From Melissa Coleman's The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook: "I make these pancakes for my husband. He’s team fluffy, and I’m team wheat. But wheat pancakes have a reputation for being dense and bitter. When I set out to write this book, I took an informal survey on the use of wheat flour in the kitchen. About half swore it off vehemently and the other half proclaimed their deep love for wheat pastry flour. After picking up a bag of it, I switched out all my regular wheat flour for wheat pastry flour. It makes a shocking difference. It’s light without a trace of bitter. I’ve used it throughout the book. Even in the puff pastry! I hope you’ll give it a chance and pick up a bag, too. If not,
it’s an equal exchange for all-purpose flour. P.S. Don’t skip the orange zest if you can help it." —The Fauxmartha
Begin preparing the wet ingredients. In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low until half melted. Set aside to continue melting and cooling.
Prepare the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Once the butter has cooled, whisk all of the remaining wet ingredients into the cooled butter until evenly combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking until only small lumps remain in the batter. Allow the batter to rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250° F and heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or griddle on medium-low. Just before cooking, lightly spray the surface with the cooking spray, and stir the batter gently a couple times more to incorporate. Using a 4 tablespoon-sized spring-release scoop (2-ounce scoop/#16 scoop), about 1/4 cup, add the pancake batter to the pan. The pancake is ready to flip once bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Flip and allow the pancake to continue cooking undisturbed. Stack the pancakes on a baking sheet. Place them in the preheated oven to keep warm as you make the rest of the pancakes. Serve with pure maple syrup and seasonal fruit of your choice.
Notes: There are two keys to making great pancakes—a good recipe and perfecting the heat of the skillet. Too low of heat will keep the pancakes from rising to their full potential, leaving a gummy, uncooked texture. Too high of heat will cause the exterior of the pancake to burn before the insides cook through. Of course every stovetop and every pan is different, so it will take a bit of trial and error to achieve the perfect pancake. As I often say, marry a recipe, and then adjust to make it work best in your kitchen. If using cast iron, know that it keeps heat really well. By the end of cooking, I’ve typically reduced the heat on my skillet to accommodate the heat wave.
Ingredient Tip: Freeze pancakes for later. Place the pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze them until solid (about 30 minutes). Then stack the frozen pancakes in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. This process keeps the pancakes from freezing to each other. Toast in the toaster to reheat.
Minimalist Tip: Turn this recipe into waffles by omitting the baking soda and using an additional 1⁄4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (3⁄4 cup total). Pour 1⁄2 cup batter at a time into a waffle iron and cook over medium-high. It will yield six 6-inch round waffles.