When I first posted information about buckwheat and a recipe for buckwheat pancakes, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the different ways that people make them. Not even counting the possible add-ins like apples, bananas, nuts, berries and even chocolate chips. You may want to read (or re-read) that earlier post for more information on Buckwheat.
This picture shows how the thin pancakes made with that original recipe turned out.
Since my goal here is historical accuracy and channeling my ancestors, I wanted to come as close as possible to the buckwheat pancakes made by our German ancestors, particularly my paternal grandmother.
I posted a recipe that was an amalgam of some I had read on the Internet along with Joy of Cooking’s version of buckwheat cakes. The result turned out much thinner than I expected. The picture above is the real result.
Then my brother left a comment.
To make a starter, I would need yeast, but I had one more buttermilk recipe to try first. (I promise I’ll get to the yeast version one of these days, I promise, Grandma Kaser.)
This recipe, labeled “Old Fashioned Buckwheat Cakes” was on the site Spark People, but I am not able to find it again. It is similar to the recipe I posted before, but enough different to make a BIG difference. The previous recipe used only baking soda (no baking powder) because baking powder did not come into use until the Civil War period, so Colonials would not have cooked with it. But since my father was remembering pancakes made in the early 20th century, his mother would have had baking powder.
That makes a big difference. The previous recipe combines buttermilk, baking soda and egg for leavening. This new one not only is gluten free because it uses no flour other than buckwheat, and it has no egg, good for people with egg allergies. [NOTE: Check ingredients. Some products labeled buckwheat do contain some amount of wheat flour! ] Without the egg, it still turns out much lighter than the other one, which tended to be thinner, like a crepe, (which of course is closely related.)
So I urge you to try this delicious buckwheat pancake.
Buckwheat Pancakes – The Real Deal
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Cook time||25 minutes|
|Total time||45 minutes|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot|
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup water (warm but not hot)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolved in 1/4 C water)
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease ((or substitute softened butter)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
|1.||Start the night before you want the pancakes, and mix the buckwheat flour, buttermilk and warm water. Store, (covered with a towel) in the refrigerator overnight.|
|2.||When you are ready to make the cakes, you may want to fry some bacon first, both to eat with the pancakes, and to give you 1 Tablespoon of bacon grease to use in the batter.|
|3.||In small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp baking soda in 1/4 cup water. Add 2 Tablespoons baking powder, bacon grease and molasses. Remove the buckwheat mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the additional ingredients. Set aside, covered loosely, at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour.|
|4.||Heat a griddle or iron skillet hot, greasing it very lightly with bacon grease or vegetable oil. (I pour in some oil, then blot it with a towel. I can use the towel to wipe across the skillet before I bake the additional pancakes.) The skillet should be hot enough that a drop of water will immediately evaporate.|
|5.||Cook the pancakes, about 1/4 C of batter at a time, being careful they do not burn before turning. (If you are used to looking for bubbles to indicate when they are ready to turn, they do not behave the same way as other bancakes, and they cook very quickly.)|
|6.||Serve hot with butter and syrup or blueberry jam,|
I originally saw this recipe on a site called sparkpeople, but I am unable to relocate it. I recall that it was referred to as Old Fashioned Soured Buckwheat Cakes, and was unique in that it did not add cornmeal or wheat flour and used no egg. Also, it relies on the buttermilk for the original rising rather than yeast.
Don't stint on the overnight step OR on the half hour to rest after you add the baking soda and baking powder.
Sorry, not even close to true Old Fashioned buckwheat cakes. I have eaten them all my life. They are made by creating a starter. You lay them up every night. No milk, no grease. Only buckwheat flour and water to start the starter, unless you have saved some. When you are ready to eat them you dissolve baking soda in boiling water to the pitcher. Stir until it settles down a bit then cook on cast iron griddle.
Karen, I had no illusions that the recipe I published was the one my grandma Kaser would have used with starter, so I am enormously grateful for your recipe. I would love to try yours, but need some information. How long do you let the buckwheat and water sit to get the starter? I assume that is what you meant by lay them up overnight?
What are the proportions of buckwheat to water? Also how much water do you use to dissolve what amount of baking soda?
Do you keep some of the original starter to make future batches? Is is kept at room temp? Do you have to ‘feed’ it as with sourdough?
I am looking forward to giving this a try.Thanks again for sharing.