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Every pancake lover must have heard of (and eaten) the classic sweet French crepes. But how many of us know of their savory buckwheat relatives?

Galletas, as they’re called originate, in Brittany and appear in many varieties – some thin and much alike classic crepes, others made with baker’s yeast and very fluffy. There are also galleta pancake recipes that call for fermentation.

When it comes to basic ingredients, there are varieties that include eggs, while others exclude them; there are galletas made with buckwheat flour only, others require mixing it with another type of flour in a 50/50 ratio.

There are different methods of cooking as well – in some regions, these pancakes are cooked on round griddles called ‘billigs’ (usually used in creperies), while in other regions steel crepe pans are used.

So, if you decide to make these pancakes at home, where do you start from? Which recipe should you choose? Can you use your standard non-stick pancake pan for cooking?

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Making Galleta Pancakes Batter at Home – Tips and Tricks

I suggest choosing a recipe closest to the classic American pancake recipes we’re used to. This means avoiding batters that require fermenting or yeast addition. Such batters act differently when cooked and if you don’t have previous experiences with them, you can expect a culinary disaster to happen. Even if you succeed in making them properly, you may find their taste somewhat strange.

Here is a perfect buckwheat pancake recipe I use. It takes only 15 minutes (not counting the resting period) and yields about 12 pancakes:

Ingredients

Pancake Batter:

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pat of unsalted butter, for the skillet

Filling:

  • 12 slices forest ham
  • 8 oz. grated cheese

 

The Flour

Go with the thinner variety, crepe-like galleta pancakes made with buckwheat flour. If you have concerns about buckwheat’s strong flavor, rest assured that when paired with savory ingredients like eggs, ham, and cheese, it produces very good combinations. However, if this is your first experience with buckwheat pancakes, I recommend combining buckwheat flour with another type of flour.

Buckwheat combines best with wheat flour. That being said, the next issue is to find the best proportion. Since buckwheat flour is gluten-free, it yields a batter that lacks flexibility and the pancakes produced with this batter are very brittle. The addition of wheat flour will provide the necessary amount of gluten to make the pancakes more elastic. Still, bear in mind that you are making buckwheat pancakes so, there should be a fair amount of this flour in the batter. The best proportion is to use at least twice as much buckwheat as wheat flour.

The Eggs

As mentioned before, there are galleta pancake recipes that call for eggs and those that omit them. Since eggs act as binders, I vote for their inclusion. Moreover, they reduce the risk of your crepes falling apart and help the batter coat the pan more uniformly.

Mixing the Batter

Combine the 3/4 cup water, milk, the buckwheat and wheat flour, eggs, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender and process until smooth.

The Resting Period

Should you leave the pancake batter rest before cooking or not? If so, how long should it rest – a couple of hours or overnight? Most importantly, why should you do it?

The resting period is supposed to relax the gluten in the batter and allow the flour to hydrate well. The batter will stabilize, i.e. it won’t change its consistency in the middle of cooking, forcing you to re-adjust some of the ingredients. Generally, the longer the batter sits, the more tender the crepes will get. However, if you are in a rush, there’s no need to leave the batter rest overnight; two hours should do the trick.

Cooking the Homemade Galleta Pancakes

Traditionally, buckwheat crepes are made on biligs but, of course, no one owns a billig pan. So, we need to find the best substitute. Carbon steel crepe pans are the next best thing but are they a worthwhile investment? I mean, they’re pans specialized for crepes and you can’t really use them for anything else.

Our good old nonstick skillets will have to do. It is true that pancakes made in nonstick skillets are less crispy and brown but they are more than decent in terms of both taste and appearance. The secret to making them as crispy and brown as those cooked on a carbon steel pan is to cook them over high heat.

Preheat the pan well and add a generous amount of butter to prevent your crepes from burning. Let the butter begin to brown, sizzle, and smoke (but don’t burn it!).

Pour about a ¼ cup of the pancake batter and swirl the pan until the bottom is covered in a thin, even layer. Return the pan over high heat and cook until brown (about 1-2 minutes).

If you’re going to fill the crepe (which you will), there’s no need to flip it. Once the crepe is fully cooked (brown on the bottom and matte on the top), add some of the previously prepared fillings in the center (grated cheese, a slice of ham; optionally you can add mushrooms, caramelized onions, and/or fried egg).

Fold the edges over the filling using a metal spatula, taking care not to scratch the pan. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again to form a triangle, and keep heating until the cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!

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