Buttermilk is a vintage American ingredient that’s here to stay, and for good reason: it contributes to an exceptionally tender texture and tangy flavor. Fold in berries or chocolate chips, if you wish, but the classic is hard to resist.
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 2 1/3 cups (19 fl. oz./580 ml) buttermilk, or as needed
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus room temperature butter for serving
- Canola oil for cooking
- Maple syrup for serving
Preheat an oven to 200°F (95°C).
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 1/3 cups buttermilk, the egg yolks, and the melted butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. The batter will be very lumpy.
In a small bowl, using a clean whisk or a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. The batter will smooth out, but there will still be some visible lumps.
Place a griddle over high heat until hot. (To test, flick a little water onto the griddle. It should skitter across the surface.) Lightly oil the griddle and have ready a rimmed baking sheet.
For each pancake, pour about 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) of the batter onto the griddle and spread it slightly with the back of the measuring cup. Cook until bubbles form and break on the surface, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 1 minute more. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat until all of the batter is used, oiling the griddle as needed. If the batter begins to thicken, thin it with a bit more buttermilk. Serve the pancakes piping hot, with plenty of butter and syrup.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers (Weldon Owen, 2010)