Pancakes for breakfast. Just saying it conjures up memories of lazy weekend mornings, with warm syrup and a warm mug in your hand. And holidays past, when having visitors meant making something a little more special than a bowl of cereal.
How did cold cereal take over our breakfasts, when making pancakes is so easy? I get it, I have no desire to make a cooked meal every morning, either. But once a week, why not?
The pancake is such a simple food, and a perfect food for fooling around with tasty Ancient grain flours. If you’ve been seeing nifty new packages of things like Einkorn and Khorasan flour, or sprouted flours, you might want to make their acquaintance. Ancient grains are making a big splash these days, as people investigate alternatives to the wheat “monoculture.” Most of us do just fine with standard, “club” wheat, as the typical hard red wheat is called, but some people are experimenting with other varieties to see if they agree with their systems better. Others are trying out these flours for their flavors and heritage status. Sprouted flours are going to continue to grow in popularity, because the sprouting process increases their nutrient content, reduces acidity, and eliminates some compounds to make all the good stuff more absorbable.
So what the heck are Einkorn and Khorasan wheats?
Einkorn is known as the oldest variety of wheat, and the wild variety still grows wild in the Fertile Crescent, where the real paleos enjoyed it so much that they started planting it, eventually domesticating it and selecting for plants whose seed heads didn’t shatter, making them easier to harvest. It’s genetically simpler than modern wheat, with fewer chromosomes. It’s also lower in the kind of gluten that is in regular wheat, so some wheat sensitive folks can tolerate it. It’s higher in the antioxidants lutein and Vitamin E than standard wheat. It’s also higher in protein, fat and phosphorus.
Khorasan, also known as Kamut, is also ancient, and has some good origin stories, including the one where it was found in the Tomb of King Tut and sprouted. Then there is the one where it was carried on Noah’s Ark. While we take these colorful tales with a grain of salt, I do love kamut. Like Einkorn, it is often a good alternative for folks who have trouble with wheat, and it is a nutritious whole grain. It’s higher in protein, fats, and some vitamins and minerals than standard wheat. It’s distinctive in that the grains are nearly double the size of wheat berries, with a golden color and buttery, sweet flavor.
Sweet Potato and Ancient Grain Pancakes with Maple
Makes 12 cakes
1/2 cup unbleached Einkorn flour
1/2 cup Sprouted Khorasan flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed sweet potato plus diced for garnish
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, flax seeds and non-dairy milk, and stir well. Let stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar, maple syrup and oil.
Place a cast iron skillet over medium heat, or heat a griddle. Turn the oven to 200 to hold the finished cakes, if desired. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Oil the skillet and use a 1/4 cup measure to portion batter into cakes, leaving room between them. If the batter seems thick, stir in a little non-dairy milk to make it spreadable. Cook the cakes for 2 minutes on the first side, until the batter is peppered with holes and the edges look firm. Flip the cakes, cooking for a couple of minutes. Flip again for another minute, to make sure it is all the way cooked through. Transfer to a plate or pan to hold in the oven and continue until all the cakes are done.
Serve with maple syrup, sweet potato dice and non-dairy yogurt, if desired.