Pancakes sans Baking Powder

So, if you’re anything like me, you may have a couple of children wandering along with you at the grocery, complaining about how looooong it takes to buy the food required to feed a small army.  AND these distractions are a big reason you forget important little items.

Aw.  Who am i kidding?  If it’s not on the list it might as well not exist (and sometimes even when it IS on the list).

So, when I ran out of baking powder after making our last batch of pancakes I thought to myself, “Don’t forget to add baking powder to your grocery list!”

Then I promptly forgot.

Until this morning, when I opened the cupboard while the soundtrack of starving children moaned on and on in the other room, and I suddenly remembered I would not be finding any baking powder there.

But I did not throw in the towel.  I knew there must be a substitute for baking powder.  I considered adding another egg, but figured that would make the pancakes too dense & tough.  So to my trusty laptop I raced!

A quick search revealed that I could create a suitable leavening agent by combining approximately 1 part baking SODA to 2 parts cream of tartar.  What are the odds I would have cream of tartar, which I only use to make an occasional meringue, when I didn’t  have baking soda, which I use about once a week?

Back to the cupboard where low & behold…  A nice full jar of cream of tartar!

Now, I was a bit skeptical, but the resulting pancakes were so marvelously airy & just plain yummy, that I knew I could never go back to using baking soda.  I may even start substituting the baking soda/tartar combo in my cookie recipes!

I added chocolate chips once I'd gotten each pancake on the griddle.  The kids are no longer starving!

I added chocolate chips once I’d gotten each pancake on the griddle. The kids are no longer starving!

If you are interested in making your own Baking Powderless Pancakes, here’s my recipe:

2 1/2 c.    Milk
6 T.          Unsalted Butter
2              Eggs
3 c.          Flour
2 T.          Sugar
4 t.          Cream of Tartar
2 1/2 t.    Baking Soda
1 t.           Salt
Cooking oil for your pan.

I heat the milk & butter just enough to melt the butter, and beat the eggs into the liquid mixture (temper the eggs if you got the milk & butter too hot).  Combine dry ingredients and whisk in the liquids just enough to blend.

Oil your griddle and heat to ~375.  Add batter by 1/4 c. fulls to your hot pan and flip when the bubbles begin to stay open in the middle and the edges start to lose their wet shine.

Add blueberries or chocolate chips if you like!

Using a quarter cup measure to dip out the batter should make about 36 palm sized pancakes.

Enjoy!

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Sourdough Starter Experiments

We are learning to create our own sourdough starter & experimenting with different “mediums” for growing the cultures.  Yesterday we started a basic batch using bleached all purpose flour and warm water.  It’s very cool in our house, gotta make that propane last don’cha know, so I have the starter in a plastic food storage container with a snap on lid (just pressed down on 2 corners so we don’t have an explosion) sitting on top of our incubator, keeping warm. 

This batch is 1/2 c. flour and just a little under 1/2 c. warm water.  As you can see, it’s already bubbling and it smells nice and tangy.

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Today we will be making 2 more starters with just flour and water.  One with unbleached all purpose flour and one with whole wheat flour. 

This is such a terrific learning experience for both my children and myself!  We have learned so much about microorganisms, yeasts, lactic acid, leavening, the history of breadmaking, and food security. 

You may wonder what I mean by “food security”  – For the last couple of years I’ve noticed that, month after month, the grocery cart is a little less full and we walk out having spent a little more money.  We are frightfully reliant on foods grown hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away or produced in a factory with ingredients cooked up in a lab.  I get a little nervous when I think about the “just in time” delivery system that depends on an uninterrupted stream of petroleum from the very beginning when the seeds are planted to the very end when I haul the groceries home.  And most upsetting of all, we are hostages to the cost of that production which is influenced dramatically by the cost of that oil and the whims of investors betting on the future.

For me this all boils down to a simple truth:  We need to learn to be more responsible for our food, if not for our physical health, at least for our financial health.  And for our family this has meant hunting, raising small livestock, learning to process our own meat, growing a garden (I have a BROWN thumb – so I need a lot of work in this department), cooking from scratch, and now making our own starter to bake our own bread. 

I bake a lot of breads, but I hope I have officially purchased my last jar of commercially produced yeast!

Every little bit helps…  I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

 

Heirloom Seeds & Pancakes from Scratch

I want to thank all the people who visited our blog and signed up for our seed giveaway.  There were enough seeds to send some to ALL those who entered the drawing!  YAY!  I love being able to pass on good heritage garden varieties to gardeners who will put them to good use.  If you signed up, be sure to check your email & I’ll be getting your seeds in the mail right away.

On to pancakes!  I use to make pancakes with those boxed mixes – just add water.  Well, a few years back I found a recipe that seemed simple enough.  I tweeked it a little to get the texture & loft we like in our flapjacks and we haven’t ever looked back!  They are yummy and filling and just the thing to warm up a coooold spring morning.   I thought I’d pass on the recipe & give you the chance to try homemade pancakes for yourself.

1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. butter
1 Large egg (or 3-2 bantam eggs)
1 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 1. salt
1 T. sugar
cooking oil
(fresh blueberries or chocolate chips are a yummy option)

 

Warm milk & butter over low heat just until butter melts, remove from heat.  Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour cooking oil onto griddle & begin preheating to 300-350 degrees.  Whisk egg(s) into milk mixture – temper egg if the milk is hotter than “pee warm”  Whisk liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.  Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle.  If adding chocolate chips or berries scatter over top surface of the pancake as soon as you pour batter on griddle. Flip pancakes when the rising bubbles burst & remain slightly open.  Serve hot with syrup and/or butter – or just eat plain from the griddle!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Mmmmm – Biscuits! Recipes You’ll Enjoy.

These days families are trying to stretch their food budget as far as they can and homemade biscuits are a wonderful way to make simple meals more filling.  Recently on the Country Life and Homesteading email list a member asked for a good homemade biscuit recipe because she wanted to get away from buying them premade.  Biscuits are so easy to make and so quick there is no reason to pay for the processed and frozen critters from the store.  Anyone can do it from scratch!

I have two biscuit recipes, one for a breakfast biscuit and the other for a cheesy, savory supper time biscuit.  I hope you enjoy them!

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Buttermilk Breakfast Biscuits

2 1/2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/3 c. butter, melted (I use unsalted)
1 c. buttermilk
1 – 1 1/2 T bacon drippings
additional melted butter to brush biscuit tops

Preheat oven to 450.  Grease cookie sheet with bacon drippings.  Sift
together dry ingredients.  Pour in butter & buttermilk, mix to form
sticky dough.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead briefly,
folding the dough onto itself.  Pat out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut
with a 3 inch floured cutter (I use a drinking glass).  Place on
cookie sheet, leaving space for the heat to circulate around each
biscuit.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Brush with butter during last minute of
baking. Makes 8 big biscuits.

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Cheesy Biscuits

2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425.  Grease cookie sheet.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening until lumps are pea-sized and well distributed.  Stir in cheese then milk.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead briefly,
folding the dough onto itself.  Pat out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut
with a 3 inch floured cutter (I use a drinking glass).  Place on
cookie sheet, leaving space for the heat to circulate around each
biscuit.  Bake 13-15 minutes.