May 12, 2014
I’ve been intrigued by by gluten-free eating for a while now. I guess you can call me gluten-free curious. It started just as that, a curiosity, and then, due to a scary and mysterious health issue with my little one, became an important experiment. As it turns out, none of us need to be on a gluten-free diet to feel good, but I still like the idea of keeping gluten to a minimum.
Before you get all excited—or agitated—I make no claims about low-gluten eating. I know that total elimination is critical for folks with celiac, and I know that elimination has helped some non-celiac friends feel better, too. It may very well be an all or nothing thing, but I find that when I put effort into eating low gluten I eat better in general.
And, to be completely honest, it also helps me stay at a weight that I feel good about. Because my name is Stacie and I’m a carb-a-holic. For me, decreasing gluten means decreasing carbs.
My reduced-gluten diet is more about sticking to naturally gluten-free foods than it is about experimenting with gluten-free baking or flour-based foods. That said, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of the new gluten-free cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, The How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook. Even though these fluffy, delicious gluten-free pancakes are the only thing I’ve made from the book so far, they make the purchase totally worth it.
These buttermilk pancakes are that good.
I put this cookbook to the test starting with pancakes because I’ve done a fair amount of experimenting with gluten-free pancakes. Some of my experiments—like these Orange Hazelnut Quinoa Pancakes—have come out beautifully. Others not so much.
It turns out that I can make a mean gluten-free pancake when working with alternative flavors and flours, but I had yet to figure out a simple, perfect, diner-style pancake without gluten. With this recipe in my back pocket, I have no intention of trying anymore. This is the one.
It turns out that there are a host of reasons why substituting any old gluten-free flour for your all purpose won’t necessarily work. If you’ve done this, you may have gotten gooey results like mine—ick. If you care to understand the science behind why this is, you should definitely pick up a copy of The How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook. Though I haven’t yet cooked anything else from this book yet, I feel sure that you’ll be happy that you did.
Otherwise, if you just want a good gluten-free pancake recipe, this is the one. THE one. Nobody will even know that it’s gluten-free because it tastes and feels as it should: like a killer, fluffy, flavorful buttermilk pancake. Low gluten eating never tasted so good!
The America’s Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend
From The How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook
Makes 42 ounces (about 9 1/3 cups)
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) potato starch
3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder.
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes
From The How Can it Be Gluten-Free Cookbook
(Can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
Makes 16 3-inch pancakes, serves 6
10 1/2 ounces (2 1/2 cups) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend**
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray; place in oven. Whisk flour blend, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg yolks, and melted butter until combined.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk (Note: I used an electric hand mixer), whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and whip until glossy, still peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Whisk buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until batter has thickened and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gently fold in whipped egg whites until just combined and few streaks remain.
4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving a thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. Using 1/4 cup batter per pancake, portion batter into skillet and cook until bottoms of pancakes are brown and top surfaces start to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until the second side has browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve immediately or transfer pancakes to wire rack in preheated oven (don’t overlap). Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as needed.
*Note: While there is nothing in these pancakes that is unsafe for younger eaters, these are best served to kids 8+ months safely managing soft finger foods. Be sure to cut into age appropriate bite sizes and consider skipping the syrup. These pancakes may be sweet enough on their own for little ones.
**Note: Though I haven’t tried, you should be able to substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend.