Pancakes… Olde vs Modern

Pancakes… 1588 style

Pancakes-1588-Making

 It seems pancakes have had little change until the mid 1800’s. In the mid 1800’s leavening agents first made the scene, thus… the fluffy pancake. But, if you desire to try out the world’s oldest known recipe for pancakes here it is. Culinary historians have converted the amounts into modern day measurements. (Historians converted the Olde English measurements into metrics and I converted metric into our American standards as best as I could)

 Below is the recipe. Notice there is no leavening used but I’m sure the unpasteurized Ale, if left overnight, might cause it to act a bit as a yeast bread. My guess it was used as a bitter agent to offset all the sugar or to curdle the cream. I may be way off base here since no one in 1588 bothered to explain why they used ale. Truthfully, I should have just drank the Ale.

Pancakes-1585

If this recipe is accurate (along with my conversions) then these folks sure loved their sugar!  English recipes sometimes leave the pallet a bit flat but gets even worse when you look at the Olde English breakfast called a flap jack! It’s nothing like our pancake. Take my advice, some recipes are better left to history.

 

Pancakes 1588 Recipe (Above recipe) converted into modern measurements

Recipe Ingredients.

  • 300ml cream (1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 175g plain flour (¾ cup)
  • 60ml ale traditional British ale (2 oz)
  • 100g sugar (7 Tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 25g butter (for frying) (2 Tablespoons)

Directions.

In a mixing bowl sift in the flour, ground cinnamon and ginger. Make a well in the center and using a spoon mix in the egg yolks. Then switch to a whisk and gradually whisk in the cream, then the sugar, then the ale, making a smooth and silky batter.

Use an 8 inch (or 20cm) non-stick frying pan (or a traditional English griddle) and for each pancake grease it lightly with a little butter – carefully wipe the surface over with a little softened butter dabbed onto a piece of kitchen paper, folded over to thicken it, keeping your fingers from the heat. For the first pancake heat the pan until the butter smokes, then turn the heat down a little.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and quickly tilt the pan to and fro to spread the mixture thinly across the surface evenly. The amount of batter poured in should just coat the surface of the pan, no more.

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Now, for a much better tasting pancake try this recipe. I love the hint of vanilla found in this fluffy version.

buttermilk_pancakes_1

  If you’re trail cooking you will need an ice chest or cooler to preserve the buttermilk, sour cream etc outdoors. These pancakes end up nice and fluffy with a delicious hint of vanilla

Makes sixteen 4-inch pancakes

The pancakes can be cooked on an electric griddle or frying pan. Set the griddle temperature to 350 degrees and cook as directed. It’s best if you use a lower-protein all-purpose flour like Gold Medal or Pillsbury. If you use an all purpose flour with a higher protein content, like King Arthur, you will need to add an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk. The lower the protein or gluten, the more cake like your pancakes will be.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 Tablespoonbakingpowder * see note below
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda * see note below
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid. (citric acid is roughly four times as strong, so you have to reduce the amount used by four. If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of cream of tartar, use 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.)

Instructions

1. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar (or citric acid) and baking soda together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Whisk until combined then Allow batter to sit for a few minutes to allow leavening to begin (Bubbles will form).

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. This insures even cooking. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter evenly on griddle. Cook until edges are firm. When the first side is golden brown, and bubbles on the surface are beginning to break, (2 to 3 minutes) then using your spatula, flip the pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

If you wish a good recipe for homemade maple tasting syrup (Non high fructose corn syrup) you will find it within this blog under; Homemade syrups and ingredient replacements.

* Test your baking soda and baking powder once a month… here’s how

Baking soda. Place 1/2 tsp of vinegar into 1/2 cup of water and add 1/2 tsp of soda… if good it will bubble violently.

Baking powder. Place 1/2 tsp of baking powder in 1/3 of a cup of HOT water…it should bubble violently.

Using out of date ingredients is the most common reason for recipe failure!

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11 comments on “Pancakes… Olde vs Modern

  1. I’ve never before added sour cream and that sounds like a wonderful ingredient. I am eager to give this recipe a try. :-)The “much older” version with ale and plenty of sugar sounds intriguing, too, but I don’t often have ale available…think I’ll stick to your version! 🙂

  2. tbnranch says:

    Yum! I love pancakes, thanks for the awesome share! 🙂

  3. This is making me hungry. Nothing better than hot pancakes with maple syrup. Do you remember the days when crepes were popular?

  4. Wow, where’d you dig that recipe up from? Impressed! Your fluffier version looks divine… I’m going to have to try it. How are you, these days, anyway? I could swear I followed this blog of yours last year, but it mustn’t have worked, so I’m following again…

    • By the way, what is the purpose of Cream of Tartar.. It’s not something I have in my pantry – is it necessary?

      • Hi Alarna! Cream of tarter is an acid and forces a chemical reaction to the baking soda. When the two mix, gasses form thus the bubbles giving the pancakes their fluffiness. Baking powder already has a small amount of both in them but reacts (forms gasses therefor bubbles) under heat.
        The chemical reaction that produces the carbon dioxide bubbles occurs immediately upon adding water, milk, eggs or another water-based liquid ingredient. Because of this, it’s important to cook the recipe right away, before the bubbles disappear. Also, it’s important to avoid over-mixing the recipe so that you don’t stir the bubbles out of the mixture.
        You can replace cream of tartar with buttermilk (regular milk with a small amount of vinegar added creates buttermilk) you can get the recipe for buttermilk on my post “Homemade Syrups and ingredient replacements”. 🙂

      • Thanks, Joe! Now it all comes clear – maybe that’s why they used beer – the bubbles? Anyway, I will try it soon…maybe on the weekend, and report back. You sound like a bit of a whiz in the campfire kitchen 🙂

      • Oh I’ve spent my time over cookfires for sure. I used to be a foreman on a large cattle ranch years back. Every few weeks I’d have to ride the fence and check for breaks and such. I could cover only a few miles each day as it took time to repair and some of the terrain was harsh to travel on. I had cook sites set up along the way with a well built box containing cookware in each box so no matter where I stopped for the night, I could cook a meal. It sure was a good time!
        .

    • It’s funny, sometimes these recipes work and sometimes not. I try to stay true to the ‘heritage’ aspect of recipes so they don’t fall by the wayside over time. It’s a shame when an old recipe dies. I’m doing well and am still writing my old west stories on my campfireshadows.com site. Great hearing from you again my ‘down under’ friend 🙂

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