Combine flour, sugar, packet of dry yeast, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
Combine buttermilk and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave on high in 30 second increments until thoroughly warm to the touch (120F to 130F degrees) - not boiling.
Add the heated buttermilk to the flour mixture, along with the beaten egg and vanilla extract.
Pancake batter is supposed to have lumps. If batter is too thick, add in a bit more heated buttermilk. It should be the consistency of cake batter not thick brownie batter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap put it someplace warm so that the batter can rise for about 10-15 minutes. It should almost double in size.
Once you've noticed the batter has doubled in size and is looking "bubbly, start heating up your skillet or griddle to medium heat (about 250F degrees)
Add about a tablespoon of oil to the skillet.
Pour ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto griddle or skillet. Cook pancakes until edges are dry and surface is bubbly. Then flip.
Cook the opposite side until golden brown and then work on the next batch.
For the maple butter sauce: In a small pan over low heat, melt butter. Then pour in the can of sweetened condensed milk and the maple extract. Whisk well. It will take a minute or two to incorporate that flavoring with the rest of the ingredients.
Once it's ready and heated through put it into a glass pouring dish (I just use a glass measuring cup) and pour over warm pancakes.
Why add yeast? Yeast is going to make these pancakes super light and fluffy. They also give the pancakes subtle yeast flavor that really elevates these pancakes from your basic homemade pancakes.
If you want to leave out the yeast, you can. Just skip the part of warming up the buttermilk. That warm milk is only needed for the yeast.
Did you know you can freeze any leftover pancakes? This is a great time to make a double batch and freeze some for later. After making pancakes, line them up, in a single layer, on a baking pan or cookie rack then put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This is called flash-freezing. Once they are firm and cold to the touch, you can then put them into a freezer-safe bag without them sticking to each other. Just reheat in the microwave for a few seconds when you are ready to serve them again!
This recipe makes smaller, fluffier pancakes. For larger pancakes, use a ⅓ or ½ cup measuring cup to measure the batter for larger pancakes.