Make Ahead

Magical Whole-Grain Pancakes From Josey Baker

June 26, 2021
16 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
  • Prep time 8 hours
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

These pancakes are playing a trick. Yes, they're just as tender and cushy as your favorite buttermilk stack. But thanks to one little step—soaking the flour in milk overnight—they're 100% whole-grain and proud of it. The recipe is so simple that sourdough pro Josey Baker first shared it in an Instagram post.

As Josey wrote on Instagram in May 2020, “my dear friend @jbattilana and I have been talking about throwing a pancake dinner at The Mill for years, but now who knows when the heck that is gonna be able to happen...??!? so in the mean time you should just make yourself and your family and your housemates some pancakes for dinner (or breakfast tomorrow) and cover them in too much maple syrup and settle right down. see below for our pancake recipe that @jbattilana
wrote, enjoy my friends!”

A few tips: Can you use this batter right away instead of soaking the flour overnight? Yes—the texture will be a little drier and more noticeably grainy, but butter and maple will make up for it. Can you make the whole batter overnight? Yes—it will be only negligibly less fluffy but worth it for the convenience. Can you swap in buttermilk? Yes—the batter will be thicker, so just nudge it into place. Every variation I’ve tested worked, with only slight differences in results, so do what works for you. Soaking at least the flour overnight will always yield a dramatic improvement in texture and flavor.

Recipe adapted very slightly from @joseybakerbread’s Instagram post from May 2, 2020 and “What Bay Area chefs and bakers are cooking during the pandemic” from the San Francisco Chronicle by Jessica Battilana, April 29, 2020. Find more of Josey’s whole-grain recipes in his cookbook, Josey Baker Bread.

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Hear about the process of developing this recipe, from Josey himself, on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Magical Whole-Grain Pancakes From Josey Baker
  • 1 cup (113 grams) whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup milk (whatever kind you have)
  • 1 tablespoon sourdough starter (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pan and serving
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips, peanut butter, fresh fruit, or maple syrup, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, milk, and sourdough starter, if using. Cover and refrigerate overnight for a smoother, more tender texture. In the morning, stir in the sugar, butter, egg, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and mix until combined; don’t worry about overmixing.
  2. Melt some butter on a griddle or in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Ladle on some batter, making pancakes of any size you'd like; the batter will be very thick, so you may need to use the back of a spoon to help spread the dollops. If you’re planning to add chocolate chips or berries, do it now. Flip the pancakes after bubbles rise to the surface and the bottoms brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Cook on the second side until lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and top as you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • smasseff
  • HalfPint
  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
  • French75
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

15 Reviews

Susan January 22, 2023
I've gone through many WW Pancake recipes. The closest to edible were half white and half WW. I thought OK, I'll try this. The ingredients were on the scant side to me, but the recipe couldn't have been easier, you didn't even have to worry about overmixing. My preference was made for half with defrosted wild blueberries and half plain.

These pancakes were absolutely PERFECT; taste, texture and ease. They truly deserve the title Genius. Thank you for sharing your simple brilliant recipe. YUMMMMY
Janet January 16, 2022
I've been making this recipe for years with white whole wheat flour and buttermilk or milk-thinned plain yogurt. I've never added sugar to the batter; my pancakes turn out fine and are plenty sweet with fruit or a modest amount of maple syrup. Whole-grain pancakes are more nutritious than those with white flour, but they are carb bombs. Calling them "healthy" is absurd.
Gini January 9, 2022
I cooked these this morning for Sunday breakfast, without the overnight soak. My husband loved them. I used Califa almond coconut milk in place of milk because my husband is allergic to milk protein. The pancakes were great. Salted pecans and maple syrup upped the delicious factor even more. One question please. We love pumpkin pancakes. How would I add pumpkin to this recipe to increase the nutritional value without ruining the already delicious original.
Susan January 22, 2023
Now add the soak
kmb December 23, 2021
These are very good. I used white whole wheat flour and buttermilk, and added a scant full cup of liquid to make the batter pourable. My whole family enjoyed them.
Cheryl October 24, 2021
Tried this today. Used the discard when feeding the starter (topped up to volume with unsweetened coconut milk). Was not precise when measuring. Sprinkled walnuts while cooking first side. Came out great!
smasseff August 23, 2021
Great as written. A fun mixup from regular AP flour pancakes — the bit of extra chewiness from the whole wheat was interesting. I used the spoon method to spread my first few rounds and then abandoned. They came out better when I just plopped them down and let them do their thing. :) Also, I made a batch for just myself and the leftovers were significantly worse in my opinion. Would cut in half next time, they're best fresh out of the pan.
HalfPint June 26, 2021
Made these this morning. A great tasting pancake that isn't too heavy. The batter was a bit thin for me. The first pancake was more on the thin side, though flavor was fantastic. So I added about 1/4 c more AP flour to make a thicker batter. Next time, I will add less milk, maybe 1/2 c instead of 3/4 c. It was nice to wake up and have the batter almost ready for cooking.
Ilyssa June 14, 2021
With out a doubt best WW pancakes i ever had (tender and tasty) BUT they were kind of flat. I made them with buttermilk - could that be be why? Or maybe my baking soda was not mix in well? I noticed it holding together as a clump when mixing it up with the egg and butter, etc. I will try again and am also buying that spatula. I lost my pancake spatuala and they stopped making it so you are on it to hoard them!
BakerMary December 29, 2021
I’ve taken to sifting baking powder or baking soda into wet ingredients, seems to mix better.
Liz S. June 5, 2021
I made these this morning: 1/2 recipe for my 1 person household and that was just right ... 1/2 a pancake too much so my pup got a small treat! I added a little orange zest and cinnamon to the batter which I thought was wonderful. I bake sourdough so added some starter. My batter was thinner than the video and description, which was fine with me. I am not a fan of extra thick, fluffy pancakes and these turned out exactly how I like. I used WheatMontana Bronze Chief WW flour.
Lindsy June 5, 2021
I made these pancakes this morning. Soaked the ww flour last night, but added plain keifer because I was about 1/8 short of milk. Other than that, I made the batter exactly as called for. Thought they seemed so thick and wouldn't cook in the middle even though I turned the heat down. These were some of the tastiest pancakes, moist and delicious. There was enough batter for about 6 four-inch pancakes and that was enough for the two of us. They were really filling, but SO good. Thanks for the recipe. Glad I watched the video to see how brown, thick and not perfectly round ;-) they were!
French75 June 2, 2021
I’m going to try these pancakes on my 3 year old grandson! Kristen, my only question is will Food 52 start carrying the spatula you and your mom love or could you possibly tell us what brand it is?
Kristen M. June 4, 2021
Thank you—I hope he loves them! (I tried them on my discerning niece and nephew last weekend without a hitch.) The spatula handle says it's "a Lopol brand by Hutzler"—here they are:
French75 June 4, 2021
Thank you!!!