Once again, a guest post by Phil, my husband, best-friend, and labmate!  😉


This delicious recipe goes back to another era, back to Sunday Mass at St. Casimir’s  in Lansing MI, when I was 8 or 9 and each week mom and dad dragged us in our Sunday best to the 8 or 9 am mass, about which I most remember kneeling for extended periods with my head buried in my clasped hands on the pew, thinking about playing baseball or slot cars.   The only “redemption” from that experience was the batch of sour-milk pancakes  my mom often whipped up afterwards.   I liked them so much that after a while I began to help her, and eventually took over the Sunday morning cooking duties.   Since then I made these pancakes for my housemates, girlfriends, wife, siblings, sons and visitors to our home.    They are so simple that I never forgot them.  The key component is a now seldom-used or seen ingredient, sour milk.  In those days it was easy to come by, probably from less efficient pasteurization or fewer preservatives.   But, you can still let a quart of milk go sour, or you can buy a quart of buttermilk,  an adequate substitute.

Of course, I try to make them in a way that duplicates my mom’s,   and also my grandma’s and aunt Mildred’s pancakes.  The recipe became so popular in our family that everyone from Detroit to Chicago knew it, and they both made them for us when they visited.   However, because they all departed this world before I thought to question them about their excellent techniques, my recipe has a few of my own modifications.  I’m still wondering why my grandma’s rose less during the cooking.  I’m working on that.

(a family recipe)

1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
7/8 cup flour (see recipe for details)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1.  In a large bowl cream 1 T butter, 2 T sugar, ½ t salt.

2.  Beat in 1 large (or extra-large / jumbo) egg.

3.  To the flour  (cake, unbleached, whole-wheat, buckwheat or my favorite: half unbleached/half whole-wheat flour) mix in ½ t baking powder; add it to the egg mixture.

4.  To 1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk) in a 2-cup measuring container add ½ t baking soda; whip by hand with a fork until the sound deepens when the milk thickens; add to the batch and fold until fully mixed.

5.  Rub a gas or electric griddle (at 375 F) with a small tab of butter on a paper towel.  Use an ice-cream scoop to deposit the pancakes; sprinkle in blueberries if you like; cook until the bubbles pop and then flip them for a couple of minutes.

6.  Splurge and serve with real maple syrup.  No need to butter them.   Skip the blueberries on half the batch and  top a couple of  pancakes with  eggs fried over-easy…that’s breakfast, baby.


to print the recipe, click here


Sally’s comments: I find it hard to believe that this blog is approaching its 4th year of life, and I had not yet shared Phil’s recipe for blueberry pancakes. It is outrageous! One important thing to consider: these pancakes must be made by a man still wearing his pajamas. It is part of the deal. They taste much better this way…  😉


ONE YEAR AGO: Scallops with Black Pasta in Orange Cream Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken with Creamed Corn

THREE YEARS AGO: Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedo


  1. Gus is the official pancake maker in this house – he makes the best blueberry pancakes! I’ll have to slip him this recipe, though – I like the story behind these pancakes. And I can’t believe your blog is turning 4 years old – wow! And I remember way back when I was lured into your bewitching kitchen by your cast iron skillet focaccia…. 🙂


    • Well, it turns four in June, so there’s a little ways to go… still, I am “officially” on the fourth year of blogging. Amazing how some classic recipes we do all the time never made it to the blog. Another example is Phil’s family oven-fried chicken. We MUST make that soon.


  2. My parents always bribed us into going to mass with a good breakfast afterwards when we were little also! Usually we went out to eat but I would have been more than happy with these pancakes!


  3. I love recipes like this which are reminiscent of simpler times. I have a copy of “Food that Really Schmecks” by Edna Staebler, from the Waterloo Region in south-western Ontario full of Mennonite Country Cooking which I’ve obviously been neglecting, which is full of recipes like this. 🙂


    • You and me both, there’s just something about family recipes, traditional recipes that calls my name. I have a few cookbooks that hit the spot, but unfortunately the trend right now seems to be more focused on nice pictures than the “soul of the recipe”.


  4. Joe neither cooks nor wears pajamas. I hope the recipe is amenable to being prepared by a woman in sweatpants. I believe that’s what I was wearing when I had the pleasure of eating these delicious pancakes.


  5. It’s hard to top a family recipe especially when it conjures up memories of those we love. I am a big fan of buttermilk pancakes (I have also made sour milk when I’m out of buttermilk and note that you do the opposite which is neat). I can well understand how these beauties would be a huge hit and you just know that my 3 men will be in their pjs making them! ;-). Almost 4 years of blogging Sally… wow!


  6. Delicious! I am a pancake freak, haha, growing up we had pancakes EVERY Saturday, without fail. These pancakes look delicious, I am definitely going to give them a try! We always add a bit of extra buttermilk to ours, it helps to make the pancakes thinner and not rise as much – maybe try that?


  7. Pingback: Multigrain Granola Panakes | Le Food Snob

  8. How do I “cream” butter, sugar and salt in Step 1? I’m assuming the butter has to be solid, not melted…. (I’m trying to make these pancakes right now and I’m afraid I didn’t get very far before running into confusion.)


    • Hello Maritza! To cream the sugar and butter together the butter needs to be at room temperature – kind of soft, but definitely not melted. When I remember, I leave it out of the fridge at night, or if there is a chance, a couple of hours before starting the recipe. I ve seen people using the microwave for SECONDS to get the butter in a state that it will mix well with the sugar, but that’s a bit dangerous…. too easy to melt it. Once the butter is at room temperature, beating it with the sugar for 2 to 3 minutes will be enough. I should also add my husband likes to do this step by hand, with just a fork. That’s how he learned from his Mom and Grandma. hope this helps… 😉


  9. Hi! Thanks for sharing a recipe that uses sour milk. I’m always looking for ways to keep from throwing out food. I made these this morning, and mine turned out nothing like the big, fluffy pancakes in the picture. My batter was very thin, and the pancakes turned out to be more like crepes. I’m sure I followed all the measurements as listed. Any advice, or could it be that they need more flour than listed?



    • Hello there!

      this is actually my husband’s family recipe, so I need to check with him later today – he is playing golf now, but I’ll get back to you this afternoon, ok?


      • Ok, we just double checked the recipe and all is correct – amount of flour included. You could maybe try to use a little more baking soda and baking powder, up to 3/4 teaspoon each, but he doubts it would make much difference.

        too bad it did not work well for you, it’s disappointing…. ;-(


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