Bohemian Yeasted Pancakes
Bohemian Yeasted Pancakes
When you dream about pancakes, I hope you picture fluffy, tender pillows, with crisp edges and golden-brown sides, maybe sitting in a pool of maple syrup, or topped with yogurt and fresh fruit. Like these, made from a recipe by my Czech grandmother. She was old school and used yeast (instead of baking powder) for proofing, which helps with the lightness of the pancakes. I remember sitting in her kitchen as a boy, and stuffing my face with them as they came off the griddle.
The recipe isn’t complicated, but takes a little extra time—egg whites get whipped to ensure that fluffy texture, and then the yeast does its magic for 20 minutes—but the upside is an otherworldly light texture. You can also make the batter, put it in the fridge, and use it as you please, because it lasts for a few days, and even improves its flavor.
My grandma simply dressed them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, which is so delicious. The other option is to drop a dollop of crème fraiche or Greek yogurt on top, add some smashed berries on top, and sprinkle powdered sugar all over. Maple syrup is obviously also great.
- Yields about 28-30 3-inch or 12-15 6-inch pancakes
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Topping options:
- 2 cups fresh berries, such as blueberries or strawberries
- White yogurt
- Crème fraiche
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- Melted Butter
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, salt and yeast. Break the eggs and separate them into yolks and egg whites. Beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and mix them into the flour mixture. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- With a mixer, beat the egg whites and the sugar into stiff peaks, and carefully fold them into the rested batter. (If you’re not going to make the pancakes right away, you can refrigerate the batter at this point, for up to 3 days).
- Lightly grease a pancake pan, nonstick skillet or griddle with the vegetable oil, and heat it over medium-low heat.
- Depending on your preferred pancake size, use a tablespoon or a ¼ cup as a measure to drop the batter into the skillet or griddle. Leave a room in between for the batter to expand. If using a pancake pan, fill it half-way through.
- Cook for about a minute or two, until tiny bubbles appear on the surface, and the bottom is golden brown. Carefully flip and cook for another minute. Continue until you use all the batter. Serve the pancakes as you cook them or place them on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven.
- Berries topping: Smash the berries in a small bowl with a fork, and stir in some sugar or maple syrup. Top each pancake with a spoon or two of yogurt, or crème fraiche, and top with smashed berries. Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the pancakes.
- Cinnamon/sugar topping: Mix ½ cup granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a bowl or soup plate, and dip each side of a warm pancake in melted butter, then in the sugar mixture, shaking any excess of sugar.