Cook-off: Buttermilk pancakes – made from scratch, from a mix or frozen

Buttermilk pancakes from scratch
Recipe from: The Joy of Cooking

Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine in another bowl:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk*
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
(1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

Mix the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Ignore lumps. Rest the batter for 3-6 hours or longer before cooking.

Makes about sixteen 4-inch pancakes


* if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use these substitutions instead (makes 1 cup buttermilk):

Mix 3/4 cup whole fat plain yogurt + 1/4 cup milk
Mix 1 Tbsp lemon or vinegar +  1 cup whole milk and let stand for 10 minutes

Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake Mix – $3.19/box
Recipe from the back of the box

You will need:
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups pancake mix

Pour pancake mix into a mixing bowl. Add egg and milk (for extra tender pancakes add 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable oil). Stir with wire whisk until large lumps disappear. Let stand 1-2 minutes to thicken.

Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a greased skillet. Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown. Continue to cook for approximately 1 minute or until second side is golden brown.

Aunt Jemima Frozen Buttermilk Pancakes – $2.89/box
Keep frozen and reheat in a toaster, microwave or oven.  These pancakes were the easiest to prepare but there are only 12 pancakes in a box so you are definitely paying for convenience. Convenience or not, these pancakes tasted the worst out of the three.

My observations:
Although the frozen pancakes looked absolutely perfect, and were the easiest to make (reheat in a toaster, oven or microwave) they tasted the worst out of the three. They were the least fluffy and had a strange cardboard-like after taste.

Surprisingly, there were very little taste differences between the homemade buttermilk pancakes and the ones made from the mix. But the ones made with the mix had a fluffier texture than the ones made from scratch. What a huge upset! (This could be due to the fact that we prepared both batches the same morning and didn’t allow the homemade batter to rest for a recommended minimum of 3 hours). I am usually a big fan of having homemade win but in this case the pancake mix wins from a convenience standpoint.


Bottom Line:
It’s worth buying pancake mix for the convenience as it makes a great product and is one less thing to worry about first thing in the morning. It does cost slightly more but it saves the time and effort of having to measure out the dry ingredients. For people who don’t bake a lot, have all the ingredients on hand or have the time/patience to allow homemade pancake batter to rest for at least 3 hours, Aunt Jemima pancake mix is the way to go. Sometimes it’s worth paying more for the convenience.

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