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!
We have a tradition every Christmas day of having fresh Belgian waffles and strawberries for breakfast. This year I didn’t want to give up that tradition, but I couldn’t use my old recipe either because of this diet.
So, as with all my other favorite old recipes, I decided to change it up. I substituted the white flour with part whole grain spelt and part almond meal and soaked it overnight in buttermilk. (Soaking in an acidic liquid makes grains easier to digest, and also makes them lighter in flavor and texture.) The result was a great waffle that everyone in the family loved!
Now, these don’t taste the same as waffles made with all white flour. They definitely have a nuttier flavor from the whole grains, so you have to expect that. But as a whole-grain alternative, these are very very good – light and crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside!
I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the beginning process here. I didn’t think about making this a blog post until I was halfway done! I’m sure you can follow along though.
The night before you plan to make the waffles, combine the whole grain spelt flour, whole wheat flour, buttermilk, and whole milk in a large bowl. Mix them together and cover with a cloth. Let it sit ON THE COUNTER overnight. I know, it feels weird to keep milk out overnight, but trust me. If it’s cold, the soaking won’t do the job of breaking down the flours and making them yummy and tender.
In the morning, whisk together the melted butter together with baking powder and salt. Whisk in 4 egg yolks and then immediately pour it all in with the batter. If you let it sit, the baking powder will make the eggs all foamy, so don’t wait! Stir together until just combined.
Whip up the egg whites until they’re foamy and stiff. Now fold them in with the batter. To do this, first put a third of the whites in and just mix them together. Then put a second third in and fold it together with a rubber spatula by scooping the batter from the bottom up and over the egg whites at the top, moving the spatula in a circular motion. Repeat several times until the whites are mostly incorporated, then do the same with the last third of the whites. The purpose for folding them in like this rather than just mixing them together is that it makes the batter fluffier and lighter!
When you’re done, the batter will look something like this.
Heat up your waffle iron. I use a Belgian waffle maker, but any waffle iron is fine. When it’s hot, brush on some refined coconut oil to grease it – I use a basting brush to do this. My waffle maker is non-stick, but even so, these waffles end up sticking if I don’t grease it. I guess something about the whole grains makes it stickier. So grease it before each waffle even if it’s non-stick!
Scoop in some batter and cook according to your waffle iron’s directions.
Be careful when you lift it up, because they do stick easily!
These are light, fluffy, crisp on the outside, and tender on the inside when first cooked, but if stacked and kept warm in the oven they deflate somewhat and lose their crispness. They’re delicious either way, but you’ll probably like the texture better when eaten right away!
Top with some butter (pasture butter is especially yummy!) and mashed strawberries (fresh or frozen.) If the strawberries are sweet enough, that’s all you’ll need, but if you want you can also add a small drizzle of maple syrup!
This recipe makes a lot because I like to have leftovers to store in the refrigerator or freezer to heat in the toaster oven later. Homemade healthy (tastier) Eggos! You can easily cut the recipe in half for fewer waffles, though.