Pancakes may be humankind’s finest invention. Whoever first said, “Hey I know! Let’s just pour beautiful cake batter onto a buttery hot skillet and see what happens!” deserves the highest honors society can bestow. I’ve been a persistent and enthusiastic pancake lover since before the age of concrete memories, but once I reached (supposedly mature) adulthood, I had to face facts: those glorious stacks of simple carbohydrates drowned in rich fats and liquid sugar are no friend to the waistline. And so I leaped into the land of multigrain pancakes, politely known as usually pathetic attempts to healthify America’s favorite breakfast treat while pretending they aren’t. Readers, I have regrets.
Pancakes were the main yet not sole vehicle that taught me that, when it comes to eating healthy and carb-laden, attempts to have your cake and eat it too are mostly disastrous and disgusting. Like that time in 2009 when I made a “healthy” red velvet cake with whole wheat flour, yogurt, and beets. BEETS! It’s 2020, there’s a pandemic raging, and I’m still scarred by it. It’s nearly impossible to make a “healthy” brownie stuffed with things like avocados and flax seeds and chickpea cooking liquid taste like a rich, decadent, normal brownie chock full of dark chocolate and melted butter. For the record, I have zero issues with substitutions for accommodating food allergies and dietary restrictions. I own a box of gluten-free cup-for-cup flour for the celiac people in my life, I use good vegetable shortening for loved ones with a dairy intolerance, and I make a mean veggie-based meatball for my vegan friends. I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about wanting to have it both ways for purposes of self-delusion, that of thinking it’s possible to make cookies into a health food. And while I haven’t yet fully explored my inner psyche’s reasoning behind it, just let me assure you: I have a magnificent disdain for Healthified Treats. Whatever the specifics, I’m happy to own this bit of shit. It’s been years since I firmly decided to operate within a harsh dichotomy of either eating healthy for real or enjoying an occasional decadent treat without apology. Moderation and terra pax and so forth, amen.
I’ve tried many multigrain pancake recipes over the years, including the ones from reputable recipe developers, and all they ever accomplished was furthering my resolve to eat only proper, fluffy, white floured, buttermilk pancakes drowned in maple syrup, just less often. And now, here comes the cliche: despite all my soap boxy indignance, I broke down and tried Huckleberry’s recipe for multigrain pancakes, and… I actually like them. I know. But the sad predictability doesn’t make it any less true.
Multigrain pancakes are usually bland, flat, dense, and hopelessly gritty. They lack enough sugar to taste like a traditional sweet pancake, but have too much sugar to be properly savory; so obviously a wannabe pancake with no real identity, just a pitiful but arrogant attempt to be accepted by the cool kids. Huckleberry’s pancakes, which I only slightly adapted, are the pinnacle of everything you hoped multigrain pancakes could be. They are fluffy despite the small amount of all-purpose flour. They are heartier and slightly earthier than a typical white buttermilk pancake, but in a pleasant filling way that won’t weigh you down or conjure thoughts of sawdust caking your molars. They are slightly less sweet than a traditional buttermilk stack, but by no means savory. Maple syrup is still welcome, don’t worry. You’ll be delighted to find no denseness, no dryness, no unpleasant grit. These lovely pancakes are not trying to be anything other than what they are: actually delicious yet unapologetically multigrain pancakes.
Multigrain Pancakes Actually Worth Eating
- ½ cup plus 2 tbs cornmeal
- ⅓ cup rye flour
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup oat flour
- 4 tsp rolled oats
- 2 tsp wheat germ
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the griddle
- 2 large eggs
- Place the cornmeal, rye flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, rolled oats, wheat germ, poppy seeds, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to combine. Don’t get fussy here - lumps are okay, and always remember that if you overwork your pancake batter, your pancakes turn out tough and dry, and nobody wants that.
- Let the batter rest while you preheat your griddle. About 5 minutes before you’re ready to make the pancakes, preheat your griddle over medium heat. The griddle is ready when a few droplets of water sizzle and dance across its surface.
- Brush some of your reserved melted butter all over the griddle. Drop the batter onto the griddle in roughly ¼-cup amount per pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, quickly flip it and cook about 1-2 minutes longer. Use a toothpick as a cake tester to make sure each pancake is cooked through. Work in batches as necessary.
- Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.