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Pancakes without Buttermilk

These buttermilk pancakes are made without buttermilk but are just as light and fluffy and have that buttermilk flavor.

Instead of buttermilk this recipe makes a dairy free buttermilk so you have all the benefits of buttermilk but with dairy free buttermilk pancakes.

Pancakes stacked up on a plate

These dairy free buttermilk pancakes are made without buttermilk but you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Like with my buttermilk biscuits without buttermilk and Irish soda bread without buttermilk, instead of buttermilk, this recipe makes a dairy free buttermilk substitute.

If you don’t have any dairy free milk, you can try my pancakes without milk but they won’t have that buttermilk favor.

If you like these pancakes, you may also like my almond milk pancakes and my oat milk pancakes.

For something a little different, you may like my dairy free chocolate chip pancakes and my coconut milk pancakes.

Or for another classic pancake made dairy free, you may also enjoy my Dairy Free Banana Pancakes.

HISTORY OF PANCAKES

The Ancient Greeks made pancakes called tagenias which is derived from the Greek word for frying pan. 

They were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk, and were served for breakfast just as our American pancakes are served today.

They also had a spelt flour pancake staititas.  These pancakes were topped with honey, sesame, and cheese.

Over the centuries most countries all over the world created their own form of pancakes different ways to eat them. 

The French have crepes which can be sweet for dessert or savory for a meal, Ethiopains eat injera which is eaten like a flatbread and essential to meals, Uganda’s favor banana pancakes, the list goes on and on.

Unlike in many other countries, American pancakes are a type of quickbread. 

This means, unlike crepes, they use leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder to make them more cakey.

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What You Need

Dry measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Mixing bowl
Whisk
Ladle
Griddle Pan
Rubber spatula

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup. 

Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.

The one exception to this is brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be packed down, and then any excess should be scraped off as well.

DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP

Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups?  I used to.  I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup. 

After a quick search, I had my answer.  I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.

As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up. 

First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more. 

By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.

WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients

There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa: 

It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag. 

It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.

If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.

WHICH TYPE OF OIL TO USE

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, if preferred, a stronger flavored like coconut oil can be used. 

DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

The short answer is “no”.  While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.

What are Eggs used for?

Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.

EGG FREE OPTION

Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.  This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.

This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).

Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.

ARE EGGS DAIRY?

No, eggs are not dairy.  Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. 

So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.

Understanding Sugar

Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it in the past – so I’ll explain.

There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.

When a recipe (any recipe, not just mine) says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.

White Sugar

White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand, whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.

Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar”. But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”

Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.

The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.

In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea, but is also used for baking.

Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.

However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.

This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.

Caster Sugar

This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.

It has a grain finer than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.

You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.

This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.

In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar.

It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar

In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.

The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used.

Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.

In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.

In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.

Replacing Sugar with Honey

If you’d prefer to use honey instead of sugar, you can do so with pretty good results.

Honey can be two or even three times as sweet depending on the honey, so for every 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.

Since honey adds liquid, you need to remove some to balance it out.  For every cup of honey remove a 1/4 cup of liquid.

Also, it burns faster than granulated sugar, so you want to lower the baking temperature by 25 F or 4 C.  In addition, check it early and often to avoid burning or overbaking.

Types of Vanilla

Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids.

Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel. 

It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.

In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar, which is used for confections.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item.  It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract. 

You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla or vanilla essence, is made from synthetic vanilla. 

This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.

Can I use imitation vanilla?

Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa. 

However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.

Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well. 

So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.

BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA

I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder. 

I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should. 

Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.  

It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. 

When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.

Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic.  When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.

BAKING POWDER

Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.

The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.

The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat.  This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.

Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH

Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.  

Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.

WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?

You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.

Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder. 

That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.

A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.   

However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.

BAKING POWDER

Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time. 

For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.

While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.

HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD

BAKING POWDER

To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir.

If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.

BAKING SODA

To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.  

The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION

Gluten Free Flour

Substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose regular flour cup for cup.

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 

Buckwheat flour is easy to find compared to most other gluten-free flours, and it adds a nice earthy nutty taste. 

The downside is that it has a distinct flavor, so the change will be noticeable. 

It’s also darker, so the color won’t be the same. Substitute cup for cup.

RICE FLOUR

Rice flour can also be used and can be found in most Asian and health food stores. 

White rice flour has a mild flavor and doesn’t change the color of the muffin or quick bread. 

Since it doesn’t have much flavor, it’s best to use it with ingredients that do. Substitute cup for cup.

OAT FLOUR

Oat flour is made from whole oats that have been ground into a powder, which can easily be done at home.  

It gives more flavor and a chewier and crumblier texture than regular all-purpose flour.

Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 1/3 cup Oat Flour.  To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups of oats in a food processor until finely ground.

Note: oats must be marked gluten-free because they can get cross-contaminated in the factory.

DO PANCAKES HAVE DAIRY?

Yes, unless specifically stated otherwise, pancakes have contain dairy because they call for milk or buttermilk.

WHAT IS BUTTERMILK?

Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cultured cream. 

Traditionally, the milk was left to sit to allow the cream and milk to separate.

During this time, naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria in the milk fermented it. This facilitates the butter churning process.

Modern buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk, which ferments it, making it tangier and thicker than regular milk.

It is often used to make biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cakes.

While pancakes can be made dairy free, nearly all pancakes are made using milk and butter and are therefore dairy.

What is the difference between buttermilk pancakes and regular pancakes?

Regular pancakes call for milk where buttermilk pancakes call for buttermilk.

Why do pancakes have buttermilk?

The lactic acid in buttermilk makes pancakes fluffier and the crumb a little more tender. It also adds a nice flavor you won’t find in regular pancakes.

What can I use for pancakes instead of buttermilk?

The best replacement for buttermilk is a buttermilk substitute. This recipe makes a dairy free substitute.

CAN I MAKE A BUTTERMILK WITH ALMOND MILK?

Yes, you can make a buttermilk with almond milk.

CAN I MAKE A BUTTERMILK WITH SOY MILK?

Yes, you can make a buttermilk with soy milk.

CAN I MAKE A BUTTERMILK WITH OAT MILK?

Yes, you can make a buttermilk with oat milk.

WHICH DAIRY FREE MILK IS BEST FOR DAIRY FREE BUTTERMILK?

I think full fat neutral flavored oat milk makes the best dairy free buttermilk because it is the most similar to regular milk.

Yield: 8 pancakes

Pancakes without Buttermilk

Pancakes stacked up on a plate

These Dairy Free Pancakes are made without buttermilk. They are lightly, fluffy, and so good you won't notice that they are dairy free.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups full fat oat milk, almond milk, or soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine your dairy free milk of choice with vinegar or lemon juice to make dairy free buttermilk. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it begins to curdle slightly.
  2. In a mixing bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
  3. Pour in dairy free buttermilk. Add egg, oil, and vanilla. Mix to combine. The batter should be creamy and somewhat thick in consistency.
  4. Using a ladle pour the batter into a hot frying pan or griddle pan.
  5. Cook until you see the sides stiffening and small bubbles forming on them. Flip and cook for another minute or so, until the pancake has lightly browned. 
  6. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g

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