From very early on in this food journey, browned butter banana bread became a staple in my diet. I’d look forward to having it for breakfast almost every day, usually topped with chocolate nut butter. But now the place that banana bread used to have in my heart (or stomach?) has been supplanted. I’ve switched my loyalties to pancakes.
It happened over vacation, when I made an enormous batch of banana pancakes to take along, figuring they’d hold up better than banana bread would. They worked great! So great that I haven’t looked back. Now I make these enormous batches and freeze them so that I have ready pancakes for weeks.
(What it really comes down to is that I hate to have to think about food all the time, and it’s really so much easier to just have things on hand that I know I’m going to eat!)
But consuming these pancakes every day started getting me worried about all the grain, since there’s a lot more flour in these than in banana bread. I believe that grains are safer to consume when they’re prepared in traditional ways – by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them. I’ve read the articles and they make perfect sense. (Here’s a good one that explains things well.) I just usually can’t be bothered. But now that I’m eating so many pancakes, I decided it was maybe time to think about it.
So, I fiddled with my standard recipe and easily converted it into a soaked version! The verdict? They’re spectacular. Everyone who’s had them likes these pancakes even better than the unsoaked version (and they really liked those!) They’re fluffier and lighter, and have spectacular flavor. So, not only are they better for you (because they’re soaked) but they happen to also be delicious! If you’re at all able to plan ahead for your pancakes and can remember to set the flour out to soak, I highly recommend giving these a try!
The night before you’re going to make them – or about 8 hours in advance – combine the spelt and almond meal. You can use 100% spelt for these if you don’t want to use the almond meal, and whole wheat will also work, but I haven’t tested that so I don’t know how they taste that way.
In my regular recipe I use buttermilk, but I found that the buttermilk tang is really strong when I use it to soak these. It’s still fine…but when I use soured milk instead they’re REALLY GOOD. Just combine 1 Tbsp of vinegar for every cup of milk to make soured milk. Pour the soured milk in with the flours and stir to completely combine. It will be rather thick, and that’s okay. Just stir until there’s no dry flour left.
Then cover with plastic wrap or a towel or something, and let it sit for 8-12 hours. You can leave it right on the counter. I know, the idea of leaving something soaked in milk out at room temperature seems weird, but it’s fine. Trust me.
After the soak it looks like this. If you used a towel and not plastic wrap it might look a little hard on the top layer but that’s fine.
Now mix together the eggs, milk, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk them all together so that you’re sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy. Then immediately stir it into the spelt mixture. Don’t let it sit around, because the baking soda and powder will start to foam up quickly!
Melt the butter, and stir that in too. You do the butter AFTER the egg part so that the hot butter doesn’t accidentally cook or curdle the egg/milk mixture.
Now, this batter feels a little different than my regular recipe. It’s kind of…stretchy. It’s not as loosely liquidy as the regular recipe, and glops more. That’s okay. It’s supposed to be that way. But if it really does feel too thick, you should add more milk until it’s as you want it. Just bear in mind that they spread out in the pan, so you want them thick enough that they don’t spread all over!
Heat up your pan and put in some coconut oil. You can use refined or virgin, but bear in mind that virgin tastes pretty coconutty so that will affect the flavor. However, virgin also has all the great health benefits. I like to use half refined and half virgin so that I’m getting the good stuff but cutting down on the coconut taste! Just put in enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan and wait for it to be very hot.
Then ladle in the batter.
Turn the heat down to medium (medium-low if it’s cast iron, since that retains heat more) and cook until the tops have holes in them, like this. Make sure the heat is low enough that they don’t burn before they cook enough, but hot enough that they actually cook!
Flip and cook until the other side is browned.
These pancakes are different in texture from my regular ones. They’re kind of bendy and spongy. I guess that relates with the fact that the batter is stretchy? My other pancakes are more cakey, and – honestly – I prefer that. But I think I’m unusual in that. Most people, I think, will probably prefer the texture of these to my other ones! And besides, I’m willing to forego my cakey pancakes if that means I can safely eat pancakes every morning without worrying about all the grains!
(See how bendy they are?)
If you’re making an enormous batch to freeze like I do (so that you have them on hand for easy meals in the future) you’ll want to remove them to a cooling rack as they finish.
When they’ve mostly cooled to room temperature, you can move them to a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until completely hard and frozen. Then you can put them in a ziplock bag.
IMPORTANT!!! Even if you just plan to put them in the refrigerator, don’t skip the freezing step! Freezing them first keeps them from sticking together, and makes it so that you can just pull one or two out at a time. If you just wait for them to cool and then put them in the bag, they’ll all adhere together in one giant glob, which is something less than convenient. I KNOW OF WHAT I SPEAK! Learn from my experience and just take the extra time to freeze them already!
You can store them this way in the freezer for several months, and in the refrigerator for a little more than a week.
I love these things topped with chocolate nut butter, bananas, and strawberries – and, if I have them on hand, blueberries and raspberries too!
Now, how glorious does THAT look! I promise, it’s just as wonderful to eat as it is too look at. See why I want this for breakfast every day? Add in a large glass of fresh, raw, whole milk, and I promise you – it’s divine.
But, if you’d rather, you can always top them with the standard real maple syrup instead. You just have to be more careful of the sweetener then, and you probably don’t want to do it every day. I’ve found that these are also really very good just with lots of butter on top! They taste like a really flavorful biscuit that way!
- These are more fragile than my regular pancakes, and when I tried to put blueberries in them they kind of fell apart when I froze them. Banana added in seems to be fine, though.
- This is an enormous recipe, intentionally large so that there are plenty to freeze. It’s basically 5x the standard recipe. If you want the smaller recipe divide all the amount by 5 and you’ll have it!
- In case you missed me talking about it before, Trader Joe’s is an excellent source for affordable almond meal, and you can also find more affordable sources online!
- 3¾ cups soured milk (combine 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice for every cup of milk.)
- 2½ cups whole grain spelt flour
- 2½ cups almond meal (can omit and try using all spelt instead if you prefer, but I haven't tested that for taste.)
- 10 Tbsp melted butter
- 5 eggs
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cups whole milk
- Coconut oil for frying (refined or virgin. I like to use half and half.)
- Eight - twelve hours before you want to cook the pancakes, combine the flour, almond meal, and soured milk in a bowl. Mix together until all the flour is moistened, then cover and let sit on the counter until ready to use.
- After soaking, combine the eggs, milk, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together until you're sure there aren't any clumps of baking soda/powder left.
- Mix the egg mixture in with the spelt mixture until combined.
- Melt the butter, and mix it in.
- If the batter seems too thick still, add in more milk.
- Heat a skillet until very hot, and put in enough coconut oil to generously cover the bottom. You can use refined or unrefined - I like to do half and half. Lard can also be used if preferred.
- When the pan is very hot, ladle in small amounts of the batter.
- Turn the heat down to medium, or medium low for a cast iron pan. Cook until the surface forms bubbles that pop and leave holes behind. If the bottom is cooking too fast and is going to burn before the bubbles have formed, then turn down the heat some.
- Flip over the pancakes and cook until the other side is browned.
- Serve with real maple syrup, or chocolate nut butter, or fruit. They're also fantastic just with lots of butter!
- To freeze, remove the pancakes to a cooling rack as they finish and allow to cool until close to room temperature.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lay the pancakes on in a single layer. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the pancakes are completely hard and frozen.
- Put the pancakes in a gallon ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to several months, or in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
- IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO THE FREEZING STEP EVEN IF YOU'RE ONLY STORING THEM IN THE REFRIGERATOR IF YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO STICK TO EACH OTHER!