Only read this post if you want to transform your pancakes into the most glorious pancakes you’ve ever made.
Seriously. Only then.
I’m hungry for pancakes (always) so I’ll make this brief:
There are pancakes, and then there are pancakes. The former is passable after a wine-soaked, late night out with friends (where you’re giggling more than thinking about the quality of the ‘cake anyway), and the latter? Well, the latter is the kind of pancake that you use to create your legacy as (*ahem*, not to be dramatic, but this is true):
THE BEST PANCAKE MAKER OF ALL ETERNITY.
I see skepticism. So hear me out. Next time you dust off your favorite pancake recipe, try these three tips. I promise I won’t gloat when your friends and family present you with the crown. “I told you so” is so 00’s, anyway.
Anyway, onto the tips:
Tip #1: Separate Eggs While They’re Cold and Whip the Whites When They’re Warm.
Different parts of the egg do different things. The fatty yolk adds flavor and the melt-in-your-mouth texture that separates good pancakes from pancakes that make consumers’ eyes roll to the back of their heads in ultimate pleasure. The pancakes that elicit a little groan of pleasure and quiet at the table. Yes. Those pancakes.
The egg white, when whipped, is a natural leavening agent. Whipped egg whites incorporate air bubbles into your batter, which ultimately gives your pancakes extra lift.
That’s right! Egg whites are your secret weapon against dense, flat pancakes that give no life.
In order to maximize the egg in your pancake, you need to separate the yolk from the white so that each section can shine individually. Best to do this while the egg is cold; this is when it’s easier to separate them.
Here’s how I separate:
After separating, you can ignore your egg whites while you prepare the rest of your batter. They’re coming in the proverbial fourth pancake quarter. Because they’re the real MVP.
After mixing the rest of your pancake batter (being sure to mix only until your dry ingredients have been kissed by the wet ingredients and you’re left with something the texture of that lumpy futon that you kept too long), it’s time to go to the bench for your egg whites.
Guys. We’re going to whip these egg whites and fold them into our batter.
For a video tutorial on the whipping/folding process, take a peek at the video, below, at the 1:23 mark.
Tip #2: Let Your Batter Rest!
Once you’ve mixed your batter into its old-futon, egg-white streaked texture (meaning it’s PERFECT), leave it alone!
Seriously. Go away.
Simply put, resting pancake batter gives the gluten in your flour a chance to relax. Relaxed gluten means a lighter pancake. And with all that work that you put into our batter beforehand, you want to give it the best possible chance for perfection.
How long should your batter rest? 30-45 minutes is ideal, but I’m raising hungry children so I don’t always have that luxury. If time is short, I complete my pancake batter and let it rest for at least ten minutes whilst making bacon and prepping scrambled eggs. And calling upstairs for the aforesaid children to “hurry up!” #MyLife
When there’s more time (like in the video below), I give pancake batter the full rest time. Doing so makes an incredible difference. Not only does the texture end up both luscious and airy, the balance of flavors is much better when the batter can…just…rest.
We are not our best when we are not rested. Pancakes are the same way. So…let them rest!
For more on this, see the below video at 4:07.
Tip #3: Stop Smashing Your Pancakes! (please)
You’ve lovingly prepared your lumpy futon batter. Check.
You’ve let your batter rest. Check.
You’ve warmed your pan to medium/medium-high heat (cast iron is a BOSS for pancakes by the way). Check.
You’ve lovingly placed a double pat of butter in the pan and let it melt. Check.
Batter in (I use a 1/4 cup measure for this task)! Sizzle! Bubbles! Perfect!
In your excitement, you flip the pancake and SMASH IT DOWN IN THE PAN.
This is an act of violence. You’ve just murdered your leavening. Including those egg whites that your arm is still sore from whipping.
(please don’t do this any more.)
I’m being flippant (pun intended), but this is serious pancake business. Heat is the final activator for fluffy pancakes! You need the heat to wake up all of your leavening and create the final “spring” that will take your pancake from limp to and sad to that rich, luxuriously light pancake that is the pinnacle of pancake success.
But leavening + egg whites + heat is no match for the violence bestowed by a human hand and a spatula. Once a pancake is smashed during the cooking process, there’s no reviving it. While you might end up with a passable pancake after such a gaffe, all of your hard work will be for naught, since it would essentially be ruined with one press.
So. Flip it. And LEAVE IT ALONE until it’s time to remove it from your pan and eat it.
This tip is as important as any other pancake tip. And it gives you time to do something else besides fuss over your skillet for a few minutes. Scramble some eggs. Prepare coffee and juice. Finish bacon or sausage. ANYTHING.
For more on flipping and leaving alone, check out the video, below, at the 5:48 mark.
Did you find these tips useful? Let me know in the comments, below! And don’t forget to subscribe to the BwB mailing list for updates!