Even though they had sat in a hotel warmer for longer than I had been awake those little Dutch pancakes or Pannenkoeken (trying saying it, it’s quite fun) were something special. Lightly sweet and airy in an unfamiliar way. Usually I hail pancakes for their fluffiness, these are not fluffy at all, rather they delightfully teeter on the line of crepe or pancake.

I thoroughly examined their little holes that covered their surfaced and wandered how they differed from the pancakes that we make nearly every Saturday morning. There was no chemical taste from the presence of leaveners but instead a well-developed flavor that extends beyond just “sweet”.

I’ve never been much of a fan of pancakes. Really the only reason why I do make them so often is because my kids love them and I find it rather idealic to think of them growing up with the memory of our weekend long breakfast tradition, but these pancakes have me changing my mind.

A couple things set these apart. For one they are made with yeast. Their bubbles aren’t chemically created by the presence of baking soda or powder but instead with the addition of yeast and a bit of time. Had I been more patient I would have tried letting this batter rest in the fridge over night as I imagine the flavor would have even been better. I can not confirm this, however because we ate it all in one sitting.

Secondly, there is a hearty amount of whole grain buckwheat in here. The pannenkoeken I found in the Netherlands weren’t as dark but I’m sticking to my version. I was skeptical as I smelled the batter and thought it smelled too healthy for my liking but as they cooked up the buckwheat softened and added intrigue and depth that can’t be found in a recipe using all all-purpose flour.

Maybe it’s because I love saying “pannenkoeken” or because I love the lightness or the depth of flavor from yeast and buckwheat flour or possibly it’s because they are the perfect vessel for loads of jam and powdered sugar. Whatever the reason, these are soon to become a family tradition, one in which I hope my kids will remember with great fondness.

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Yeasted Buckwheat Pancakes

1 generous cup/ 4 ¼ oz all-purpose flour

1 generous cup/ 4 ¼ oz buckwheat flour

2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups warm milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla or ½ vanilla bean

2 Tablespoons butter, for the skillet


Combine the flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients (except the butter) until everything is well combined. The batter is very wet.

Let sit for at least one hour, until many bubbles start forming.

Pre-heat a sturdy pan (cast iron is my favorite) on medium heat. Add a bit of the butter to the hot pan and let melt.

Carefully pour in enough batter to form 3-4” pancakes. Let cook until the entire surface is covered in crater-like bubbles. Flip and cook about 2 minutes more.

Keep warm in a gently warmed oven.

Serve with jam, syrup, powdered sugar, and lemon slices – if you like.

41 Responses to “Yeasted Buckwheat Pancakes”

  1. Mark

    Great photos…though I think your pannenkoeken developed a typo by the end of the post (pannenkokken would mean something like “pan cooks”)…..

  2. Meeta

    I love buckwheat pancakes! Although I have heard of adding yeast in pancakes I have never tried it myself. So need to do this soon!

  3. Valeria

    Unlike you, I love pancakes and I like them dense rather than fluffy. For this reason, I have always made multigrain or buckwheat pancakes, and these have become a weekend breakfast tradition for me and my husband as well for your family. I have never thought to make them with yeast, though, and I love the idea! I will surely try this sooner than later as I am sure we will love them! So jam and powder sugar, hum? Deal 🙂

  4. Emilia Morano-Williams

    I, like, you have never been a big pancake fan. Though I agree that they are quite a childhood staple. These look fantastic. I love the idea of adding yeast and buckwheat pancakes have always been my preference. They’ll definitely be making an appearance at my family’s Sunday morning breakfast soon!

  5. Margherita

    Is the yeast you’re using the dry active yeast that you use for making bread?
    I’m definitely going to make those Saturday for my brunch and want to be 100% sure that I have all the right ingredients for making the recipe!

  6. Liza in Ann Arbor

    Awww…these remind me of my childhood. My dad always made buckwheat pancakes, especially for my birthday slumber parties. I distinctly remembering a friend commenting that coming to my house was an adventure because everything is wheat this/wheat that, crackers, bread, pancakes, etc. It wasn’t normal in the 70’s and 80’s!

  7. Ashley

    For some reason, the buckwheat flour I’ve bought [arrowhead mills brand] was made with toasted buckwheat [kasha] and not raw buckwheat. I had to throw it out it was so strong. I have since been grinding my own in a blender from raw buckwheat groats. I’m glad the pancakes were still delicious with the flour you used! I am definitely hooked on buckwheat!

  8. Calantha

    Like you I’m not a big consumer of pancakes. For me the idea of pancakes provides me with far more enjoyment than eating them. They seem like such a whimsical breakfast food, but the whimsy always seems lost once they land on my plate and I cut into them with fork and knife. That said, I’ve been drawn to the idea of using excess sourdough starter as the base for pancakes. If you have a starter, you might want to try this too, since the pancakes will lack chemical leavening in addition to having a nice flavour profile from sourdough 🙂

  9. sara

    gorgeous photos. I am with you, not really a big fan of pancakes at all and crepes? maybe. However, I found that when they taste grainy, instead of just like “cake”, I like them better (I’m a savory breakfast girl). Yours look tasty and grainy and I just bought a 2lb. bag of yeast at costco soooo I will be trying these 🙂

  10. Deanna

    I love yeast risen anything. Lately I’ve become obsessed with trying to make yeast risen cakes. I don’t actually know that its possible, but I have a 1 pound block of fresh yeast that needs to get used so I’m having fun trying!

  11. Rachel

    Two things I love: buckwheat flour and yeasted anything! Oh, and there’s a third thing – pancakes. I love eating them for any meal but breakfast! I’ve never actually made yeasted pancakes before but clearly I need to try them!

  12. Sara

    Yeasted pancakes sound extraordinary. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Brenda

    I fell in love w/ buckwheat pancakes last month. Be sure to try Melissa Clark’s recipe.

  14. Maggie

    can’t wait to try my hand at these! one question though, the listed in the ingredients is added to the batter, or is that the butter for the skillet? thanks for the clarification!

  15. Cookie and Kate

    I’m so intrigued by your yeasted buckwheat pancakes! I just fell in love with a banana oat pancake recipe bu I’ll have to give yours a try next.

  16. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    I love experimenting with classic foods like the pancake. I have never made buckwheat pancakes before (I’ve actually never used yeast in pancakes before either!) but I tried some that my friend made and thought they were delicious. Nutty and earthy is the only thing I can say to describe them. Thanks for the great recipe and photographs!