Three cheers for the red, white, and blue(berry pancakes)!

“PANCAKE BREAKFAST! This Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., fire station. $5 adults, $3 kids, 4-and-under free. Benefit ambulance fund.”

How often have you seen a sign like this, posted on the bulletin board outside the grocery store, or on a telephone pole downtown, or in the lobby of the rec. center?

Communities have been raising money—for a new ambulance, a swing set for the playground, curtains for the library reading room—since time immemorial. Or at least since I can remember (which sometimes feels like time immemorial…)

When I lived in Maine, pancake breakfasts were a regular event. A fact of weekend life. If you couldn’t find a pancake breakfast somewhere close by on a Saturday morning, I tell you, Mr. Man, you just weren’t trying.

In late fall, these fundraisers were called hunter’s breakfasts and started at 4 a.m., so the men could get out to their deer stands before the sun rose. In winter, they were a way for snow-weary, housebound old-timers to get together and socialize. Springtime featured a new crop of maple syrup, fresh from the sugarhouse. And summer—ah, that was the time for everyone’s favorite, the BLUEBERRY pancake breakfast.

I can picture it now—the fire station cleared of its trucks, tables lined with white paper, an industrial-size griddle at one end. Three or four cooks sporting aprons (men and women alike), some pouring batter, some flipping pancakes, some turning sausage links and bacon. Next to the griddle, a tray filled with plastic cups of orange juice. On each table, pitchers of syrup, plates of butter, carafes of coffee.

Families sit down together, the littlest ones on mom or dad’s lap. Friends call across the hall: “Get your deer yet?” “Where you been? I haven’t seen you since Joyce’s wedding…” “How much snow you got out at the lake?” Kids, quickly bored with eating, race from table to table; no one minds. “It takes a village” is an old and familiar concept in small-town America.

At the end of the morning, people will have enjoyed hot pancakes, a cup of coffee with friends, and some catching-up on town gossip. And maybe the swing set or new ambulance is $300 closer to becoming reality.

Ah, I can smell the blueberry pancakes cooking now… How about you?
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First, beat eggs, milk, and vanilla at high speed for 3 minutes. To me, that means splatters everywhere… thus the dish towel draped over the mixer bowl. I know, I know, a splatter guard came with this KitchenAid, but who knows where it is? Not I.

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The mixture should be nice and foamy, like this.

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Add the butter or oil, then the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

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No need to beat; just stir to combine. A few lumps are OK.

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Next, get out your blueberries, either fresh or frozen. I like these Wyman wild blueberries; excellent quality, at an excellent price. They’re gradually going national; if you don’t see them at your preferred supermarket, ask the manager if (s)he can get them.

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If you’re using fresh berries, you can add them right to the batter. If frozen, sprinkle them on top of each cooking pancake. Why?

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So that you can make a good-looking pancake like this one…

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…instead of pancakes tinged with blue juice…

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…that yield a greenish-blue pancake (bottom row). See how much nicer the pancakes look when you scatter the frozen berries on top as they cook? That’s my test-kitchen tip for today.

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Serve a stack with butter and maple syrup. Tender… buttery… soft, moist, YUMMY!

Read our complete recipe for Blueberry Pancakes.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Eggo® buttermilk pancakes, frozen, no blueberries, 18¢/ounce.

Make at home: Blueberry pancakes, using frozen berries, 11¢/ounce.

Want to save money? Leave out the vanilla to lower your cost of ingredients to 9¢/ounce.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Elizabeth

    For beginner pancake makers-be sure to turn the pancakes when the bubbles break on the surface and stay open. Also, turn the pancakes only once!!
    I am a high school foods teacher and my students want to turn the pancakes 5,000 times and mash the pancakes with their turner.
    Thanks for the great recipe-I will use it this fall in my Foods I classes!

    Thanks, Elizabeth – good advice on both counts. I’m proud you’ll use this recipe in your class! – PJH

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  2. Melissa

    Thanks for the nostalgic blog. I haven’t been to a pancake breakfast in over twenty years; I should keep an eye out for one!

    I’ve often wondered, if, like crepe batter, pancake batter would do well with a rest period after mixing. To my mind, this might let lumps dissolve a bit… but I don’t know how long the leavening would last. It would also be nice – for convenience sake – to be able to mix the batter up early.

    Melissa, absolutely. Pancake batter usually benefits by resting for a minimum of 10 minutes, and up to an hour at room temperature, if you’re using it fairly quickly. As you said, it allows any lumps to dissolve, plus the leavening gets a bit of a head start. Longer than an hour, though, stick it in the fridge, and it should be good overnight. And longer than 24 hours or so, it starts to kind of separate and break down (at least in my experience). -PJH

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  3. Sarah

    This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask a question about pans/griddles for pancakes. It seems like my recently acquired big cast iron skillet should be great for pancakes but I find that is doesn’t heat evenly enough. Even on my biggest gas burner, the middle edges of the pancakes get too dark while the outside edges are pale. Isn’t cast iron supposed to do better than this? My thinner non-stick pan that I’m trying get away from actually does a better job.

    Also, I like the idea of a stovetop griddle for cooking more pancakes or French toast at a time, but I worry it would suffer from the same uneven heating. Do you have any experience with this and is there a griddle you would recommend?

    Sarah, your cast iron griddle might be “suffering” from being TOO good a conductor—it’s responding to the exact circumference of your burner, perhaps? Is it hotter directly above your burner coils, or where the flame hits? That could be the issue. Maybe your non-stick pan simply spreads the heat around better.
    I love using a griddle. Although it isn’t perfect (every pancake isn’t perfectly browned edge to edge), I appreciate being able to set the temperature to 350°F and having it remain there. And of course, I love how big it is. We’ve used a Cuisinart here in the test kitchen, and currently use an Elite – we’ve found that both work well. – PJH

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  4. Nel

    Hi,

    A comment above has me wondering. You’ve said to let pancake batter sit to allow the lumps to dissolve and give the leavener a head start.

    I’ve always thought of pancake batter as being basically thin muffin batter. The ingredients seem to be about the same (more liquid in pancakes) and there’s the same tendency of both a pancake and a muffin to get ‘rubbery’ as they cool.

    With muffins, it seems that over-beating and trying to get the lumps out will give you a tough muffin. I always assumed this had to do with also beating out the air pockets that form in muffin dough as soon as the liquid hits the batter and the leavener starts working. (I can actually ‘see’ these ‘bubble holes’ in muffin batter when I’m spooning it into my muffin cups.) Would that only be the case if the leavener was soda? Or baking powder? Or double-acting baking powder? Or both soda and baking powder? (My Dad’s venerable ‘Sunday Morning Pancakes’ recipe calls for ‘baking powder,’ and that was Calumet back home. I THINK the can said ‘double-acting’ on it, but I don’t remember.)

    I read a post on Breadtopia by a man who was a ship’s captain and made sourdough pancakes for his crew every Sunday. The men would trickle into the galley over a two-hour period. Too keep his pancake batter from going flat and making tough pancakes, this man dissolved a pinch of soda in a little water in the bottom of a shot-glass. He put enough batter for one pancake into a bowl, stirred in the soda water, and then poured the batter onto the grill. It gave him light, fluffy pancakes from first to last. His batter didn’t ‘go flat’ over the long period he was cooking the pancakes.

    That made sense to me… so I’m puzzled about the comment above that pancake batter benefits from sitting. Wouldn’t that mean that the air bubbles from the leavening would burst every time you poured the batter, making the last pancakes rise less than the first ones?

    I suppose the answer lies somewhere in the chemistry of leavenings. Can you clear up this confusion?

    Nel, double-acting baking powder works first when it hits liquid, and second when it hits heat. So allowing it to rest, in liquid form, means the first reaction will get things going; and the second reaction won’t happen till you actually pour the pancake batter onto the grill. If these were made with ONLY baking soda (which acts when it hits liquid), I wouldn’t advise them sitting. As for the sourdough, that was smart – adding a little “base” (baking soda) to the acid of sourdough pancakes would definitely make them bubble up and become light. Hope this helps clear things up – PJH

    Reply
  5. Barbara

    Wow, I just ate supper but I want to have blueberry pancakes NOW! My family and I are coming up to Vermont for a week’s vacation next week and a visit to your store is a high priority on our list of things to do. My husband said we should see if you sell pancake mix, but after seeing this recipe I can tell no mix is needed!

    Barbara, we sell the best pancake mix around… in several different flavors. And I hope you enjoy your visit next week. We’ve been having GORGEOUS perfect weather – hope it holds for you! – PJH

    Reply
  6. Paula Sims

    I like your buy vs. bake price comparison. I wonder if you could add the price for your pancake mix you mention in the last comment, including all the extras we have to add to the mix.
    I have to try that trick Nel wrote about. My pancakes always flop at the end.

    Hi Paula – It’s $6.95 for the 20-ounce mix, but I’m not sure of quantities and what you add to it. Call 800-827-6836 for more information; I’m sure our customer service reps can help you. – PJH

    Reply
  7. Leo

    Love pancakes but can not eat them on account it raises my sugar. Any suggesrions?????????????????

    Sorry, Leo – I’m not in a position to give health advice. Maybe ask your doctor? -PJH

    Reply
  8. Duane

    Two things:
    We find that the addition of a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest is very good for blueberry pancakes.
    Also we have had excellent results with making double batches of the batter and freezing the leftover batter. Frozen batter lasts for a considerable time and may be defrosted by placing in the refrigerator the night before using.

    Reply
  9. Alissa

    I just made these for my very picky husband. He likes his from a particular box or from a small restaurant in NC. He said these were very good. Since my stand mixer and my hand mixer bit the dust, I got creative and used my blender to mix the liquids. Worked fine. Thanks for another great recipe.

    Reply
  10. Andrew

    I just love this blog. I’m a beginner baker and the detail you put in is so helpful. I am so happy to have found KA flour. It has transformed my baking to a new level it seems.

    I can’t seem to make these pancakes better than I can with boxed mix.
    I’m going to attempt it one more time with my KA flour to see if I’m consistently doing it wrong. My pancakes do not have as many holes from the bubbles and neither does it soak up the syrup as it does in your pictures. I’ve tried not to stir too much so I don’t think thats it. My pancakes come out a bit tough and bland

    I want my family to beg for my cooking. What in the world am I doing wrong?

    Hi Andrew – It’s sometimes a big challenge trying to make homemade “better” than a boxed mix. We all grow up on boxed mixes, and that’s what we’re used to; anything different may be perceived as “not as good.” We run into this all the time with cakes – so many people will prefer boxed cake mix to homemade, because that particular artificial, chemically enhanced taste is what they grew up with. Now, as to pancakes being tough and without holes, try letting the batter sit for awhile. The rest relaxes the gluten (the part that makes them tough), and dissolves the lumps, and thickens the batter so the pancakes aren’t too thin. For holes, are you using a large egg? Fresh leavening? If the batter is TOO thick, the pancakes won’d develop holes. It should pour easily; you shouldn’t need to scoop or spoon it onto the griddle. And are you using KA all-purpose flour (not bread flour?) Don’t give up… if your family is having a hard time moving from boxed mix to homemade, you might want to take the intermediate step of trying our buttermilk pancake mix, which is one of our most popular mixes. Mixes are a GOOD thing – when they’re made with no chemicals and good ingredients. I find them a real time-saver and turn to them when I’m in a hurry. Cheers! -PJH


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  11. KimberlyD

    Also tough pancake can be from flipping it to many times. I love pancakes, make them all the time from scratch or boxed only if I am in a hurry. I go to pancake dinners also, see them around where I live a lot. I like to add very little amount of vanilla extract to my batter, in the boxed it makes it seem like its from scratch, and in the from scratch taste good in it to, I say I use about 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract. Sometimes Almond extract also, or lemon extract, which is good with the blueberries.

    Sounds excellent, Kimberly, adding that touch of extract. I think I’d add just a tiny bit of almond along with vanilla – somehow, that combo comes across as “bakery at its best” – Thanks for sharing! PJH

    Reply

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