How Alton Brown Upgraded His Classic Pancake Recipe With A Unique Mix

Just because a food is a classic doesn't mean it can't be improved. Such is the case with pancakes — at least according to Alton Brown. In an episode of the "Good Eats: Reloaded" reboot (via YouTube), the celebrity chef took to the kitchen to upgrade the pancake recipe he shared back in 2000. In the original recipe, Brown relies on traditional pancake ingredients like all-purpose flour and buttermilk, but his revamped version takes a different turn. Instead, he uses a combination of gluten-free flours and starches in addition to cornmeal.

The resulting pancakes are guaranteed to be light and fluffy, and it's all thanks to the gluten that's missing. Per King Arthur Baking Company, gluten is normally an important baking ingredient, but it's not always a friend to pancakes, and that's why it's so important not to overmix the batter. The more you mix the batter, the more gluten develops, and that will inevitably leave you with gluey rather than fluffy pancakes. Therefore, with gluten-free flour this mishap can be avoided entirely.

Alton Brown uses 3 different flours in his upgraded pancake recipe

To create his signature gluten-free flour, Alton Brown mixes together brown rice flour, white rice flour, and tapioca flour, while also adding in cornstarch, potato starch, nonfat dry milk powder, and xanthan gum. When this gluten-free flour mix is combined with cornmeal as well as baking soda, baking powder, lemon juice, milk, sugar, and butter, it makes for the perfect pancake batter.

Instead of adding it straight into the skillet, though, Brown's batter must rest beforehand for 30 minutes. "The resting period is critical because unlike regular wheat flour based batters, this one has rice flour and other starches that need more time to hydrate, so don't skip this or your pancakes will be crunchier than you want them," Brown shared in the episode (via YouTube). Just be sure to use this specific pancake batter within an hour. As Expert Home Tips explains, leavening ingredients like baking powder and baking soda are time sensitive, and you don't want your pancakes — whether they be Brown's or the traditional buttermilk ones — to come out flat.