Little Miss Muffet can keep her curds: I’m stealing her whey. Especially to make these blow-you-a-whey pancakes with homemade labneh which (spoiler alert!) are easily some of the best pancakes that I’ve ever made and/or eaten in my life.
The secret is the milky white substance that collects in the bowl underneath the sieve when you strain yogurt overnight in the fridge. If you’ve never done this, you’ve never made labneh, which is a real shame because labneh is like yogurt taken to the power of eleven. It’s thick and creamy and works as a dip, a spread, even on its own as a base for fruit and granola. But we’re not here to talk about the labneh, we’re here to talk about the whey!
Why am I so obsessed with the stuff? It’s all because of Homa Dashtaki’s terrific new cookbook, Yogurt and Whey. Homa is the founder of The White Mustache, which sells some of the most celebrated yogurt in America. She’s also my podcast guest this week:
Better Than Buttermilk
When I asked her to send me a recipe to make, she very quickly responded with the pancake recipe, giving me instructions for making my own whey. I’ll include it in the recipe below, but it’s as simple as buying two quarts of full-fat plain yogurt (not Greek) and straining it overnight with a sieve lined with cheesecloth in the fridge.
Such an easy thing to do and it yields such rewards! Now it’s time to cook.
Whey Pancakes FTW
Again, the labneh is super versatile, but look what happens when you mix the whey with eggs, melted butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
See those happy blobs? See all the bubbles on top? That’s because all of the acid from the whey is interacting with the baking powder and baking soda, creating an amazing amount of lift. And then the natural sugars in the whey are helping the pancakes get nice and crispy on the edges.
If they remind you of buttermilk pancakes, you’re in the right ballpark: buttermilk pancakes are fluffy and crispy too (again, because of the acid). But the key difference here is that the whey has none of the heaviness of dairy. It’s lighter yet still contains all of the chemical properties you love about buttermilk. And look at how gorgeous these look hot out of the skillet.
What a gift to give yourself in the morning and all you have to do is strain yogurt overnight? In the time that it took you to read this, you could’ve already set that up. And the best part is you can top it with some of the labneh (in the lead picture, I also added some cherry compote we had in the fridge).
Who knew that something most of us throw away could lead to a life-changing pancake moment? Homa knew. And now, thanks to her, we know it too.
Blow-You-A-Whey Pancakes with Homemade Labneh
- 2 quarts whole milk, full-fat, plain yogurt (not Greek)
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
- Neutral oil (such as sunflower, canola, or grapeseed)
- The day before you plan to make the pancakes, place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Carefully pour in the two quarts of yogurt and place everything in the refrigerator overnight (it needs at least 24 hours). You need one cup of whey for this recipe — if you have extra, save it for more pancakes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, one cup of whey, and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently whisk just until incorporated (don't overmix; a few lumps of flour are okay). Set the batter aside for 15 minutes at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat well.
- Using a 1/3rd cup measure, scoop the batter into the hot pan — leaving some space between each pancake (I did four at a time). Bubbles will form on the tops of the pancakes; wait to flip them until most of the bubbles have popped and the pancakes are golden brown underneath (about 3 minutes). Flip and cook another minute or two until golden on the other side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pancakes, adding more butter and oil as needed.
- Serve with some of the labneh, maple syrup, jam, or compote.