The World’s Fluffiest Pancakes

Since i wasn’t too happy with the ricotta pancakes i made the other day and i was looking for a nice pancake, i found this recipe for the world’s fluffiest pancakes! i followed the recipe to a tee, using skim milk and NO melted butter in the batter.  YUM! ill just post photos and hopefully they’ll speak for themselves. all i can say is: TRY THEM!!!!!!!!




Thomas’s has nothing on me!

so, i recently discovered that english muffins can be MADE!  i assumed they were like “american cheese” – they just came from the nameless factory: processed, packaged, and with no way to replicate them at home.

So, after debating between Alton Brown’s recipe and this other one i found on cookstr, i went with the cookstr one for a few reasons.  1) because i don’t have metal rings, metal cookie cutters, used pineapple cans, leftover tuna cans, beer cans… (what can i say?? i’m a prompt recycler), and 2) because the reviews likened Altons to pancakes.  i’m sure thats yummy, but i don’t think “pancake” when i think of english muffin.  maybe ill try that after i have some beer cans to use (hey – its the most likely can to be used within the next few days!)

initially, everything went well. then, i realized that after i started kneading, that i forgot to add the melted butter!!!!!!!! i immediately melted 2 Tbsp butter, and added it to the dough.  i tried to add it into a pocket and fold it in without spilling it everywhere. unsuccessfully. my hands and the counter got covered in butter! now that i think about it, i cut the recipe in half. except for that butter. (note: it didnt have a negative effect on the flavor ill tell you what!)

now came the real issue. i covered my dough, i greased the bowl (super important – don’t skip that step! i’ve done it before. disaster.), covered it in plastic, and (since i don’t have a designated warm area in apartment, i filled a skillet with hot-ish water and placed my bowl, rising dough ball, and plastic covering all in the sink in the warm skillet. it kept the bowl warm and i didn’t have to waste any gas to leave my oven on. well, this hurdle overcome, i come back to my sink after an hour and: it didn’t rise. not even a little. of course, ive realized that things never rise for me.  i’m not sure whether this is because my yeast is dead? or that recipes somehow dont work for me.  i’m guessing its because my yeast is dead. will this effect the taste? answers to follow!

all other issues aside, i continued with my recipe and: other than trying to figure out how to get that nice line down the center of my muffins…success!!

Lessons Learned:

1. i need to figure out a way to test whether my yeast is alive or not before i attempt another disasterous bread product. this is 2 in a row (no, i won’t share how horrible my challah was…) where my finished product was dense and lacked the air pockets i’m used to in my baked goods. i know (thanks Chef patterson!) that there are 3 sources of leavening: steam, chemical (i.e. baking powder), and yeast. lacking the steam expansion (like used in souffles), the chemical expansion (like in a good muffin), i relied on yeast. clearly, i relied on dead yeast. i wonder if that has anything to do with keeping them in the cabinet next to my oven/stove…?

2. any time a recipe tells me to knead dough on a floured surface, i’m going to ignore it and knead the dough with my hands and the counter covered in cooking spray! it was SO EASY TO KNEAD with butter everywhere! if you think about it, it makes sense. and its way easier to keep your hands full of grease than to keep it full of flour. after some “brief research on the internet” (insert brief and laughable reference to bob morris here) i found out that while not commonly called for in recipes, other people know about this toO!  (ok really, if king arthur even admits its preferable to flour, i can’t be wrong here!!)

3. mmmm that leftover lemon curd is FABULOUS on english muffins! why haven’t i tried that before!?

lemon ricotta pancakes for a sunny sunday!

okay okay lisa, duely noted! i know everything is narrative – but thats the beauty of it! i write like i talk! anyways, i was just too excited to have “someone” to type to that i went a bit story-crazy. its like having someone to gchat with when no one is online!  however, ill get right into it on this one.  since i tried those ricotta fritters yeterday i had 3/4 of a container of ricotta. but what to do with it!? i don’t know if anyone has ever thought “oh ill use that this week” and then 3 weeks later had 3/4 of a container of MOLD to throw out. in an effort to NOT let this happen, and also in anticipation of spring (and the convenient location of a bag of lemons on my container), i went with:

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes:

I should note here, that i also made my own lemon curd – the same recipe i’ve been making for years: from cooking light, and other than the calories from sugar, totally guilt-free (unlike my pizza from papa johns i just finished; side note to papa johns: if you continue to give me 50% off discounts every time the Washington Wizards score over 100 points, i will continue to order from you!)!  the only lessons learned from this recipe is: when the recipe involves eggs cooking over the stove, and it says stir constantly, it means DONT WALK AWAY EVEN FOR A SECOND! becauase then the whole eggs in your lemon curd will cook, leaving you with chunks of egg white in your curd. yum? right. no. thats what strainers are for. thank goodness. but still, ew!

On to the pancakes: i followed this recipe to the T! except that i used freshly grated nutmeg from a fancy nutmeg grinder (okay okay its from McCormick and they sell it in the spice isle with whole nutmeg already loaded…sue me!) and estimated the amount. all in all, i might have used a bit less than was called for.  other important notes: i used fat free milk (lactose free as is my custom), and WHOLE milk ricotta from weggies. really, i would’ve used the part skim kind if it were in my fridge but since it wasn’t (see reference below to 3/4 used containers of ricotta), i just went with what i had.

the result: EXTREMELY moist pancakes. i almost didn’t think they were done, and had a devil of atime trying to flip them over! though the sides browned, they were so hard to flip that when i tried, they got all funky looking and fell apart a bit in the pan. good thing it was just for me!  the taste….was….not worth the fat and calories. sure i still ate 2, but if they were as good as i thought they’d be, i would have eaten 6. no joke! i’m a binge-pancake-eater!  the first one with jelly…the second with syrup…the second with only butter…oh, wait, what was i doing?  so right, the texture was almost custardy on the inside – pretty unique! but i wasn’t crazy about the nutmeg. i think it would have been better with ONLY lemon and ricotta. add strawberries. and whipped cream. theeeere we go! thats what i want next time.

Lessons Learned: 

1. nutmeg isn’t that good in baked goods unless cinnamon is also involved. i guess i didn’t know that…i’ve put it in beschamels (oh come on, you know, that white sauce that is the base of yummy mac and cheeses?) before, and i’ve heard its good with dark green veggies. unfortunately, these pancakes, and other baked goods, do NOT fall into those categories! its possible ill try a lemon/mint or lemon/basil if i’m feeling REALLY crazy. but not until my herbs are planted for the season!

2. ricotta isn’t worth the fat! i couldn’t even taste the ricotta in there. its a textural additive only. and really, next time i’m going fat free. in fact, i have a fabulous recipe for stuffed shells with fat free COTTAGE cheese. i’ve tried with both cottage cheese, and with ricotta cheese. the cottage cheese is better!  and healthy! and cheeeesy….

3. lemon curd can make sub-standard pancakes FABULOUS

4. if a recipe calls for berries on top, it probably needs it. mistake on my part for not getting some strawbs or making a fruity sauce.