A Pancake Party! – Join me for at Purity Ice Cream’s pancake house on Sunday, October 18 from 9 – 11 AM with pancake queen and author of The New Bread Basket, Amy Halloran. There will be a book signing and you can sample Amy’s favorite biscuits alongside Purity’s house-made jams. And of course, you can always dive into the whole menu for brunch!
Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 4.33.03 PM

© Allison Usavage
© Allison Usavage

Last winter I teamed up with Purity Ice Cream’s owner and dear friend, Heather Lane, to manifest one of the most glorious culinary projects … developing the menu for Purity’s spankin’ new pancake house. You know what this means, don’t you? We got to make and eat copious amounts and varying flavors of pancakes and fillings and toppings over and over and over and over again. And no, we didn’t get sick of tasting pancakes. Ever. Of course, we threw in some other tantalizing tests, like the “Wakey Wakey Eggs & Bacey Breakfast Sandwich” on Heather’s famous English Muffins.

© Allison Usavage
© Allison Usavage

When I started in the Purity kitchen, I didn’t consider myself a pancake queen by any stretch of the imagination. So, I had to find one who could advise me on the art of making a pancake. It didn’t take long. I had been musing on the perfect pancake flour with my local flour guru and baker, who finally said, “you know, you should really just talk to Amy Halloran.” Enter Amy.

IMG_1518photo by Ellie Markovitch
Photo by Ellie Markovitch
Photo by Ellie Markovitch

(Doesn’t she look so cute, and fun and enthusiastic!) Not only did Amy share advice on ingredient ratios and other tips (like how the Rumford brand of baking powder is the only way to go), she also sent me two whopping bags of her homemade pancake mix. I’ve never been a fan of pancake mix, but it’s a different story when it’s made with locally ground, supreme quality flour and a whole lotta love! Plus, whipping up pancakes on lazy Sunday mornings suddenly became a breeze.

Amy’s perspective on flour and flour creations is unique to the modern-day consumer. We’ve lost touch with traditional, wholesome grains, despite bread and other flour-based staples having served us as the “staff of life” for centuries. I asked Amy to share a little bit about her journey into the world of flour and what she’s discovered … and of course, her pancake mix (recipe below)!

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Photography provided by Amy Halloran

(Um, too cute.) “Five years ago I discovered the wild flavors of freshly ground flour, and my devotion to pancakes became an obsession. I dived, head and heart, into the flour bin. I started following this ingredient back to the field, and trying to figure out what made stone milled flour taste so much livelier than its supermarket cousins. Farmers, millers and bakers, showed me their work. I met researchers looking for grain varieties that work well in areas that haven’t grown bread wheat for a hundred years.”

“I also met food activists who are connecting growers and eaters, and working to reestablish the necessary tools for these staple crops, like mills and malt houses. I wrote for farming newspapers and foodie magazines about all of the people working to rebuild regional grain production, and eventually I wrote a book. Now, my book is here and I’m introducing people to THE NEW BREAD BASKET with cooking classes.”

“‘I love flour and I’m here to tell you why. Why I love it, and why you should love it, too,’ I say, serving little golden cakes without maple syrup. I want people to taste the flour, because stone ground whole grains have a screaming mound of flavor on their own.”

“Making pancakes and crepes, I share stories of farmers who are growing grains outside of the grain belts, and of the mills and millers who are making this food available to home and professional bakers.”

Photo by Ellie Markovitch

“I show people different grains and flour, and I talk about whole grain nutrition. I think that using all the parts of a grain – the bran, germ and endosperm, is crucial. Stone ground whole grains can have some of the germ and bran sifted off, but some of the germ and bran remain with the endosperm. White flour is only endosperm, and eating that alone can be hard on a body, making blood sugar spikes without the bran to slow down digestion.”

“I explain what I know about GMO’s and gluten. Grains have been our backbone crops for millennia, and that we are suddenly having trouble eating grains is confusing. I direct people to research that helps me understand grains, and some of the fears people have of them.”

“I feel like a flour ambassador! I’m very glad to campaign on behalf of grains and the people who are working so hard to bring home flavor and nutrition, and restore the culinary and cultural value of our staple crops.”

“Please, poke around and find some flour that comes from close to home, and try out these pancakes. Perhaps you’ll fall in love with this much-maligned ingredient, too.”

Clearly, I cannot wait to meet this culinary genius in person at long last! Please Join me at Purity Ice Cream’s pancake house on Sunday, October 18 from 9 – 11 AM with pancake queen and author of The New Bread Basket, Amy Halloran. There will be a book signing and you can sample Amy’s favorite biscuits alongside Purity’s house-made jams. And of course, you can always dive into the whole menu for brunch!

THE NEW BREAD BASKET
How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf (Chelsea Green, 2015)
Website AmyHalloran.net

 

The Ultimate Pancake Mix

Recipe by Amy Halloran, author of "The New Bread Basket"

This formula works well if you multiply ingredients to make the pancake mix, and store it in a tightly closed container in a cool, dark cabinet. My favorite flours to use are Red Fife, soft white and spelt. (White refers to the color of the bran; the flour is not sifted.)

Ingredients

    Pancake Mix
  • 1 cup freshly milled stone-ground flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 stick butter (sub with coconut oil)

Instructions

    Preparing the mix
  1. To prepare your pancake mix, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda thoroughly in a large bowl.
  2. Making the pancakes
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place a baking sheet in the oven.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of pancake mix, and the yogurt, milk and eggs. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flour, and especially the bran, to absorb the liquids.
  5. Using a ladle or large spoon, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter onto a hot buttered griddle, skillet or pan.
  6. Flip the pancakes when bubbles begin to break on the surface.
  7. Transfer the finished pancakes to the baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm until ready to serve.
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