Easy like Saturday Morning Lemon Infused Whole Grain Pancakes

Easy like Saturday Morning Lemon Infused Whole Grain Pancakes

Ever since I was young, pancakes have been synonymous with Saturday morning.  I took on the role of making pancakes as a school aged child, and it’s something that has stuck with me for the better part of 40 years.  

When our two boys came along, this was both an opportunity to pass on this family tradition, but was also a turning point in bringing fresh milled whole grain flour into the experience.  The one thing I noticed when using entirely white flour, was that it almost created a “carb high”, and bringing more whole grains into the recipe, seemed to regulate this better.  The nice thing about pancakes, is that it’s an easy and approachable way to try different whole grain flours, both for flavour and texture. 

The addition of both lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice was an influence from our trip to New York (when Jacqui ran the New York Marathon), and the lemon ricotta pancakes we experienced at the Serafina Restaurant in our hotel (the restaurant overlooked Broadway and 77th, and yellow was the tasteful colour theme;  I’m fondly reminded of our experience there whenever I see the colour yellow).  The lemon infused flavour in the pancake was transformational.  While I wasn’t entirely a huge fan of the heavier texture and form of the ricotta pancake, my mission from that point was to get this amazing lemon infused flavour into the light and fluffy pancakes that I loved to make.   

To my delight, this worked very well (and made complete use of the lemon…I hate to waste anything).  I thought the zest would be the way to go to get the flavour, but I didn’t want to feel the texture of the zest itself.  Using a fine micro-plane to zest the lemon, creates a feathery delicate zest.  I zested half the lemon right into the dry ingredients.  Not wanting to waste the zested half lemon, I cut the lemon in half, and then squeezed the juice into the measuring cup, and then fill the cup to the 2 cup measure with milk.  This then allows me to create a buttermilk alternative.  The milk thickens with the lemon juice, which then helps to activate the baking powder.  

I can thank my wife Jacqui for the addition of coconut oil to this recipe. She is a cognitive neurologist and has been looking at some of the dietary effects related to cognition and dementia, and coconut oil is considered a brain-friendly fat.  The nice thing is that coconut oil, has a very subtle flavour, so substituting this in the recipe (for butter) really complimented the lemon flavour nicely.

We hope you enjoy this recipe, and feel free to make it your own.  Try any of the whole grain flours (Spelt and Einkorn are incredibly flavourful)…this recipe holds up well.  If you don’t like lemon, you can leave the lemon out.    You can even substitute some sourdough starter for the milk (try a half cup).  

Ingredients list:

Dry ingredients

1 cup Black Fox fresh milled whole grain flour 

1 cup Black Fox fresh milled semi-whole grain flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Zest of 1/2 a lemon (finely zested)

Wet ingredients

Juice of ½ lemon (i.e. the zested half)

1 ¾ cup milk (approximately) - enough to make 2 cups when added to the lemon juice

2 eggs

2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)

Step 1: Pre-heat your pans (and also heat your oven to 200 F to keep pancakes warm)

Heat your pans before you start (I use a few cast iron pans on the stove top which gives good heat distribution if they are pre-heated for about 10 minutes…I like to cook at a low-med setting so the pancakes are light in colour).  Oil your pans only after they have heated up (just before you put the batter in the pan). 

Step 2: Mix together dry ingredients

Use a spoon or small scoop to lightly pack flour into the measuring cup.  Use 1 cup of all purpose and 1 cup of whole wheat/grain flour.   Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.   Using a fine microplane, zest half a lemon onto the dry ingredients and then mix together.

Step 3:  Mix together lemon juice, milk and eggs

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from the zested half into a 2 cup measuring cup, then fill with milk to the 2 cup mark.  Add the 2 eggs and then mix with a fork (breaking up the yolks).  

Step 4: Mix ingredients and add coconut oil

Add wet mixture to the dry mixture until they are well incorporated then add melted coconut oil (this is done at the end so the melted coconut oil doesn’t solidify in the milk and egg mixture).  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes….this is a good time to make coffee ☺ 

Step 5: Oil pans and cook pancakes

By this time the pans should be hot.  Oil the pans (melted coconut oil works well).   Scoop 3-4 heaping tablespoons onto the pan per pancake.  They should only take 2-3 min per side to cook, which depends on your pan and stove.  Don’t be afraid to lift the edge of the pancake and see how it’s doing.  My preference is for a lighter colour, so as soon as I can lift the edge and tell it’s holding together well, I flip the pancake.  Once they are flipped, they should take about the same time on the other side, but make a small slit in middle to check if they are cooked (i.e no liquid batter).   Once they are done, transfer to the warmed plate your pre-heated oven. 

Once they are all done, enjoy these amazing, wholesome bites of sunshine with maple syrup, fresh berries, or whatever you normally have on your pancakes.  

If I have accomplished my dream, these will become part of your Saturday morning tradition.

Please let me know how things work out, and particularly stories of your adventures in making these your own.  

Kevin Pettersen
Founder, Black Fox Flour