Make Your Own Multigrain (Gluten-Free!) Pancake Mix for Your Family
I went gluten-free a few years ago after determining that I’d developed an intolerance/allergy. (I can eat wheat as long as I don’t mind being itchy and covered in eczema. I gave up wheat.) It didn’t take long to learn that most “wheat substitute” products are expensive and often don’t taste all that good, and so I’ve mostly adapted my diet to simply forego those empty starches and eat more fruits and veggies, instead.
But pancakes… well, “pancakes” are synonymous with “weekend” for my family. And while I didn’t mind making them for everyone else and then just eating something else, the kids objected. Mama needs pancakes, too! At their urging, we began the Great Pancake Experimentation. You could’ve called me Goldilocks—boxed mixes seemed bland, and my early attempts to concoct a palatable blend were often gloopy failures. I was in search of “just right.”
Eventually I stumbled upon this recipe from Whole Foods for pancake mix, and somehow I managed to tinker with it (my mix uses chia instead of flax) until it yielded a perfect gluten-free mixture that results in hearty-yet-fluffy pancakes every single time. I keep a gallon bag of the dry mix in the freezer. The best part? Although the kids happily gobble them up like “regular” pancakes, these ones are high in fiber and protein, as well as being gluten-free. [Disclaimer: I do not have Celiac, and some people with Celiac cannot tolerate oats. This recipe contains both rolled oats and oat bran---both of which can be purchased in certified gluten-free forms---but obviously proceed with caution if oats are a problem.]
Dry Mix Ingredients for Multigrain and Gluten-Free Pancake Mix
3 cups Gluten-Free Bisquick Mix (that’s one entire 16 oz. box) [If you have no need for your pancakes to be gluten-free, you can use regular flour here.]
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats [see note above about Celiac and oats]
1 cup oat bran [see note above about Celiac and oats]
1 cup chia seeds (I buy these in bulk, and they come in both black and white; black is cheaper, but if black seeds in your pancakes will bother you, buy white)
1 cup unflavored whey protein powder
2/3 cup almond meal
3 TBL baking powder
1 TBL baking soda
2 tsp salt
Dump all of the ingredients into a gallon-size zip-top bag. Zip it up and give it to your children to throw around until all of the ingredients are well-mixed. (Or just kind of turn it over and over on your kitchen counter until everything is incorporated evenly. Either way.) This mix can now be kept in your freezer for… I have no idea how long, really, because we use ours every week and it only lasts a month or two before I need to make more.
Creating Your Batter
The guide for mixing up your batter is that each cup of dry mix is going to need one egg, one tablespoon of the oil of your choice (I like coconut oil), and about 3/4 of a cup of liquid. This is just a starting point. If I’m making “straight pancakes,” I’ll do the egg, oil, and finish it with buttermilk until the mix is the right consistency. But if we have sad-looking bananas I might mix those in with the liquid, add cinnamon, then adjust the liquid as needed. Grated apples and ginger are a favorite for us, too. If we’ve had lasagna and I have leftover ricotta in the fridge? Into the mix it goes with lemon juice (and extra liquid to smooth out the batter). The good news about a dry mix like this is that it’s just about bulletproof, and “add liquid until it looks like pancake batter” is hard to mess up. If you do—suddenly you realize your batter is far too thin—just add more dry mix. Problem solved!
Cooking and Notes
I use an electric griddle so that I can control the temperature and make eight pancakes at once. This means I cook ‘em at 325 and pour the batter by ladlefuls until the cakes are the size I want. If cooking on a regular stovetop, you may need to play around with the heat/pan size/cake size to figure out what works best for you. Also note that if you add fruit or another semi-solid like ricotta, you may wish to turn down the heat a little (I go down to 300) so that you can cook the pancakes a bit longer, lest they end up mushy. One cup of mix usually yields around 10-12 pancakes for us.
If you’ve never cooked with chia before, the good news is that it doesn’t taste like anything. Congratulations, you just added a bunch of nutrition to your pancakes! Be aware, though, that chia seeds will morph into gel if left in liquid for long enough. Therefore, do not mix up the wet batter for later use—use it right away, before the seeds have time to break down.
These pancakes can absolutely be made vegan by substituting a different protein powder, using the egg replacer of your choice, and a non-animal-derived milk (we use almond milk sometimes and they still taste great). I’m still putting real butter on mine, though. (Mmmmm… butter.)
One last thing: the cooked pancakes freeze well and can be popped into the toaster oven or microwave for breakfast-in-a-minute. Your kids will think you’ve gone soft, but a couple of these puppies will give them way more protein than a bowl of cereal.