Enter Andrew. Although I have been the 'eco-warrior' in our little familial unit, he is the food-adventurer. He likes science, he likes food and one day we watched Alton Brown's Good Eats show on pancakes (he has every season...). Most episodes result in Andrew proclaiming: 'I can make that from scratch!'
His first attempts at making pancake mix were pretty interesting. As we didn't have a pastry cutter, he used four butter knives between his knuckles (Edward Scissor hands style) and furiously cut the shortening into the flour, cursing the entire time. Although I would have just stirred, he *insisted* that when it says 'cut the flour with the shortening' you have to do just that.
Needless to say, there was flour everywhere. But the pancakes tasted awesome.
After months of searching (ok, not really seriously, but we did look nonetheless) we finally found a cheap pastry cutter, and Andrew was in pancake making heaven.
Now our pancake mix is all ready and stored in our glass containers. Our tradition- every Saturday morning we eat homemade pancakes with local maple syrup (yum!). The mix lasts about two weeks and functions just like that out of a box (add milk and eggs), sans weird chemical preservatives and using less packaging!
Andrew's Pancake Mix (or Bisquick Substitute)
Prep Time: 30min
Lasts: 2 weeks(ish) in a container, a couple months in the freezer
4 1/2 cups flour*
1/8 cups sugar (fair trade &/or organic)
1 1/4 cups powdered milk
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup baking powder
1 cup shortening
1. In a large pan (large and flat, like glass casserole dishes), stir dry stuff- milk, baking powder, sugar, salt into the flour.
2. CUT shortening into dry ingredients until it's the consistency of corn meal**
3. Place in a covered, cool dark place and... you're done!
Andrew's fantastical pancake recipe
1 cup of awesome mix
1/2 cup of milk (whatever fat percentage)
some cinnamon and some vanilla (gasp, he didn't measure!!)
Tips on getting a perfect pancake:
- DO NOT overmix. Only stir until it comes together. There will be lumps, that is OKAY. If you overmix, they'll be more glooey and flat. ick.
- 1/4 cup of batter in the pan- that way they're the same size (ok, Andrew is a bit rigid... but it does fit three in our pan).
- When the bubbles around the edge don't fill back in, you can flip them!
*for whole wheat flour, please remember that changing the gluten content of the mix will affect how the flour interacts with fats (i.e. shortening-lard-butter). Whole wheat will be heavier, so the pancakes may not be as fluffy- you might want to add more baking powder... Andrew is cautious and hates messing with recipes. His advice- replace 60% and see how that goes.
**for those of us who have no idea what "cornmeal" is, the consistency is not too fine, with little lumps. Or could do what Andrew just did and google image cornmeal. lol.
Now if we could just perfect our yogurt skills....
article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com