Friday, April 10, 2015

Whataburger Pancakes, Mix, or Scratch

Tried Whataburger pancakes? Yummy, quick, and economical! Know that you can buy Whataburger Pancake Mix at HEB? Have you tried making scratch pancakes? Also yummy, even more economical, but not quick! The scratch recipe, which I've used for many years (with slight occasional tweaks) comes from Pillsbury's Simply From Scratch Volume 2 booklet. This method of obtaining pancakes is yummy, slow, and economical, although surprisingly, more expensive that the Whataburger mix method.

Note: My article does not include info about other places that serve pancakes or other pancake mixes. (I do include a few links to scratch recipes farther down.)

Whataburger Pancakes—Buy at Restaurant
The least amount of effort for obtaining pancakes is going to Whataburger. The info doesn't state the diameter, but does state the calories as 720. Guessing the price might be less than $3, if available, as the pancake platter lists as $3.35. "Platter" indicates added sausage or bacon.

Whataburger Pancakes—Buy Powder and Make at Home
The next least effort for obtaining pancakes is making up a batch from Whataburger pancake powder. I bought a box (32 ounces) for $2.78. The batch had 2 cups of powder (~10 ounces) and 1 1/2 cup of water. One yield was 10 4" diameter cakes, another yield was 9 pancakes. OKaaaay. The box says that one serving is two 4" pancakes, totaling 180 calories—using 1/3 cup of powder.

According to a Whataburger press release,
The 32-ounce pancake mix uses the same ingredients and recipe used in Whataburger restaurants. Customers simply combine the mix with water and follow the instructions on the label to enjoy the light and fluffy Whataburger pancakes they love. Each package makes approximately 32 pancakes.
Um, the info conflicts with the package I bought, which claims 36 pancakes. Even weirder is the online two-package bundle info:
Two 1.75 lb (794g) pouches. Each pouch makes approximately 32 pancakes. ... Price: $14.99 (Yow! My one 32-oz box cost only $2.78.)
So now we have three stats for weight and estimated yield of pancakes:
  • 2#, 32
  • 2#, 36
  • 1.75#, 32
Proportionally, the 2#/36 and 1.75#/32 match up for weight and yield.

By my calculations, a 3-pancake Whataburger restaurant stack (720 calories) equals 4—FOUR powder-mixed pancake servings. ¡Ay, caramba! But wait! If I used 4 as a multiplier for powder stats vs. restaurant stats, the sodium ratios look to be way out of whack—1650 for restaurant pancakes, and 2560 for the powder-made pancakes. In any case, those sodium stats are way high!

Alrighty then. Because I made the middle range number of pancakes, the total calories came to 1080, ~540 for each of two people. Feeling better already that those two plates have fewer calories than two restaurant pancake stacks. Of course, I'm ignoring the addition of calories because of butter-type spread and syrup. Comparison of price: ~$6 vs less than $1 ($2.78 divided by 3 batches) if you supply your own labor.

Now inching towards discussing scratch pancakes. I use a half recipe from the Pillsbury scratch booklet, and I tweak it with added vanilla and cinnamon. The table below shows ingredients (but not quantity) mapped to Whataburger's powder:

Ingredient
W
Scratch
Flour
y
y
Soy flour
y
n
Sugar
y
y
Dextrose
y
n
Whey
y
n
Sodium caseinate
y
n
Milk
n
y
Vinegar
n
y
Cooking oil (whatever's handy)
n
y
Palm oil
y
n
Sodium bi aka baking soda
y
y
Baking powder
n
y
Sodium acid pyrophosphate
y
n
Salt
y
y
Corn syrup solids
y
n
Monocalcium phosphate
y
n
Egg white
y
n
Egg
n
y
Dipotasium phosphate
y
n
Monglycerides
y
n


In light of the Whataburger powder having so many more ingredients than my scratch ingredients, I think when I finish off the powder, I'll not buy more. Instead, I'll consider experimenting with other brands' powders that have fewer ingredients.

Scratch Pancakes, Tweaked From Pillsbury's Simply From Scratch Volume 2 booklet
The following tables list the main ingredients for my batch of scratch pancakes for amounts, cost, calories, and sodium:

Dry Ingredient Cost, Calories, Sodium
~1 cup flour 9¢ (1.68/5#, using 1/4#), 450, 3 mg
1 T sugar 2¢ (2.78/4#, using 1/128#), 50, 0 mg
1 t baking powder 2¢ (1.18/10oz, using 8/473 container), 0, 480 mg
1/2 t baking soda 0¢ (68/16oz, using 4/908 container), 0, 476 mg
1/2 t salt 0¢ (62/26oz, using 2/491 container), 0, 1180 mg
1 t cinnamon 6¢ (2.49/4oz, using 1/40 container), 6, 1 mg

Wet Ingredient Cost, Calories, Sodium
1 cup nonfat milk 25¢ ($2/64oz, using 1/8 container), 80, 100 mg
1 T vinegar 1¢ (44/16oz, using 1/32 container), 0, 0 mg
2 T cooking oil 5¢ (2.38/48oz, using 1/48 container), 240, 0 mg
1 egg 17¢ ($2/dozen), 70, 70 mg
1 t vanilla extract 18¢ (2.67/1.5oz, using 1/15 container), 12, 0 mg

Main Recommended Instructions for Making Scratch Pancakes
  • Note that ingredients and quantities vary slightly from recipe to recipe.
  • Have a separate bowl for mixing dry ingredients and one for wet ingredients.
  • Grease or spray oil onto the pan or griddle.
  • Make sure the pan is hot enough before pouring batter into it.
  • For each pancake, watch for bubbles to emerge from the uncooked side before flipping it over.
I am unable to find the Pillsbury Simply From Scratch recipe that I use. If you are somewhat experienced in pancake making, you can glean my list of ingredients. The milk and vinegar substitutes for buttermilk. The actual measurement is 1 T vinegar and 1 cup minus 1 Tablespoon milk. Numerous scratch pancake recipes are available through Googling and YouTube searches. Visit the following sites for ideas:
Scratch Pancakes vs. Whataburger Pancake Mix Stats
  • Scratch batch (9 to 10 pancakes): 908 calories, 2310 mg. $1.22 (excluding cinnamon and vanilla)
  • Whataburger batch (also 9 to 10 pancakes): 1086 calories, 3840 mg, $ .93
Clearly, the Whataburger mix, although more economical but requiring the less mixing effort than scratch pancakes, uses A LOT of sodium. Also, the powder includes more mystery ingredients than the scratch recipe does.

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