Ratio: Variations on the Theme of Pancakes I

I'm participating in the Ratio Challenges this year, hosted by Seattlejo of Fat and Crafty. Every two months, we experiment with a different ratio from Michael Ruhlman's book: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.

Seattlejo wrote:

The basic ratio for pancakes is:
  • 2 parts flour
  • 2 parts liquid
  • 1 part egg
  • 1/2 part fat
For every 5 oz of flour add 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar.

(This was taken from the story in Chow.)

Think of the flours you can use, different liquids, savory versus sweet, how big of a batch , how small of a batch can you make?

Go forth and make pancakes!

In the interview at Chow, Ruhlman notes that a large egg is approximately 2 ounces. My husband and I usually figure one egg per person (also recommended by Ruhlman in the same interview) if the batch is to be the main portion of the meal.

I sat, staring at my screen. This was a completely new way of thinking about recipes for me. What could I do with what I have in the pantry? What flours and fats should I use? How will the different protein counts of the various flours affect the final product?

Let's find out. All of the ratios I came up with were figured off of the original pancake ratio; no fritters yet. All of them mix the wet and dry ingredients together separately before combining both, then frying over moderate heat until golden brown and delicious.

I came up with four ratios to try off the bat. I never attempted to make more than enough for two because, well, we don't have a dog or kids to justify a larger batch. I did, however, find that a batch made from two eggs made about a dozen pancakes -- enough for four! I cut the ratios down to 1-egg ratios after the first experiment because two eggs' worth is just too much.

I also found that up to 1/2 cup of water could be necessary to thin it to a pancake batter consistency, depending on the ingredients I chose. Perhaps I was going with liquids that were too dense.

I'm only posting one today, but the next three will be featured over the course of February. (And in March, a whole new ratio will be selected.)

The first ratio incorporates my husband's love of three things: rye, beer and honey. Stouts always seem to be described as creamy, particularly the foam, so I used cream for the other half of the liquid. I sprinkled toasted walnut pieces over the cakes to add some crunch to this grown-up griddlecake.

Creamy Stout Rye Pancakes

Creamy Stout Rye Pancakes [printable recipe]

  • 2 oz rye flour
  • 3 oz whole wheat flour
  • 3 oz cake flour
  • 4 oz stout beer, like Beamish Irish Stout
  • 4 oz whipping cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl, combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add wet to dry and stir well. Add water to thin if desired. Heat a lightly oiled pan over moderate heat and fry until golden.


These came out beautifully with a light beer flavor. We topped them with drizzled honey and had them for lunch. This ratio made a dozen 4" pancakes -- more than enough for two, plenty for three or four. This batter came out too thick for my taste and needed 1/2 cup of water.