The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeasted pancakes cook differently and have very different texture

skytop's picture

Yeasted pancakes cook differently and have very different texture

Hi Folks!

No one has discussed the cooking and tasting of yeasted pancakes so I am posting to this info.

Got up at 4:30 A.M. today and decided to finally make yeasted pancakes. Followed a buttermilk active dry yeast recipe and let it rise for 45 minutes. I used unbleaced white flour (non self rising)

To my surprise, cooking with the yeasted glutenous batter was more challenging. Unlike usual baking power/soda batter, these yeasted pancakes ladle out thick. I tried tilting the pan but there was no movement. I found that the outer layer cooks rapidly (and forms a rougher surface) but this batter does not transfer heat to the insides. It takes much longer to cook fully through. I quickly learned to cook on a lower heat to allow pancakes to completly cook.

Upon eating the plump (also smaller diameter) pancakes, I found the texture to be quite different from the baking soda/powder "bread like" pancakes. The yeast imparted a more earthy taste.  However, the texture presented a problem. These yeasted cakes have a very smooth, almost dense, thick pudding like texture (The batter had risen and was actually bubbling when I used it.)  I actually did not care for the results at all.

Anyone have any suggestions for alternative methods, please?

This Day's picture
This Day

Try Craig Claiborne's raised buckwheat pancakes from the New New York Times Cookbook--delicious!  The recipe is online here:





flournwater's picture

While I agree that Craig Claybornes pancakes are gluten free, I interpreted your post to raise the issue of yeasted pancakes exclusive of their suitability for gluten free diets.

From your description of the yeasted pancakes I'm left with the impression that there may not have been enough liquid in the formula.  If you used dip/level/pour measure for your ingredients  you could have easily overloaded it with flour.  With respect to the way the pancakes cooked, it is possible that the type of pan used didn't distribute the heat as evenly as necessary to make your adventure a success.  Self rising flour has a leavening agent (usually baking powder) already added to it. If your recipe called for self rising flour it may have been a factor.

My own experience with yeasted waffle/pancake batters is that the flavor is more "earthy" than baking powder/soda recipes but that's one of the reasons I like to make them once in a while.  Kinda like gettig outside the box.  The flavor improves if you mix the batter the night before and allow it to ferments overnight at a low temperature, then take it out and let it come to room temperature before grilling.  If using other leavening agents in addition to the yeast, add the yeast the night before and stir in the other leaveners within about 30 minutes of grilling time.

EvaB's picture

the reason I ask is that buttermilk requires soda to work properly, and you made no mention of that. even in yeast batters you would need soda to make the acid in the milk react properly.

It does  sound like its too thick, one reason I don't like sour dough pancakes is that they are thicker than regular batter ones, and I like mine thicker than crepes but thinner than what everyone else calls normal.

skytop's picture

The recipe did not call for any soda or powder...only yeast.  I used King Arthur all purpose unbleached flour (not self rising). I use a quality heavy All Clad 12" pan with gas flame.  I just tasted some  of the refrigerated extra pancakes I saved and I could not eat it. They taste very poor with that same unpleasant thick soft-thick like texture (yes, they are fully cooked).  First time I experienced disappointment with simple pancakes. Thanks for any suggestions.

Note: I just remembered that the yeast packages were almost two years old. Could that be the cause? The batter did lift and bubbled.

This is the recipe I used:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup, optional (did not add any)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
EvaB's picture

the amount of water used seems a little short, and the lack of soda to react with the buttermilk is strange.

They seem to be a good recipe, I think they just don't have enough liquid, and a lot of buttermilk, most recipes I've seen use a combination of buttermilk and water, and as I'm not a fan of buttermilk would never use a recipe that called for that much. Generally I like a thin batter, and would have thinned it down to make a more pourable batter.

I am not a big fan of yeasted pancakes and can only remember eating them once, they were nice and tasty but a whole lot of work, I think I'd rather eat English muffins than pancakes if they are thick.

I dont' think your yeast is bad, the way to find out is add the packet to a bit of warm water and see if it gets bubbly after a bit, then add the whole lot to the recipe, a quarter cup of water wouldn't make that much difference in the recipe for pancakes.

Xenophon's picture

OK, I know it's a 2-year old post but here goes:

Although not familiar with US measures, it looks to me that your recipe is unbalanced.  Taking a look at the quantities of flour (too much) and butter, you're heading towards a batter that would be good for baking yeast waffles, not pancakes. I'm originally from Belgium and we're fanatics about waffles and pancakes over there, here's a tried and tested recipe that's been validated umpteen times:


(For two persons), !!make sure ingredients are at about 25-30 centigrade or use milk that's been brought to 40-45 centigrade!!.

-  250 grams all-purpose flour.

- 2 eggs

- 20 grams of fresh yeast or 7 grams of bread machine yest

- 500 ml milk OR 350 ml milk and 150 ml soda water

- 10 grams of softened butter 

- (optional) pinch of salt and up to 10 grams of sugar


(using bread machine yeast):  Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt in a stainless bowl.

Separate the eggs and reserve the whites

Add softened butter, egg yolks and milk (or milk and soda water) to the solids and, using a whisk, beat until all lumps have been dissolved and a homogenous batter is obtained.  Cover and let rise in a warm (30-35 centigrade) spot until the volume has doubled, how long this takes is temperature dependent.  I made a batch this morning in my kitchen in New Delhi where it's now 35 centigrade and it took 45 minutes.  Never mind the time, the batter has to double.

While the batter is rising, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.

After the batter has risen, using a spoon, gently fold in the egg whites until they're incorporated. Do not overstir/mix.  The batter will lose some volume but should remain quite airy/bubbly.  Cover and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.  It's important to avoid over-fermentation (I've seen mixes that were bubbling like an erupting volcano) as that will impart a really beery flavor.

Note:  I normally don't use soda water, just plain skimmed milk.

Heat a cast iron skillet (my weapon of choice) or non-stick pan that's been lightly greased (a well conditioned one does not require oil nor extra grease) to about 140-150 centigrade and ladle in about 120 ml of the batter.  Don't touch it, don't swivel the pan.  It'll spread by itself and form a circle with a correct diameter/height.  Cook on medium heat until the bottom is brown and the top (which will be bubbling due to superactivation of the yeast in the first phase of cooking) has set a bit and starts to dry out.  This typically takes about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook until the other side is browned.  Put on a heated plate or in a 50 centigrade oven to keep warm while processing the batch.  As you're dealing with living yeast, once you start you have to continue to the finish.  Serve with jam, maple syrup, demerara sugar, lemon juice mixed with sugar or with whatever floats your boat.  And with strong, piping hot coffee of course.

The result should be airy, fluffy pancakes with a delicate earthy/yeasted flavor.  In Belgium the general consensus is that these are meant for immediate consumption and don't keep well when refrigerated or frozen.  However, imho you can easily freeze them, then reheat a couple of minutes in a hot oven under medium grill and lose little or nothing in terms of taste and texture.

Bon appétit!




solo40's picture

Xenophon - I know it's 5 years since you post, but I just found this site. Would melted butter work as well as softened butter. Seems soft butter would be harder to incorporate. Do you have a tried and tested recipe for belgian waffles? And thanks for using weights rather than volume measurements.