Have you ever succeeded in making pancakes at home that look, smell, feel or taste anything even remotely like the pancakes you buy at your favorite restaurant? Or are you one the legions who claim membership in a club that has bought every commercial pancake mix at the grocery and tried that Green Pan pancake flipper and stirred the mixes to every conceivable permutation of thickness and lumpiness and thinness? Then it’s a good thing you avoided Creepy Uncle Google today when you searched for information on making the perfect pancake because your search engine actually brought you to a useful place rather than one that your creepy uncle d irected you to for their own nefarious purposes. Because you are about to learn every single possible piece of information you will never need to know about batter mix to fix your pancake problems.
Commercial Pancake Mix
The first recommendation for creating the perfect pancake at home is to stop trying to make your own pancake mix unless you are adept in the kitchen. A great pancake mix needs a lot of different elements to be just right before you can even just stop wasting your time making really awful pancakes. Pancake mixes at the store probably cheaper than buying the ingredients separately, so just go with the pre-mixed batter making kit.
But Avoid Water Only Pancake Mix
When choosing pancake batter mix at the store these days, the bulk of choices available make a very big deal out of their ease of use by virtue of only needing water and mix. Well, if you expect to make great pancakes at home using only mix and water, then you deserve what you get. On the other hand, if you would actually like your pancakes to taste something like what you get at restaurants, then nix the mix that rely upon the increasing laziness of Americans when it comes to cooking. Instead, look for quality pancake batter mix that requires the addition of milk, eggs and oil.
But If You Do Use a Only-Add-Water Mix
Okay, so the effort and labor required to crack an egg, open a milk container and add a teaspoon or two of oil is just too much work for you, but you still want to try making the perfect pancake at home. Fine. As long as you are using the highest possible quality of water-only pancake mix, it is still possible to significantly improve the quality of your homemade pancakes. With one simple, yet extraordinarily important change in the ingredients. No, not milk. If the pancake mix recipe calls for just adding water, then water it is. But instead of using regular tap water, use carbonated water instead. If you have one of those SodaStream machines, use it to carbonate regular water and then use that water with your pancake mix . Otherwise, buy some soda water. Those little bubbles in carbonated water will add the fluffy quality that your pancakes have been missing.
Don’t Overmix Any Batter
Let’s face facts: those lumps in pancake batter are especially unappealing. We all have a natural tendency to want any food we are preparing to look good, but sometimes good looks and great taste don’t go together. A pancake batter that has been mixed to the point where there are no lumps left will never achieve perfection in the cooking. On the other hand, if your mix is too lumpy, you also won’t achieve perfection. The trick lies in trial and error. Try mixing pancake batter to different levels of lumpiness, take a picture of it before pouring and then eat. When you have finally created a pancake that you consider perfect, look at the picture you took and try to reach that level of lumpiness in the batter every time.
Refrigerate the Batter
If you take the time to reach the instructions on a box of pancake batter, you will see that you should set the batter aside for a few minutes before pouring it onto a pan. This gives the batter time to thicken up and you won’t be trying to convince yourself that something more akin to crepes are the same as good old-fashioned thick and fluffy American hotcakes. Increase the value of this process by not just setting the pancake batter aside to thicken, but by putting bowl into the refrigerator. Waiting as long as half an hour will result in significantly better tasting pancakes.
When do you flip a pancake to make it perfect? First rule of pancake club is that you never take your eyes of the prize. Don’t make pancakes while doing something else in the kitchen. Commit to the process. Only by standing guard over a cooking pancake can you ever hope to make them taste like the pancakes you order in restaurants. Look for the appearance of tiny little bubbles on the top surface. Not just one or two, but a system of bubbles. But not bubbles across the entire surface because by the time that happens, those first few bubbles will have popped. You want to flip your pancake before the bubbles start popping because every bubble that pops is the loss of precious gas that you want to keep inside the pancake to ensure it remains light, airy and fluffy instead of being served up flat in every sense of the word.