Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick pancake mix

The Cub™ loves his pancakes, so I find myself making them often for him.  

I cannot seem to keep a simple recipe for pancakes in my brain, so every time I prepare a batch, I have to dig out the recipe.  Mark Bittman has his basic recipe, and Alton Brown has his 'instant' mix, so why not try something like that?

I started with Alton Brown's 'instant' pancake mix.  It's fine, except that it relies upon buttermilk and baking soda for leavening.  I love buttermilk in my pancakes, but on a random Tuesday morning, it is highly unlikely that I"m going to find buttermilk in my fridge.  And without buttermilk, the baking soda will create no leavening. So that formulation is out.

Time to put on my chemist's hat.  Modifications are in order!!  Instead of relying upon buttermilk + baking soda, I will use dry whole milk + baking powder. 

KLIM® is an instant, dry, whole milk product, manufactured by Nestlè.  It's made in Mexico, and clearly is marketed to the Latin American market segment.  I have found the product only in Latin groceries, or in one of those 'only in America' circumstances, in the 'Latin' aisle at the Korean supermarket.  I have never found the product in a conventional supermarket. 

The product is similar to Carnation instant milk, but is full-fat, unlike Carnation.  I first came across a product like this (I don't know if it was the Nestlè product or not) in India, where powdered whole milk sachets are supplied with your in-hotel-room tea service.  It's brilliant!  It is far superior to powdered non-dairy creamers, both in flavor and in how it appears when dissolved in coffee or tea.  I started buying the product to keep at my desk at the office to add to my coffee.  The office coffee service offered only the powdered non-dairy crap, naturally, and it was a challenge keeping milk or half-and-half in the office fridge, because it had a tendency to disappear quickly. 

I had a couple cans on hand and so include it in my recipe:

6 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbp salt
2 Tbp sugar
1 1/2 cups KLIM® instant whole milk powder

Mix well and store in an airtight canister. Heck I put the directions for a batch right on the canister.  No digging for recipes.   

To make a batch of pancakes (6-8 cakes):

1 cup pancake mix
1 egg
2 Tbp oil 
1 cup water  (I should say that this should be a 'scant' cup of water.  Perhaps start with 3/4 cup, and see how it is.)

Mix gently.  Do not overmix.  It's quite all right if the batter is a bit lumpy.  If the batter seems too viscous, add a bit more water. 

Ladle the batter onto a hot griddle or non-stick frying pan.  Bake until set and small bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 minutes.  Flip and bake the other side, another 2 minutes until cooked. 

Serve with butter and hot maple syrup.

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