Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yeast raised hotcakes for camp

This recipe looks forward to spring and summer when campers head outdoors. It began as another blog post, one prepared in my home kitchen. As I mixed the batter last night, my thoughts carried me to our camp kitchen at Upper Blue Lake last September. Why not offer the recipe for the camp kitchen?

"Yeasted pancakes ... have a bubbly texture and a clean, slightly earthy (from the cinnamon) flavor that I can't resist," promises Daniel Leader. "It is easy to make this batter just before bedtime, so that it is ready for the griddle when you are the next morning." He wrote Simply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America's Premier Artisan Baker (The Tauton Press: Newtown, Conn., 2011) with Lauren Chattman.

Other than to slightly adjust the quantity of the flour and modify the instructions, the recipe remains true to Leader's original. Even though I tested the recipe for yeast raised hotcakes at home, it can be quickly assembled in camp.
Mix the dry ingredients in a zipper top bag, expel excess air and you're ready to travel. The only other task is to make sure you pack buttermilk, honey, butter, eggs and vanilla. While you can measure precise quantities for the wet ingredients, I pack them in their original containers so they can used for other dishes.

As Leader explains, mix the dry and wet ingredients (except eggs and vanilla) on the evening before your hotcake feast. After "kneading" with a wire whisk, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set inside the cooler. The yeast will work through the night, giving the batter a sour edge. 

Light the campfire first thing in the morning. As the campfire burns, mix the eggs and vanilla into the batter and set aside. Cook the hotcakes on the griddle when the fire is ready. Have the butter and hot syrup ready so your hungry campers can begin eating as each hotcake comes off the griddle.

Oat hotcakes on the griddle last September at Upper Blue Lake Campground in Eldorado National Forest.

While I haven't tested the recipe for larger groups, I see no reason why doubling it won't give you the same wonderful results.
Dry ingredients (mix at home):
12 ounces all-purpose flour (2-1/2 cups)
2-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wet ingredients (prepare in camp):
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

At home. Measure or weigh flour, yeast, salt and cinnamon in to a zipper top bag or other container. Pack the buttermilk, honey, butter, eggs and vanilla.

In camp, during the evening before breakfast. Pour dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir in buttermilk, honey and butter. Slowly whisk to moisten

ingredients. Continue whisking for about two minutes until batter is smooth, about 250 strokes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the cooler overnight, taking care so it doesn't spill.

In camp, on the day of breakfast. Light a campfire and burn until you have a bed of hot coals. When coals are ready, spread under a lightly greased cast iron skillet or griddle and heat just until it smokes. (Hotcakes can be cooked over a campstove if desired.)

Stir eggs and vanilla into batter. For each hotcake, pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot greased griddle or skillet. Turn when the surface of each hotcake is bubbly and edges are slightly dry. Cook until golden brown.

Serve immediately. Dish hotcakes directly onto the plates of hungry campers. Serve with butter and brown sugar syrup (recipe follows). Makes 15 to 16 hotcakes.


Some things are just too easy to make at home, including hotcakes and brown sugar syrup. I figure, why buy the bottled stuff when you can easily produce quality syrup at home.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugars, corn syrup and water to a boil. Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer until thickened to a syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter. Let cool slightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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