Non-wheat flours can be tricky to work with, as master baker Alice Medrich learned while developing recipes for her book Flavor Flours (see our story in the January 2015 issue). Each kind of flour needs to be approached on its own terms, and often one can’t be substituted for another. Except in pancakes, waffles, and crêpes. Use Medrich’s basic pancake recipe, which we’ve excerpted from her book, and you can “test drive” any flour to see if you like the way it tastes.
Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books, 2014)
Makes about 14 (4-in.) pancakes | About 15 minutes
Because they are thin—baked right on a griddle or waffle iron rather than in deep cake pans—[pancakes, waffles, and crepes] don’t require any more structure than the usual number of eggs can provide, and they already contain plenty of liquid to hydrate the flour. All of this means that pancakes, waffles, and crepes are perfect for experimentation and for introducing flavor flours into your normal repertoire. You can substitute most of the flours—white and brown rice, oat, corn, buckwheat, chestnut, teff, and sorghum—for all-purpose flour by either volume or weight and adjust the consistency of the batter by adding more liquid or flour, as one does anyway with this type of recipe. You can do the same with dried shredded coconut or any nut flour (other than chestnut) if you also add half again as much rice flour: results will be pleasingly dense, slightly chewy, super flavorful, and completely irresistible. …You can also blend flours to get different flavor effects, and of course you can add all of the chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, or berries that you might already mix into your pancakes and waffles.
1½ cups any flour: white or brown rice flour, oat, corn, buckwheat, chestnut, teff, sorghum, dried shredded coconut, or nut flour/meal
¾ cup (120 grams) white rice flour (add only if using shredded coconut or a nut flour other than chestnut)
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
Slightly rounded ½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm, plus more for the skillet
1 cup milk, warm
- Whisk the flour(s), or coconut and flour, with the sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, butter, and milk and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add a little more milk or flour at any time if the batter seems too thick or too thin.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat until hot and brush it with butter. Pour 4-inch pancakes (a generous tablespoon) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until a few bubbles form at the edges or on the surface. Flip the cakes and cook until lightly colored on the bottom and cooked through in the center, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding butter to the skillet as needed. Serve immediately or keep hot in a 200°F oven, loosely covered with foil, for up to 20 minutes. Leftover batter keeps in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 1 day.