Back here I wrote about using hops as a seasoning for fried chicken. Well, in combination with some ideas I heard the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton talking about, it got me thinking about how I could use malt in a recipe. Mark Dredge has since used pale malt in a really cool way, enhancing the texture and flavour of a cookie, but my idea was driven more by the technique that’s used with malt for brewing beer - mashing. When you mash malted barely to make beer, you combine it with water at a very specific temperature in order to produce a thick porridge. Over time, the natural starches within the grains are converted to sugar by enzymes (also found naturally within the grain) and are dissolved into the liquid. The resulting sugary water is known as wort. This wort is usually then seasoned with hops and fermented with brewing yeast to make beer.
So what if you take milk and heat it to a very specific temperature, let’s say 67C, and then combine it with a small amount of pale and crystal malted barley? Leave it for an hour in a warm place and then strain off the grain with a sieve. The milky wort could then be used with egg, butter, baking powder and flour to make pancake batter. No?
That’s exactly what I did, and it worked really well. This recipe acts as a good base but you only need it as a guide. I left the sugar out and relied on the malt to provide all the sweetness, I multiplied the ingredients by 1.5 and used 20g pale malt and 10g crystal malt.
The sweetness from the grain replaced the sugar and added biscuity and caramel notes that you wouldn’t ordinarily get. The pancakes felt denser, richer and smoother than when I’ve made this recipe before; served with bacon and maple syrup they were absolutely delicious.
A cool way to get some of the flavours usually associated with beer into your food, using both a brewing ingredient and a brewing process. This is a technique that I plan to use on more recipes in the future, but what beer would you use to pair with these pancakes?
Full Recipe (makes 7 large pancakes) 200g plain flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt, 200ml milk, 2 medium eggs (beaten), 2 tbsp melted butter, 20g pale malt, 10g crystal malt.
Heat the milk to 67C in a heavy saucepan, stir the malt in really well. Wrap in a few towels or place in an oven that's been set to low for an hour. Remove (lauter) the grain from the milk using a fine sieve. Whisk the egg, butter, baking power, flour and salt into the milk mixture until smooth. Get a heavy-bottomed pan hot and oiled, pour a ladle of the mixture into the pan and leave alone until bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pancake once and leave for a further minute or two. Sorted.