You can certainly buy commercially made pancake mix, to keep at home, or to take when camping, to quickly make a batch of pancakes when desired. But with just a handful of ingredients and not much time, you can easily whisk up your own.
My version blends together all-purpose flour, instant skim milk powder, baking powder, granulated sugar and a touch of salt.
Skim milk powder is added to the mix to replace the regular milk often called for in pancake recipes — fresh milk being something one might not want to bring when camping, for example.
Skim milk powder is sold at grocery stores and has been available for many decades. It’s a product created when water is removed from pasteurized nonfat milk resulting in, as its name suggests, a powdery substance that can be stored at room temperature.
Baking powder is the leavener that will make the pancakes puff up and rise when you cook them. It’s made with baking soda, a drying agent, usually, and an acid, cream of tartar. With that built in acidic ingredient, unlike when using only baking soda, which is pure sodium bicarbonate, it does not require an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or lemon, to activate it.
To make pancake batter with my mix, you put it in a bowl and mix in some water and two beaten eggs. The eggs add richness to the pancakes, but if you don’t want to use them, in my recipe I’ve also provided an option to only use water in the batter.
Once the batter is made, you let it rest a few minutes, before ladling it onto a hot pan and turning it into lovely golden pancakes.
My recipe yields a scant 3 1/2 cups of pancake mix, that when turned into batter will make 12 to 14, four- to five-inch round pancakes. If desired, my recipe for the pancake mix could be doubled or furthered expanded. If you do that, just remember a scant 3 1/2 cups of it, and the wet ingredients noted in the recipe, will be needed to make each batch of 12 to 14 pancakes.
Camping or Pantry Pancake Mix
Here’s a recipe for pancake mix that you can quickly turn into pancake batter by mixing some wet ingredients. When cooked, you could serve the pancakes with maple syrup, butter, fruit such as berries and, if desired, a breakfast meat, such as bacon.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: About four to five minutes (per batch of pancakes)
Makes: 12 to 14 (four- to five-inch round) pancakes
For the pancake mix:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant skim milk powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
To make pancakes:
2 large eggs (see Eric’s options)
1 1/2 cups water
• butter or vegetable oil or cooking spray, for cooking
To make pancake mix, place flour, milk powder, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer to a tight-sealing container or zip-lock bag and store in your pantry until ready to make pancakes at home or to pack and take with you when camping.
To make pancakes with the mix, place eggs in a bowl and beat well. Now mix in the water. Add the pancake mix and stir until a smooth batter forms. Let the batter rest five minutes to relax the gluten in the flour, and then gently stir again.
If cooking the pancakes at home, preheat a non-stick, electric griddle to 350 F, or set a large non-stick skillet or cast iron griddle over medium heat. If cooking at a campsite, set a large non-stick skillet or cast iron griddle over medium heat on a camp stove or on a grill set over a low fire.
In either case, when the griddle or skillet is hot, lightly butter or oil the cooking surface. Cook the pancakes, in batches, by pouring on the batter in four- to five-inch rounds, leaving a two-inch space between each pancake. Flip the pancakes when many bubbles appear on the surface. Cook for one minute more, or until the centres of the pancakes spring back when gently touched.
Eric’s options: If you don’t want to use eggs, increase the water used to 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp.
Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.