Recently I received a comment asking to dive a little deeper into making the perfect pancakes. With a request like that I went directly to the best pancake cook I know, my mom. Armed with over 20 years of Sunday brunches she can make those little fluffy breakfast delights in her sleep. Using them as a vehicle to clean out the fridge we have had almost every fruit and spice combination over the years. So I sat down with mom and discovered her top ten perfect pancake tips:
1. Embrace the lumps. Mix the batter until it is blended but don’t worry about mixing it until all the lumps are gone.
2. Keep it Plain Jane at first. Adding fruit can change the liquidity of the batter. Adding things like bananas, berries, and chocolate chips have little effect. Items like peaches, pumpkin puree, orange juice, etc., mean you will have to back down the amount of liquid you use. Make a couple plain batches first so you can get an idea on what the batter should feel like, that way when you alter the recipe you can ensure you have the right consistency.
3. Leave the butter on the table. Oil or bacon fat is best because it has the right heat point and wont burn like butter. (Besides, using bacon fat gives you a reason to serve bacon on the side of your pancakes).
4. Hot Pan! Keep your pan on Medium to High heat and make sure your fat is hot as well. When water is sprinkled it should have a nice sizzle. You may need to decrease the temperature depending on how many pancakes you are making but remember…hot pan/hot fat!
5. Keep your pan greased. Add Oil/Fat after every 2-3 pancakes. You only need to add a small amount, less than a tablespoon. Remember, you want hot oil/fat so don’t just throw the batter in as soon as the cold oil is added, let it heat back up. A nice trick is to use the hot bacon grease from the bacon you just fried up to accompany those lovely pancakes.
6. At First you Don’t Succeed, try try again. The first pancake will not be perfect. Typically the pan is not quite ready. Don’t get discouraged just think of it as a snack while cooking.
7. Ladle Up. Use some form of measurement to ensure you have an equal amount of batter per pancake. A ladle or mug or measuring cup works great. This way you can time the finished product better because each cake has a consistent amount of batter.
8. Embrace the imperfections. Pancakes aren’t perfectly round (unless you use a cookie cutter or special pan). To help minimize the odd shapes, when pouring batter pour using a circular motion starting from the center and working out. This will keep it more or less in a round shape.
9. Watch the Bubbles. Pancakes are ready for their first flip when the bubbles rise to the top. It is a very easy way to help your timing.
10. Not all pans are equal. Different pans cook pancakes differently. Stainless steel can take about 1 1/2 minutes while cast iron can take 2 1/2 minutes. After a few batches you will find the pan that you like best.
Most of all, enjoy pancakes with the ones you love…that always makes them taste better!!!