We have our milk delivered from a local dairy – one gallon every Wednesday morning. It’s just a little touch of nostalgia that makes my kitschy housewife alter-ego so very happy. I love getting up in the morning, in my robe and slippers, and opening the milk box on the front porch to find that last week’s old, empty jar has been replaced with a new one. It reminds me of simpler times, of days when the milk delivery was possibly the highlight of the week. (At least in my case I would have been!) Maybe you had used the last bit of milk a few days earlier and were craving pudding or pancakes but had to make do with whatever you had until the milkman came around again. People were certainly more creative in the kitchen back before you could type the words “pancakes without milk” into Google. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” or so they say.
In addition to milk, the milkman (or woman, in our case) delivers other necessities: farm-fresh eggs, local cheeses, cookie dough, juice in the summer and eggnog around Christmastime… that is if I happen to remember to put out the order form the night before. I’m not sure how many places provide a milk delivery service these days, but when we moved back to Colorado and I found out it was still being offered here (from the same dairy my mother used when I was growing up!) I knew I had to sign up.
Now, we don’t often use an entire gallon of milk in a week, so it ends up piling up in the fridge until I sort through the stack of papers on my desk to find that order form so that I can cancel the next delivery. This usually happens on Tuesday night, around midnight. I will have already gone to bed and be drifting off when I suddenly realize that in the morning there will be another jar of milk by the door which I will have to fit into the rotation. So, drowsily, I plod into the office and start sifting through the papers to find the form, all the while imagining that I hear the rumble of the truck turning down our deserted street. This week, however, I thought I would get ahead of the game for once, canceling the milk delivery early, as we still had over half a gallon left in the fridge. Then I decided to make waffles on Saturday morning and little custard tart that evening for dessert, and, as fate would have it, when I woke up Sunday morning craving pancakes, I realized there was only a tiny bit of milk left in the bottom of the jug. Fortunately pancakes can be made with just about anything. Yogurt is an especially good alternative to milk. And it makes the fluffiest, most cloud-like pancakes ever.
This recipe calls for plain yogurt, but if you’re like me and almost never keep plain yogurt in the fridge you can use vanilla flavoured yogurt. Just decrease the sugar a bit in the recipe. Also, the yogurt should be thinned out with either water or, if you have it, a little milk.
12 oz. plain yogurt
2 cups flour
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (dairy, almond, soy or rice) or water
butter for the pan
Preheat a large pan or griddle over medium heat.
Whisk together the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until blended. The batter will be very stiff at this point. Pour in enough water or milk to make a thick but smooth batter. Depending on the weather and the humidity in your house, this might be the entire 2/3 cup, or it may be slightly less.
Place approximately 2 teaspoons of butter on the hot griddle or pan. It should sizzle and melt immediately. Ladle in the batter to make rounds that are about three inches in diameter. Turn the heat to medium-low. Watch the pancakes carefully. I’ve found these made with yogurt tend to burn more easily than those made with milk. Normally, you would look for bubbles to form in the batter as a sign to flip, however, these start rising so quickly that I’ve found that’s not a very reliable indicator of when they are done on one side. I simple lift of the edge of a pancake with the spatula and peek underneath. If the pancake is golden brown and crisp, flip and cook until the other side is just as golden. Remove from the pan and serve immediately or keep warm in the oven on the very lowest setting until ready to serve. Add another pat of butter to the pan and repeat with the remaining batter.