How to Cook Perfect Pancakes - Modern Alternative Mama
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How to Cook Perfect Pancakes

admin May 18, 2010

Pancakes.

Depending on the recipe, I can love them or hate them.  I grew up eating your standard Bisquick pancakes, and although I liked them, I got tired of them really fast.  But it was what I was used to, so the one time my mom hauled out her cookbooks and made “real” waffles (yes, I know, not pancakes…but we used Bisquick for both), my brother and I both didn’t like that they were slightly sweet and said we preferred the mix.  As my mother didn’t like to cook much anyway, she never bothered again.

So as an adult, I had to learn to make good pancakes myself.  I’ve experimented with many different recipes, recently settling on my buttermilk pancakes recipe.  It is SO good…I could (ha, I DO!) eat them everyday.  And if you don’t use sprouted flour like I do, it lends itself well to soaking.

But, through trying all these different recipes and variations, I have found a few constants in making truly perfect pancakes.  Today I’ll share these with you.  (And by the way, if you want fresh pancakes all the time, you can either make up a double batch and then freeze them — they toast well — or mix all the dry ingredients together and keep it in a container, pulling out about 1.5 cups each time and mixing with 1 egg, a little vanilla, and about 1 cup buttermilk.  That’s just as easy as Bisquick!)

First, you’ll need to mix up your recipe.  Generally, you’ll want to mix the dry ingredients together first (if you haven’t done this ahead of time), then add in the wet.  The nice thing about my buttermilk pancake recipe is that it doesn’t call for any melted butter or oil so it’s very easy to mix.  You can also add as much or as little buttermilk as you want, depending on if you want thick or thinner pancakes.  I recommend somewhere in the middle.

 

Second, start heating your pan on medium-high.  You can use a griddle if you have one, but I don’t.  I hear they’re a must for large families, but we haven’t gotten there yet.  Hmm…I wonder if my parents are still using theirs?  Maybe I could “borrow” it. 🙂

Some of you are saying, “Wait!  Shouldn’t you start to heat the pan as soon as you start mixing the batter?  It saves time!”  But, no.  You actually want the batter to rest for a little while before you make the pancakes, so waiting to heat the pan until after you’ve finished mixing the batter will force you to do this.  Seriously, leave it alone for 10 or 15 minutes.

Get your butter out of the fridge.  I make my own.  I’ll post a cool tutorial on that in a couple weeks, when I do it again.  Can you tell how yellow that butter is?  It was made from my local raw milk and it is awesome!

 

Now, put your butter in the pan.  It should immediately sizzle and melt, and may brown SLIGHTLY.  If it browns a lot or smokes…your pan is too hot.  Take it off the heat for a minute and turn the heat down.

 

Use a spoon or small ladle to make your pancakes.  I use whatever’s handy.  Your pancakes should start to sizzle around the edges IMMEDIATELY.  If the first one doesn’t, don’t add any more.

 

That part is VERY IMPORTANT.  If your pan isn’t hot enough when you add the batter, your pancakes won’t rise.  If it’s too hot, they’ll burn before the inside is cooked enough to flip.  So it must be very hot, but not too hot.  You’ll catch on after a batch or two.

When the bubbles are just starting to pop and stay open (as opposed to filling in), gently flip the pancakes.  If they resist flipping and feel like they’ll fall apart if you try, wait slightly longer.  But if you wait until there are many bubbles popped and still open, they’ll be burned.

 

They really only need to stay in the pan just another minute or two, to finish cooking.  Then, remove them and put them on a plate, preferably inside a towel that will keep them nice and warm.  Or not, if you’re going to freeze them.  They’re also good served immediately and covered with lots of butter and some maple syrup (real, please, not that fake stuff).

Add more butter to your pan before starting the next batch.  This is why my buttermilk pancakes really don’t need butter: they’ll get plenty during cooking.  So you must add butter between EVERY batch.

Cook the rest of the batches the same way, being careful that your pan never gets too hot.  It’s easy for that to happen with subsequent batches and you may want to turn your pan down just slightly to prevent it.

I hope you have a nice stack of perfect pancakes now!  I know I do!  Time to enjoy. 🙂

 

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3 Comments

  1. I appreciate the effort, but honestly, these pancakes don’t look so perfect to me. They look nearly burnt. I’m not sure what kind of bottom is on that pan that you are using, but I suspect it’s the culprit. I prefer seasoned cast iron for pancakes. The heat is much easier to control. Also, you won’t have to butter the pan before each batch.

    You also said: "If your pan isn’t hot enough when you add the batter, your pancakes won’t rise. If it’s too hot, they’ll burn before the inside is cooked enough to flip. So it must be very hot, but not too hot". This is true except for your last sentence. The answer is to have the pan on medium heat, not "very hot". Your pancakes will rise and brown gently and they will cook all the way through, and they won’t burn.

    More important to note is that with pancakes – and any food that you cook in batches, the pan gets hotter with each batch (unless you use an electric griddle with a thermostat). So if you start out with a "very hot" pan for the first batch, the third batch will be charcoal. Unless, of course, you are removing the pan from the heat between batches to cool it down.

    Once again, I appreciate the effort that you took to write this post because not enough people are cooking from scratch these days and it should be encouraged, so thanks for that.

    Reply

  2. Sue,

    Thanks for your comments and recommendation on cast iron — I keep meaning to get mine out, but haven’t yet! Maybe this will be my motivation.

    We enjoy adding butter to the pan between each batch, for the flavor and added fat. We also like the pancakes well the way they came out. They are very slightly burned, yes, but they are also fluffy and light and moist, NOT easy to achieve with sprouted flour! I also did note in the post that you should turn the pan down a bit after the first batch to help control the heat. But, thanks for your notes.

    If you haven’t been here before, look around and see some of my other recipes — there are several, and according to the comments many are excellent. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Yum a dum dum, these look delicious! I am going try try to make these darlings later on tonight. Wow I am hungry just looking at your lovely pictures of these tastey treats. Thanks for the guide on making them!!!!

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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