Natasha Kravchuk's mom (or Baba, as her kids call her) makes these Ukrainian pancakes every Sunday, and every Sunday they are gobbled up. Like American pancakes, they’re light and fluffy, but the yeasted batter gives them even more flavor, rise, and substantial texture, and they puff up like doughnuts when they hit the hot oil in the pan.
Kravchuk also loves that the batter is make-ahead friendly, and tastes even better as it sits and ferments in the fridge, which gives what she calls “Baba's Fluffy Oladi Pancakes” a subtle sourdough-like flavor.
BABA'S FLUFFY OLADI PANCAKES
1 cup water, warmed to 115°F
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
Honey or jam of your choice
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the water, buttermilk, egg, oil, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, whisking to incorporate each addition before adding more. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth with a thin, cake-batter consistency.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or in a warm place (about 100°F) for 1 hour. The mixture should become very bubbly and almost double in size.
3. In a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Working in batches, add heaping tablespoons of the batter to the hot skillet, spacing them just far enough apart that they aren’t touching and can still be flipped easily. Cook the pancakes for about 1 1/2 minutes per side, until golden brown, adding more oil as needed after flipping. Feel free to reduce the heat if you find they’re browning too quickly. Continue with the remaining batter, keeping the skillet well-oiled between batches to ensure crisp, tasty, and beautifully golden edges on the pancakes.
4. Transfer the pancakes to a platter and serve warm with honey, raspberry sauce and sour cream.
Pro Tips & Tricks
This recipe yields a big batch, but you could halve the ingredients for a smaller number of servings. These also reheat very well, so you could make the entire batch and reheat them in the toaster.
Reprinted with permission from “Natasha’s Kitchen” by Natasha Kravchuk, copyright (copyright) 2023. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photograph by Charity Burggraaf.
The Associated Press