My best breakfast days are right after a grocery shop when the fridge is stocked with everything I need. This is shortly followed by the awkward days before my next shop, in which I Frankenstein meals together with random cabinet finds. It was during such an awkward day that I discovered pancake bread.
I wanted toast with my breakfast, but all I had was a box of just-add-water instant pancake mix. Sure, I could have made a pancake breakfast sandwich, but I didn’t want to stand next to the stove, flipping discs for 25 minutes. Pouring batter into a loaf pan and letting it cook on its own for 25 minutes sounded like a far better option. (Supposedly necessity is the mother of invention but I think laziness deserves some credit too.)
Pancake fans, you’re going to love this loaf. It has a concentrated, malty, buttermilk pancake flavour with the texture of a biscuit that’s shaking one hand with toast and the other with cake. The only thing you have to adjust is the amount of liquid in the batter. The average pancake batter is thin. It pools in an appealing circular shape in the frying pan while the leavening agent creates plenty of big holes, leading to a pleasantly spongy texture. Unfortunately, this thin batter is too weak to hold a loaf shape, and would likely collapse in the centre. To firm it up, just reduce the water, almost by half, to give it a consistency that’s close to fluffy cake batter, but not quite as stiff as muffin batter.
Butter a loaf pan, and line the bottom and two of the sides with parchment paper. Be sure to preheat your oven to 200°C before you start mixing because the batter will be ready in barely a moment. Whisk the dry ingredients with the water. The consistency should be thick enough to leave a trail for several seconds when you scrape a rubber spatula along the bottom, but not so stiff that it stands up. Pour it into the loaf pan, and bake. I used two cups of dry, boxed buttermilk pancake mix and three-quarters of a cup of cold water. This was enough batter for a medium-height, four-by-seven-inch loaf. For a taller loaf, double the measurements, and add twenty minutes to the baking time.
When it’s done, it’ll be well-risen, and lightly browned on the top and the sides. The loaf should spring back when you gently press the centre. My loaf also had an attractive crack along the top when it was finished. Slice it up and use it like any bread. The exposed interior crumb makes it perfect for eating with eggs and sausage gravy, or you can give it the French toast treatment and soak a few slices in a sweet egg custard before pan-frying. I enjoyed slathering a couple of planks with soft, salted butter and a low-fuss homemade compote.
Boxed Mix Pancake Loaf Bread
- 2 cups boxed complete pancake mix
- ¾ cup cold water
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
Whisk the dry mixture and the water together in a medium bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in a 200°C oven for 25 minutes, or until the top is browned and the loaf springs back when gently pressed in the centre.
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