Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Hankering for something Hearty: Whole Wheat Pancakes

See the above picture? Those are the pancakes I wanted. I did not get those pancakes. The pancakes I made this morning didn't look bad. They were just, well, heavy.

Grandma's cookbook was beckoning me to come and see. I hadn't opened the book for about a week and I felt the pull of nostalgia and adventure asking me to try a new recipe. So, waking up with a hankering for something hearty, I decided to try the recipe for whole wheat pancakes.

My husband pulled out a nifty little appliance we have called the Pancake Factory. It has served us well for years, cooking up those morning offerings made with, all due respect and contrite apologies to my Mennonite ancestors, pancakes from a box mix. I know! But to my credit, I throw in some wheat germ or flaxseed meal when I do use those convenient boxed products.

But this morning's pancakes were made from stratch and turned out thicker and heavier than the fog embracing our cozy little town. My husband, always a good sport, was fairly exhausted after turning these cakes on the griddle. He eyed them optimistically, lifted his fork, and toasted, "in for a penny, in for a pound." He wasn't counting on three pounds. But darn it, he means what he says and the man just kept going. Around his sixth syrupy bite, he looked at me and said, "I hope these aren't doing any internal damage." Mind you, he was still eating and smiling at me. After finishing his short stack and having more time for reflection, he said, "Maybe these were fed to the Amish men before a barn raising, you know, just to keep them on the ground." That they could certainly do. They didn't look or even taste poorly, we just need to lighten these cakes up!

I am sure not everything Grandma made turned out just the way she wanted. However, I don't want to give up on the idea of making whole wheat pancakes from stratch. I am hoping some readers will give me ideas for improvement. Life is about learning.
So, with a heavy stomach and a light heart, I submit the recipe I used for whole wheat, stick to your ribs, pancakes. I welcome your suggestions.

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (I used one cup of honey instead)
1 T butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used 1/4 cup wheat germ and 1/4 cup flaxseed meal) rather than 1/2 cup of the wheat flour)

Beat eggs, add sugar and milk.
Mix dry ingredients and add to liquid.
Add melted shortening and blend togeher.
Bake on hot griddle or pancake making appliance.

This recipe was adapted from one submitted by Mrs. Amos Leis of Ontario, Canada. It was submitted to the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).

Thanks to my husband for being a trooper, always ready to help and taste!
Yours in cooking and learning,


  1. Thanks Ellen - we got some good chuckles from this post... hope your Sweet Husband got to work off those 3 pounds or so!

  2. Hi, cousin! Your mom told me you were writing this blog using Grandma Yutzy's cookbook. I'm enjoying learning to know you and Grandma better through your great writing!
    My husband Gerald likes to make pancakes with whole wheat pastry flour, which results in light pancakes. This is the recipe he uses, which is vegan, but you could use dairy milk instead.
    2 T. oil, heated and mixed with:
    1 c. soy or rice milk, mixed with 1 t. vinegar
    Stir the following dry ingred. together and gently mix with oil-milk liquid just until combined:
    3/4 to 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
    1/4 t. sea salt
    2 t. baking powder
    --Slightly adapted, from Christina Pirello's Cooking the Whole Foods Way, 2007.