One weekend morning when my sons were in preschool, I thought it would be fun to make homemade pancakes. I did not realize that this would be one of those times, as happens with children, that I was Setting A Precedent. Thousands and thousands of pancakes later, my pancakes are pretty good. And so I share them with you.
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
Begin by setting a large heavy pan over medium-low heat. You want to cook over a relatively gentle heat so the cakes don’t burn, but if the pan’s not hot when you begin cooking, the first couple rounds will be a sad anemic blonde.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. (The baking soda is optional, but it gives a little extra color and a little extra fluffiness. If you want something with more of a crepe vibe, leave it out.)
In a medium bowl, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour a scant cup of milk (for the unfamiliar, a scant cup is a cup but err on the side of less than a cup). Slowly whisk in a few tablespoons of milk; you want to cool the butter, but not so much that it starts to clump. Add one egg when the butter-milk mixture is cool enough to not scramble the egg, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the remainder of the milk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to combine until the batter is pourable and there are no large clumps.
Grease your pan, which should now be nice and hot. I use cooking spray; butter works, but sometimes the pancakes come out a little greasy. (Which has its own appeal.) Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup pools. My pan holds three at a time, four if I’m feeling aggressive.
After the cakes have cooked a couple minutes, bubbles will form on the top surface. You want the top to be very bubbly before you flip; you want the batter to still be soft, but not runny. When it’s ready, the surface will look moist but no longer wet. Then you flip.
If everything has gone well, the cooked side will be a nice uniform brown like an IKEA bookcase. Cook on the other side for a minute or two, then peek under the edge. It will not be a nice uniform brown on account of all those bubbles we waited for, but when the color is about the same, the cake should be finished and you can move it to a plate.
Repeat until you have used all the batter; one recipe makes 9-10 pancakes. The batter will keep in the fridge overnight if you don’t want the whole batch at once, but the next day’s pancakes will not be as fluffy. On the other hand, when they’re not very fluffy you can roll them up with jam or Nutella or whatever filling you like and that’s pretty delicious in its own way.