shoulders. When you wake up before us on Sunday, could you start on the pancakes? I’m kidding. Kind of.
Essentials of fluffy pancakes: tang, rest, and proper skillet heat.
1 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. butter
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. whole milk plain yogurt (Stonyfield is our favorite)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
splash of vanilla extract
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter until a couple small pieces remain. Remove from heat and whisk until melted. Add in milk and whisk together. If butter solidifies, heat a bit longer until the two mixtures become one. The mixture should be warm, not hot. Whisk in remaining wet ingredients until evenly combined. (If you’re using extra tangy yogurt, skip the vinegar.)
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold batter together until the stripes of flour disappear. Batter will be a touch lumpy. Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes. Trust.
Meanwhile, heat cast iron griddle on medium-low. Once batter has rested and cast iron is hot, spray skillet with a neutral tasting, high-heat oil. Using a #16 spring release scoop (1/4 cup), add batter to pan. Gently, using the back of the scoop, pull the batter to make a circle. Once bubbles appear on the surface, flip the pancake using a flexible metal spatula (about 1 minute depending on your heat setting). Pancakes will immediately lift and begin peaking in the center. Allow to cook for another minute or until center feels firm. Stack on a plate and repeat. Add more oil only if necessary. See recipe notes for troubleshooting over- or under-cooked pancakes.
The heat of the skillet is super important in making great pancakes. Too low of heat will keep the pancake from rising to its potential. Too high of heat will cause the pancake to burn before the insides cook through. Of course every cooking surface is different, so it will take a bit of trial and error to get it right. As I always say, marry a recipe and adjust to work best in your kitchen. If using cast iron, know that it keeps heat really well. Because of that, you don’t want to preheat your cast iron at too high of a heat as it will take a good while for the heat to wear off.