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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich is going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: You can make your favorite pancake recipe with any flour you like, with Alice's tips -- in an excerpt from the beginning of her latest book, Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake With Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole and Ancient Grains, Nuts, and Non-Wheat Flours (Artisan 2014).
You don’t have to be living gluten-free to fall in love with some of the most flavorful flours in the baking aisle -- even though many of them happen to be gluten-free. When I refer to flavorful flours -- or flavor flours -- I’m talking about individual, often whole-grain or nut flours, rather than the gluten-free flour blends made from starches and white rice flour.
Now you are probably thinking that you need special recipes for baking with non-wheat flours. You are mostly right: individual gluten-free flours can’t be substituted, willy-nilly, for wheat flour in recipes. Usually you do need special recipes. For that you could order a copy of Flavor Flours, but meanwhile, do read on…
Pancake (also waffle and crêpe) recipes are a huge exception to the usual caveat about substituting non-wheat flours for wheat, and a terrific way to try new and delicious flours. You don’t need a special recipe or lots of new ingredients to make new pancakes! Just get some new flour and make breakfast as usual!
Choose one of the flavor flours from the curated list below -- each of these flours makes light, tender, and delicious pancakes. Mix up your favorite basic plain pancake batter, substituting the chosen flour, either by volume or by weight, for the flour called for. Don’t worry about over-mixing the batter because there is no gluten to make your pancakes tough -- just whisk everything together and get on with it. You may need to adjust the consistency of the batter by adding more liquid or flour, as you might normally do when making pancakes.
Maple syrup is a great topping on pancakes made with all of these flours, but I’ve also suggested alternates to pair with each below.
Brown rice flour: fresh strawberries or blueberries
Oat flour: maple syrup with bananas and toasted pecans, blueberries, and/or blueberry syrup
Corn flour: berry preserves or berry syrups
Sorghum flour: sorghum syrup, blackberry preserves, fresh strawberries
Buckwheat* flour: sour cream or crème fraîche with cherry or blackberry preserves or a drizzle of honey
*I adore the assertive flavor of buckwheat. But if you are timid, try blending the buckwheat flour with white rice flour, in any proportion, to lighten the flavor.
More: Hone your pancake-making skills with a batch of Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes.
Get excited about Alice's forthcoming book Flavor Flours: nearly 125 recipes -- from Double Oatmeal Cookies to Buckwheat Gingerbread -- made with wheat flour alternatives like rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, sorghum flour, and teff (not only because they're gluten-free, but for an extra dimension of flavor, too).
Photos by Alpha Smoot, Mark Weinberg, and James Ransom