100 Percent Whole-Wheat Pancakes
Why This Recipe Works
Most recipes for whole-wheat pancakes call for a mix of white and whole-wheat flours, and they also call for extra flavorings like spices, vanilla, fruit juice, or fruit. Why not just whole-wheat flour? We discovered that using all whole-wheat flour actually delivers light, fluffy, and tender pancakes—not the dense cakes you’d imagine—because whole-wheat flour contains slightly less gluten-forming protein than white flour and because the bran in whole-wheat flour cuts through any gluten strands that do form. Recipes for pancakes made with white flour advise undermixing to limit gluten development and thus avoid dense, tough pancakes, but with whole-wheat flour, gluten isn’t an issue, which all but guarantees light and tender cakes. And we didn’t see the need to cover up whole wheat’s natural flavor, the perfect complement to maple syrup, with other add-ins. As long as we used a bag of fresh or properly stored (in the freezer) whole-wheat flour, it had just the buttery, nutty flavor we wanted.