It’s mid-August, the hunting season has been open for a couple of weeks and there are a few weeks to go in the car-camping, kayaking and river-tripping season. But those mornings are getting colder. Some say porridge, I say pancakes are the most sastifying breakfast after an early start and a three-hour paddle, and even better before a morning of moose-calling that, if successful, will mean hours of work before you get back to camp.The beauty of pancakes is they can cook on a small fire and therefore be ready really fast. Here’s the foolproof formula for fluffy yet sustaining campfire pancakes, in the bush or at home.
1 cup (250 mL) flour; at least ½ cup (125 mL) of which is all-purpose
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1/8 tsp (.6 mL) salt (a pinch)
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (250 mL) milk (or buttermilk, *yoghourt, whole milk or buttermilk powder mixed with water, rice milk or almond milk—it’s up to you)
Optional additions: 2 to 3 Tbsp (30 to 45 mL) flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, sesame seeds, etc.
(*If your yoghourt is thick, thin it out with a bit of milk or water, or include some of the whey—that’s the liquid that appears in the yoghourt tub when a spoonful or two has been removed.)
Mix dry ingredients together at home, and pack in a re-sealable bag. As you increase the cups of flour, simply increase the other ingredients accordingly. The key to fluffy pancakes is the baking powder-to-flour ratio: 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder to 1 cup (250 mL) flour.
In camp, beat the egg into the milk or other liquid, add to the dry mixture and stir together until just combined.
Heat about 1 tsp (5 mL) butter or oil in a cast iron frying pan over a brisk fire—we place the frying pan on a grill balanced on a couple of rocks about 4 to 5 inches over the flame. Note that if the fire is too hot the exterior of the pancakes will burn before the interior cooks, so if things are happening too fast, remove the pan from the fire until it dies down a bit.
Spoon pancake batter into the hot pan and cook until bubbles start to appear, flip and cook another minute or so. Serve with butter, birch syrup, fresh berries if it’s berry season, and some caribou smokies.
Makes about 12 4-inch (10 cm) pancakes.
Site of my most recent Campfire Pancakes breakfast: Atlin Lake, Northern BC; mid-July.