Tips for Perfect Pancakes
Pancakes have an almost magical ability to turn anyone into a child again. There's something irresistible about waking up on a Saturday morning, stumbling into the kitchen and being greeted by the smell of batter and a mountain of fluffy pancakes just begging to be smothered in maple syrup and whipped butter.
Perhaps part of the beauty of pancakes is that they're so simple to make. My teenage sisters-in-law often make them on their own for the family. As with many simple dishes though, attention to detail is the difference between drab and delicious. Read on to learn my tips on making excellent pancakes every time.
Yields: 2 dozen2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup potato flour
2 to 2-1/2 cups whole milk, depending on how thin you want them
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt. Sift all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Add the lemon juice to the milk. Set aside.
Separate the eggs in 2 separate bowls, yolks in one and whites in the other.
Using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar until you get a pale, yellow foam. Add the molasses and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the milk, each about one-third at a time. Do not over-mix the batter.
For the egg-whites, add salt and start mixing with a clean handheld-blender. When you get a little bit of air, slowly add the remaining sugar as you whisk. Stop half way through to see how "ribbon-y" the egg whites are. Whisk until you get stiff peaks of egg whites (don't over-mix or it will become grainy). The egg whites should stick right up.
Add one-third of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and give a good stir with a spatula to make sure. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Start from the bottom and gently lift up to the top, keeping all the air in the batter.
Place a hot non-stick griddle pan (or any flat pan such as a cast iron griddle) over medium heat. Grease it with a little butter using a silicone brush. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter onto the pan. Try to make a round shape. I like them to look rustic so I don't mind if they're a bit crooked. Lower the heat to medium-low. The pancake should start bubbling after a few seconds. Leave it alone for a couple of minutes. When you see the edges start to dry and get firm, take a flat spatula and lift around the pancake: it should be golden. Flip the pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes until golden. The pancake will rise in volume a bit.
Repeat the same procedure. Cook 4 to 6 pancakes at a time (depending on how much space you have), until all the batter is used.
Call your gang as soon as everything is ready. Yum!
Sifting dry ingredients helps to get rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get'll a moist result.
Do NOT over-mix the pancake batter, lumps are good.
Similar to a lot of my cakes, I add 1 part of potato flour to 2 parts of all-purpose flour for a lighter, fluffier result.
Unlike crêpes, let the batter rest for only a few minutes.
Use chilled milk.
A pinch of salt goes very well with sweets; it creates a nice contrast and enhances the sweetness of the pancake.
Always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whisking the egg whites for optimum results. Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water.
If you're making the pancakes with children, transfer the batter to a pitcher and pour it directly onto the griddle pan for a mess-free kitchen. Also, if you're making them with kids, pour small amounts of batter, so it's easier for the kids to flip them.
I prefer thick pancakes, so I tend to use about 2 cups of milk but it's your preference. It's all about ratio!
When you're ready to flip the pancakes over, get the spatula as far underneath as you can and flip. For another mess-free tip, flip the pancake as fast as you can so that the batter doesn't splatter everywhere on the griddle.
I love the bold and tangy aroma of dark molasses. It's sweet and thick with a maple-like kind of sweetness that complements the pancake batter very well. I always beat the egg yolks first, add a sweetener (molasses) and then add the egg whites; this conceals any eggy flavor for the vegetarians in our house who don't care about the taste of egg.
I've found the best spatula to flip pancakes is the one from Ikea. It's flat, heat resistant and gentle on non-stick pans. And it's inexpensive .
You can stack the remaining pancakes and place little squares of parchment paper between each pancake. Place all the pancakes in a zip-top bag and freeze them. You can store them up to 3 months in your freezer. Simply defrost them by toasting the pancakes. It's perfect for school days .
If you want to serve all the pancakes at once, you can keep them in a 170°F oven to prevent them from getting soggy.
For more breakfast and brunch ideas, check out my other recipes.Published By: on September 27, 2009.