In the past I’ve talked about my search for a Perkins pancake copyright recipe. This seems to be a popular topic, because it apparently drives a lot of traffic to my blog.
I haven’t tried making pancakes from scratch in quite a while, but as you know if you’ve read my past posts on the subject, my experiments never bore a lot of fruit. Frankly if I’m going to the trouble of making pancakes, doing it from scratch is a lot more effort than I want to put into it. But I had a thought recently that might make it worth experimenting again.
If you Google hard on this subject, you’ll find a post from years ago in which a former Perkins manager says that the only things they use in their pancakes are flour, buttermilk, eggs, and oil. The flour mix is proprietary, and that seems to be where the real magic happens. Obviously that’s going to include your basic wheat flour—some variety, whether it’s all-purpose, cake, or what have you—and either baking powder or baking soda; given the flavor of the pancakes I’m guessing they use baking powder to keep a slight acidity from the buttermilk. The manager also said that the pancakes needed to be flipped before bubbling on the surface, and proper doneness was a tricky technique to master.
In my experiments I knew I had to replicate a sense of sweetness, and so I went with other pancake recipes I’ve seen that include a little bit of sugar. But the sugar never seemed to work right: It made the pancakes too sweet, and not in the right way.
Recently it dawned on me that I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. The subtle sweetness in Perkins pancakes can’t come from sugar—or at least not from very much of it. No! It’s probably from a naturally sweeter flour, such as oat flour. Oat flour makes so much more sense! It doesn’t produce gluten in any realistic quantities which would explain their signature thinness, and it should lend a very slight sweet note to the final product.
So the next time I try to replicate Perkins pancakes, I’m going to start from a basic pancake recipe that uses no sugar, and cut the all-purpose flour 1:1 with oat flour. That should be a good starting point for my next try. And rather than use the buttermilk powder (mine is expired), I’m just going to go the lazy route and add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice per cup of milk; it’s not the same but it should be easier for experimenting.
On a similar note, I’ve recently taken to making Bisquick pancakes—my go-to—differently. On their box you’ll notice two recipes, one which is rather basic and another that’s fluffier and includes lemon juice, vanilla, extra baking powder, sugar, and oil. I’ve met them in the middle by adding the lemon juice, baking powder, and oil, and also I’ve taken to letting the batter rest for 10-15 minutes before cooking, and cooking on only medium heat. The lemon juice gives the batter a consistency very similar to buttermilk batter, and the extra rise is very important to me.
Also related to the subject of Perkins pancakes, I was thinking recently how I’d like my lair to have a vending machine that would cook and dispense sliders of grilled cheese, bacon cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, etc. That’d be an awesome machine to have. But then I thought: No, screw that. I’m installing a 24/7 Perkins in my lair. I used to enjoy their lunches, because back when you could eat there at any time you didn’t have to just order the magnificent pancakes.