Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegan Rice Flour Pancakes - Gluten Free

Finally, a gluten free recipe that has only one flour! I'd consider making all of my baking gluten-free if the recipes didn't always ask for a blend expensive flours. It's quite taxing on the wallet to replace the wheat flour, the economical choice, in every recipe with a mix of three of the following: tapioca, rice, garbanzo, potato, soy, corn, almond, sorghum, millet, and quinoa flours. Not to mention their respective meals and starches. Only in my fantasy kitchen are all these ingredients sitting, patiently waiting to be used and with experimented.

These reliable pancakes only ask for white rice flour, and I'd bet that the recipe is flexible enough to use brown rice flour instead if desired.

Along with the perfect ratio of alternative flours, gluten free baked products are commonly held together with a touch of xanthan gum to go the gluten's job of binding and providing elasticity. Unfortunately, at $12/8oz bag, xanthan gum is something I have not had the luxury of baking with. And I don't want the absence of this one ingredient to discourage you from breaking the all-purpose habit even now and then. So these cuties are bound with tofu and banana, with none of the taste.

The secret to these pretty pancakes is to let the batter chill overnight. I'm sure a few hours would suffice to, but not many people are awake and functional a few hours before they want to eat pancakes. So the night before, mix everything together to form the batter. And the next morning, all you have to go is heat up the griddle and get flippin'!

That is amazing thing about these pancakes: they look and taste like normal, all-purpose flour, gluten-full pancakes. I would have never guessed that they had banana, tofu, coconut milk, even oats. The cake cooked up very uniformly and evenly. While semisweet on their own, they beg to be pampered with maple syrup, fruit, and whipped nondairy cream. And I wouldn't be one to stop you from tossing in the batter a half a cup of vegan chocolate chips either.

Always remember the rules of perfect pancake making:
1. If there is wheat flour in the batter, be careful not to overmix. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and stop when they are just mixed. Overmixing will result in rubbery cakes. Fortunately, with a gluten free recipe this problem is completely avoided, because there is no gluten that can get overdeveloped.
2. Add enough liquid to get the batter to the just pourable consistency. Insert a spoon and remove it; the batter should nicely coat the back of the spoon. If it is too thick or looks solid, slowly add more water.
3. Let the batter chill overnight. This lets the flour get well-hydrated.
4. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to quickly drop and spread cakes into perfect circles.
5. Flip pancakes only once. When bottom is done, flip to cook other side, there is no going back.
6. Do not press cakes with the back of your spatula. I have no idea why this is feels so instinctive to us humans. The air created from the baking soda and vinegar needs to stay in there to create a fluffy pancake, so no pushing it out.
Now you're ready to go!

Gluten Free Pancakes
Yields a generous dozen 5" cakes

1/2 block of silken tofu
1 very ripe banana
1 cup water, plus more as needed
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 cups white rice flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup walnut pieces, optional

In a high-spend blender, mix tofu, banana, water, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, and vinegar until smooth. In a large bowl mix the flour, oats, and baking soda. Pour blender mix into dry ingredients and incorporate well to get an even batter. If too thick, add more water. Fold in walnut pieces.Let chill overnight. Batter will thicken up again, so the next morning add more water to get it that just-pourable consistency.

Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter into even circle on a hot griddle (400F). When edges begin to dry, flip and cook until bottom is golden. As much as you may be tempted to, do not press down on the pancakes, and only cook each side once. Serve immediately with maple syrup.


  1. That's also what keeps me from GF-baking. I like the texture GF baked goods, but it sounds like a pain in the ass. Those sound easy and look yummy!

  2. Thanks, and yes these are so easy! I agree, the texture of wheatfree baking has a lot of good character.

  3. Great panake making tips! I always wondered why people said to not overmix the batter, but never really knew why. These sound and look amazing! I'll be trying these for sure. :o)

  4. Thanks! Be sure to let us know how they come out :)