Over the weekend, I said goodbye to my electric griddle, a gadget I’ve had for over a decade, one I’ve loved and hated over the years for various reasons: loved for its large, flat surface and, um, well, that’s really it.
My electric griddle is big and cumbersome, awkward to find space to both use and stow. For 10 years I’ve used it solely for pancakes, which has been reason enough to hang on to it because I find cooking pancakes in skillets tricky — even in my largest skillet there isn’t enough space to maneuver a spatula around more than three pancakes.
But over the weekend, I finally thanked my griddle for its service then said sayonara. What sparked this civilized departure? It was the Baking Steel griddle, a slab of thick-gauge steel designed for both stovetop and in-oven use. Yes, this griddle doubles as a pizza Steel — it’s 10 lbs. heavier than the original Baking Steel, which means it will make your oven behave even more like a wood-fired hearth.
I have been experimenting with this gadget for several weeks now, making pancakes for the kiddos, breakfast tacos for Ben and me, and English muffins for us all. What I love is not only its versatility but its shape and design — it takes up no extra space to use because it sits on the stove top; it takes up little space when it’s stowed because it measures about 1/2-inch in thickness even when it’s tucked into its awesome storage sleeve.
The Baking Steel griddle’s uses extend far beyond the dishes I am showing here, however: check out Serious Eats’ Kenji Lopez-Alt’s exhaustive research in this post. Food and Wine was equally impressed.
The Baking Steel griddle is available for preorder now.
Before we get to the giveaway, let’s discuss these pancakes. Pancakes have never been my forte, but for about a year now, I’ve had success with the kitchn’s lofty buttermilk pancakes, which are delicious and relatively simple to make. The peculiar trick to making these pancakes is that you separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, then incorporate the yolks into the batter before the whites. The whites are never beaten. It’s odd but oddly it works — the pancakes never taste so good as when I follow the kitchn’s method.
That said, this method requires three bowls: one for the dry ingredients, one for the yolks, buttermilk, milk and butter, and one for the whites. This, for me, first thing in the morning is too many, and because I’ve found that when I use one bowl or three my children are none the wiser, I stick to one: I whisk the eggs directly into the dry ingredients as though I am making pasta, then add the milk and buttermilk, and finally the butter. Because I melt the butter in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave then transfer it directly to the dishwasher, I don’t consider it a dish — that’s fair, right?
These pancakes have become a family fave and, with the griddle on hand, a weekly staple. The batter makes enough for a ton of pancakes and stores just fine in the fridge…sure, it turns a little grey overnight, but again, the little ones don’t mind.
UPDATE: GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED: WINNER IS HOLLY DART. CONGRATS, HOLLY! The team at Baking Steel is generously giving away a Baking Steel griddle to one of you. Please leave a comment below if you would like to enter the giveaway. Tell me your favorite one-bowl dish. If you don’t have one, just say anything.
Thank you, Baking Steel!!
For this pancake batter, incorporate the eggs into the dry ingredients as though you are making pasta dough:
Then add the milk and buttermilk and finally the melted butter:
A pancake breakfast is a happy breakfast…
A taco breakfast is an even happier breakfast: Bacon crisped on the griddle, eggs cooked in the bacon fat, tortillas warmed on the side…
Top it all off with cheddar and salsa fresca.
I know it’s uncool to like flour tortillas, but they are my preference. I recently discovered these “soft corn tortillas” at Whole Foods, however, and I think I’ve found a happy medium: soft (not gummy) texture, nice corn flavor.
One-bowl Buttermilk Pancakes
Yield 18-20 three-inch pancakes
Adapted from the kitchn’s recipe for lofty buttermilk pancakes. The recipe below differs only by method not by ingredients. Check out the kitchn’s post if you want to try their egg-separating method — don’t worry, you don’t have to beat any whites! Their method produces a better final pancake but if you are feeling lazy, try this one-bowl method.
When cooking these pancakes on the Baking Steel griddle, I suggest heating your griddle before you begin making your batter. I have a flat-top cooking surface, and I have the best results warming the griddle up slowly over low to medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. If you have a gas range, you will be able to control the temperature better.
Finally, the best trick I’ve learned for cooking pancakes is to go small — I use my 2-tablespoon measuring cup to portion out batter. The pancakes cook quickly and evenly when I use this small scoop.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Canola or peanut oil for frying
- If using a Baking Steel griddle, begin warming it up over low heat.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat with a fork till the eggs are whisked and incorporated into the surrounding flour, as if you were making pasta. Add the buttermilk and milk, and stir with spatula to combine. Add the melted, cooled butter and stir until combined.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, film with a thin layer of oil. After about 30 seconds, when the oil shimmers but is not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and use a soup spoon (I have a one-eighth cup (2 T) measuring cup, which I love for pancakes) to drop in heaping spoonfuls of pancake batter. Note: If you are using a BS griddle, adjust heat so griddle radiates heat and feels hot but not smoking — this takes just a teensy bit of practice.
- The batter will spread into a pancake about 3 inches wide. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes. (If the pancake scorches or the oil smokes, lower the heat.) When the bubbles that form on the edges of the pancakes look dry and airy, use a thin spatula to gently lift one side and peek underneath. If the pancake is golden brown, flip and cook on the other side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown.
- Transfer to a cooling rack briefly before serving. Scrape any stray crumbs or scraps out of the skillet, add a little more oil, and continue to cook the remaining batter.
Recipe Notes from the kitchn: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use plain yogurt instead. Just use about 2/3 cup and thin it with some milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. You can also quickly make a buttermilk substitute by mixing 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar with 2 cups of milk.
English Muffin experiments: