Updated: Aug 18, 2018
If you want to know the anger and disappointment of a village granny in the kitchen, just use baking powder to make meals traditionally made with yeast. Then you’ll know. I remember when growing up that girls would be labeled as lazy and seeking the easy way out if they used baking powder to make meals that were traditionally made with yeast.
So, steamed bread, only with yeast, never with baking powder, Dumpling, never with baking powder only with yeast, Diphaphatha (flap jacks/pancakes) never with baking powder only with yeast, Magwinya (Vetkoek) never ever with baking powder, always with yeast.
‘What kind of a wife, what kind of ngwetsi (daughter in-law) are you going to make if you are always seeking the easy way out?’, were some of the comments you’d hear if you used baking powder instead of the traditional yeast. Praise and ululations would only be given to girls who did things right. I guess it has to do with the fact that the prized flavor and health benefits of food prepared with yeast develops over time. One’s reluctance to that waiting period was considered a bad reflection of one’s character.
At the same time, baking powder was a new product on the market. One that seemly threatened our ways and our traditions. As custodians of tradition, grannies in all villages were not going to take that lying down.
Therefore, today we are throwing it back to the days of making pancakes the African way, with yeast. We are throwing it back to tradition and making grannies everywhere proud of us girls. To combat the time issue, make this recipe the night before and leave it to rise slowly in the fridge, or if you are a morning person like me, make it first thing when you wake up so it is ready come breakfast time. Perfect for a Saturday morning breakfast.
This recipe calls for eggs and milk. Two ingredients that were always reserved for cakes and scones and would therefore not make a regular feature in traditional pancakes. I’m also making these in a pan over an electric stove, but my aunt would make them on the fire using the lid of a 3-foot-pot (cast iron/ poitjie pot).
Other than just for the braai and making sauces, the number of ways that the Rosemary herb can be used is only limited to the imagination. One of these days we must make rosemary infused iced cream but today we are making Rosemary infused syrup to serve with Diphaphatha (pancakes). The boys loved the orange garnish that accompanied the dish. I always make double the mix because of the boys.
For Diphaphatha - pancakes
1 ½ cup of warm milk
½ small packet of instant yeast
¼ teaspooon of salt
2 eggs-(3 egg yolks)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 ½ cups stoneground cake flower
4 table spoons of unsalted butter melted (flora marge)
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until lukewarm. Transfer milk to a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in flour, salt, sugar, butter and eggs until batter is smooth. Cover bowl with slightly moist clean kitchen towel (we are staying away from plastic wrap). Transfer the bowl to a warm place; let dough rise until doubled (about 1 & 1/2 hours).
Heat and oil your pan. Using a ¼ measuring cup, pour batter onto your pan, creating several pools, 5 cm apart. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the top and the edges are slightly dry, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip pancakes; cook until golden at the bottom, about 1 & 1/2 minutes.
Transfer to a plate; keep in warm oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
For the Rosemary and Orange infused syrup.
2 cups cold water
2 cups unrefined brown sugar
1 sprig of Rosemary
Zest of 1 large orange
In a sauce pan, bring to the boil the water and the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until a syrup starts to form. Remove from heat.
Add the Rosemary and Orange zest to the hot syrup and let it infuse. Remove the Rosemary sprig and serve over Diphaphata – Pancakes.