At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Whole grain pancakes are griddle-cooked bread products made with some combination of whole grains, usually centering on whole wheat. They are most commonly served as a breakfast food. Most ordinary pancake recipes require only processed white flour. White flour creates fluffy confections, but is generally devoid of any nutritive benefit. Substituting some or all of the white flour for whole grains makes pancakes more substantive, as well as more healthful.
Medical professionals and health experts generally praise whole grain foods for the fiber and essential vitamins and minerals they contain. Whole grains come in many varieties. As such, there are many different types of whole grain pancakes. Most center on the use of whole wheat flour, often with the addition of other grains like oats, corn, and bulgar.
Grains are always grown whole, but common processing techniques tend to strip them of most of their character. Processed grains are smoother and often bake up more evenly, but have lost a lot of their inherent worth. In order to get a whole grain, the processing must be gentle and precise so as to cleanse and sort without stripping away.
Whole grains often taste nuttier, but are more wholesome when it comes to nutrition. Using any combination of these grains in pancakes can transform a basic breakfast staple into a power food that can get the day off to a healthy start. A whole grain diet is well regarded as being high in natural energy and can also help promote feelings of fullness.
Most whole grain pancakes start out with whole wheat flour. Then, other grains are added directly into the flour, usually ground or crushed so as to create something of a uniform powder. Cooks generally want their whole grain pancakes to resemble ordinary pancakes as closely as possible. When done well, it is often hard to tell the difference between a pancake made with only white flour and one made with whole grains. This is particularly true when a variety of grains appear in differing proportions, as each helps to balance the others out and no one flavor proves overwhelming.
Baking with whole grains exclusively can be a challenge, in part because the grains lack the elasticity and airiness of more refined flours. It is not uncommon for cooks to add some white flour into their whole grain recipes to help improve the texture and overall taste. Many whole grain products are made with a combination of whole and refined flours for exactly this purpose. Unless a product claims to be 100 percent whole grain, some mixing is acceptable.
Aside from the composition of the dry ingredients, whole grain pancakes are usually quite comparable to ordinary pancakes. Most include milk, eggs, and butter or some comparable fat. All ingredients are mixed into a frothy batter, then poured over a hot griddle or skillet to cook. Cooking with whole grains can often take a bit longer, which is particularly true with whole grain pancakes. Owing to their density, whole grain cakes often take a few minutes longer per side than would versions made exclusively with white flour.
Whole grain pancakes can be eaten on their own, but are more commonly served with a variety of toppings. Maple syrup is a traditional choice, though any combination of fruits and fruit compotes is also common. Health-conscious cooks may elect to serve their pancakes with a selection of yogurts, as well.