Anyone can whip together a batch of decent pancakes at home, but have you ever wondered why the pancakes at restaurants and diners are just… better? Amazing, even? They’re thick, fluffy, and moist, yet still so tender that they almost melt away in your mouth. There’s really nothing like tucking into a towering stack of diner pancakes topped with real butter and maple syrup.
So, now that I’ve got you good and hungry, are you ready to learn how to make the same incredible pancakes right in your own kitchen? Just be warned… once you master the art of making absolutely perfect pancakes, you’ll have a crowd at your door every Saturday morning for breakfast! So, go ahead and make sure you’ve got enough coffee brewin’ and get to making these things!
Use Two Leavening Agents
While most pancake recipes will call for one or the other, using both baking powder and baking soda can produce a really fantastic, restaurant-level pancake. The buttermilk in the batter will react to the baking soda and provide lift and height while the pancake remains moist and tender. And I know this goes without saying, but if you’re going for thick fluffy pancakes, using fresh baking powder (less than 6 months old) can make or break your recipe.
Use A Heavy Pan And Medium-Low Heat
For the most even and consistent cooking, make sure you’re using a heavy bottomed pan or, ideally, a large sturdy griddle pan so you can make many pancakes at once. Using a pan with a thin bottom can cause excessive browning or even burning on the bottom of the pancake before the center starts to cook. Keep your heat on medium-low for the most even cooking from the outside to the inside. Test your pan to see if it’s ready by flicking in a teeny bit of water – if the drops sizzle, you’re good to go!
Flip Once and Flip Right
The perfect pancake should only be flipped once, and knowing when to execute that flip is key. The uncooked batter on the top of the pancake should have formed bubbles that have just begun to pop before the pancake is flipped. Most recipe instructions will tell you to flip when the bubbles form, but waiting until they start to pop ensures that the batter has begun to set up enough and stabilize the pancake before it’s flipped. Oh, and once you’ve flipped, don’t you dare press down on the pancake with your spatula!
Acid Is Your Friend
The use of buttermilk instead of regular milk is a pancake game-changer. The acid in the buttermilk will yield pancakes that are more fluffy, moist, tender, and that have a subtle but wonderful tangyness to the flavor. No buttermilk? Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk (around a tablespoon per cup of milk), swirl it together, and let it sit for about 10 minutes before using it in your batter.
Easy on the Add-Ins
While there are a plethora of yummy goodies that you can add to pancake batter, doing so may disrupt the cooking process and cause differences in how fluffy, tough, or evenly-cooked your pancakes are. If you’re really shooting for the perfect, melt-in-your-mouth texture, save the add-ins and use them as toppings once the pancakes have cooked. Chocolate chips, peanut butter, nuts, and fruit (both raw or cooked into a warm compote) are all just as delicious when used as a topping.
Ah yes, the golden rule for making any kind of batter, whether it be for pancakes or cupcakes… do not overmix! Pancake batter has a tendency to look lumpy, which causes people to continue mixing and mixing until it’s completely smooth. By that point, you’ve caused the gluten in the flour to cause elastic strands, which will end up making your pancakes tough and chewy. To avoid this, use a light hand and mix your pancake batter just until the flour streaks disappear. The lumps are okay! They will cook out once the batter hits the pan, promise.
A Little Sugar Is Not Just For Sweetness
Adding just a bit of sugar to pancake batter not only adds a pleasant hint of sweetness, but it also assists with structure and getting that perfect amount of crisp on the outside. Sugar also contributes to a more tender pancake, so go ahead and add it in!
Use Real Butter and Maple Syrup
If you’re going to all the trouble to perfect your pancake-making technique, you won’t want to go and spoil things by topping it with fake butter spreads and some caramel-colored corn syrup masquerading as a pancake topping. Make sure to choose real, 100% maple syrup, drizzled at room temperature. Since the butter is a major flavor player and you only need a little, consider springing for the extra good stuff like Plugra or Kerrygold. Worth it.
Cook with Butter or Oil
While butter is the favorite for adding flavor, it has a tendency to burn if left to sit on the heat for too long. If you use butter, give your pan a quick wipe with a paper towel between batches of pancakes. A neutral flavored oil, such as vegetable or canola, is also completely acceptable to use and will hold a consistent heat. Plus, you’ll already be topping those pancakes with some butter when they’re finished.
You don’t think I’d let you leave without a recipe, did you? Here is a wonderful, classic, and simple method for buttermilk pancakes. Be sure to apply the tips in this post and your pancakes should come out picture perfect. Enjoy!
|Absolutely Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes|| |
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 TBS white sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- Additional butter, canola oil, or vegetable oil for pan
- Preheat oven to the "keep warm" setting (or about 160F) and place a couple of large baking sheets inside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
- While lightly stirring, drizzle the liquid into the dry ingredients and continue to stir gently until just combined, being careful not to overmix (lumps are okay!) Let the batter rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, heat a large heavy skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. When the pan is heated, test it by flicking a teeny bit of water onto the skillet and see if it sizzles.
- Add a bit of butter or oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to scoop each pancake onto the pan. Flip the pancakes when bubbles form and begin to pop on the service, 2-3 minutes. After flipping, allow to cook for about 2 minutes more. You can lift the edge of the pancake with the spatula to peek at the underside - it should be a pretty golden brown.
- Place cooked pancakes on the warmed baking sheets in the oven (do not stack) while you continue with the rest of the batter. Add more butter or oil to the pan as needed (if using butter, wipe the pan between each batch to prevent it from burning).
- Serve pancakes with pats of good quality butter, 100% maple syrup, and/or any toppings you wish.
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