Regardless of whether you think that you will never have to cook, or are postponing this inevitable part of everyone’s life, there will come the day when you’ll have to have a recipe up your sleeve. Say, impress your loved one, or prepare something for your children, or just because you are too hungry to wait for a delivery and you have nothing to snack on. This is when pancakes come into the picture. The best breakfast/dessert dish that is loved by adults and children alike. And no matter how easy you think pancaking is, there are some tricks and tips you need to know prior to starting off on this venture.
There are some essential ingredients that pancake recipes cannot go without, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.
Use Double Acting Baking Powder.
This is most certainly the number one tip I have to offer. Because when it comes to pancakes, no one wants them thin and gummy, and the answer to fluffy pancakes is precisely this powder.
Let the Batter Rest
If you use double acting baking powder, then you won’t need to follow this step. However, if you want your hotcakes to be as spongy as ever, you should leave the batter be for a few minutes. The batter should be thick and by leaving it for a few minutes the gluten that was activated by mixing relaxes, and the starch molecules in the flour absorb the liquid leading to a thicker consistency.
Careful with The Heat
Not only should you be careful not to turn the heat too high, but you should ALWAYS preheat the skillet (which btw should be a cast-iron one). This is so because the above-mentioned baking powder will immediately react to the heat, and if the stove is cold, it won’t rise the way it should.
This is EXTREMELY important. In fact, as soon as you’ve mastered the simplest recipe, you will be more than ready to go for one of the many pro tips in The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Pancake Recipes on MyGreatRecipes.
Be it with the color, the shape, or even the taste, don’t be afraid to experiment. You can prepare red velvet or rainbow pancakes, pancake muffins, cupcakes, donuts and pancake recipes that call for savory ingredients like bacon, sausages, cabbage, literally anything you can think of. You can go for Japanese, Irish, Korean, Chinese versions, literally any pancake recipe you can find.
Make a Tasty Topping
The choices when it comes to topping your pancakes are truly limitless. Anything from maple syrup to chocolate syrup, from whipped cream to a homemade fruit syrup. Actually, a universal rule when you want to prepare a fruit syrup is getting one cup of water and one cup of white sugar. Combine them in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Get 2 cups of the fruit you opted for, mix it into the saucepan and bring everything to a boil. Let it cook for around 10 minutes and serve warm over pancakes.
If you want your pancakes to be crunchy, then go for a nutty topping. But DO roast the nuts prior to adding them on top of the pancakes.
Of course, there are a few things you should avoid doing, no matter how “proper” or “logical” they appear.
One of these things, and a mistake that nearly every newbie in the pancaking world does, is overmixing the batter. The more you mix the batter, the more gluten will develop and the chewier the pancakes will be. The tendency to overmix might have something to do with thinking that a smooth batter will result in a smooth pancake, or maybe it is a slight OCD reaction, but leaving a few lumps is more than just OK, it is necessary!
Don’t Flip Too Often
I get it, pancake flipping is so fun you can’t stop doing it. You feel like a master chef who can take any pancake recipe and turn it into perfection. But… stop it! Flipping the hotcakes too often will lead to them being deflated and thin. Another thing while at the topping of flipping is knowing when is the exactly the right time to do it. And while many recipes will say flip “as soon as bubbles start to appear”, don’t do it, rather wait an extra minute and then flip.
Don’t Confine Yourselves to the Regular Ingredients
No, I am not repeating myself. Even though this might sound as a mere repetition of what I said above in the experimenting part, I am here referring to the basic ingredients. So, don’t be afraid to substitute the regular all-purpose flour with a whole wheat version, a nut flour or oat flour. Then, replace the whole milk with a non-dairy milk say almond, soy, or rice and last but not least, replace eggs for flaxseed eggs.
Don’t Forget the Test Batch
Prior to going all-in, make sure you prepare just enough batter to have 2-3 pancakes to spare. Remember the high-temperature talk above? Well, the first pancakes will show whether the temperature is too hot or not hot enough. If you are stretched for time, or just don’t want to let any of the batter go to waste, do the water test. Add a few drops of water onto the pan just before you start cooking, if they make a sizzling sound, feel free to proceed to frying.
Don’t Forget the Add-ins
We all love the basic pancakes drowned in maple syrup, but from time to time we all crave something juicer or heavier. So, never miss on a chance to add some more love to the batter. You can go for anything from chocolate chips to blueberries, nuts to apples. However, bear in mind that they might easily drop to the bottom of the pancake and easily burn. There are two ways to go about this problem. First, coat the add-ins into some of the flour you are to use, it will help them stay intact and don’t sink to the bottom. Second, add them as late as possible, that is, as soon as you are to flip the pancake.
Don’t Forget to Share
Sharing is caring my dears, and as much as I love devouring a whole pancake stack, eating with friends and family is always better. Remember, sometimes all the thankyous and nice words are worth leaving the last pancake for someone else.
I hope I have given you enough information to perfect your pancaking skills, and what’s more, inspired you to grab an apron and whip up a batch now!