Before we became grandparents, I was perfectly happy letting my husband reign as the king of pancakes in our home, especially because they were usually accompanied by crispy bacon and a cappuccino! But once I had grandkids to cook for, I wanted to create those same funny shapes and letters made from pancake batter as my grandmother had made for me as a child. I quickly learned that there was more of an art to making great flapjacks than I realized, and it took a bad batch or two before I got serious about making the perfect pancake.
With trial and error, and a little research, I've learned some helpful tips and am proud to say my pancakes can now stack up against my husband's any day. Not only that, they also get decent reviews from the harshest food critics I know - the grandkids.
Tips for Light and Fluffy Pancakes
- Remember that pancakes are a form of pastry, and as with any type of baking, accurate measurements are a must.
- Use low-gluten flour and never use bread flour. Professional baker Dennis Weaver prefers unbleached pastry flour in his pancakes. Flour with high gluten content will make the cakes chewy and tough.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls to decrease mixing time. Over-mixing stretches the gluten and results in a tough cake. Use a large whisk (never an electric mixer) to combine ingredients until the batter is evenly moist. A batter with small, evenly dispersed lumps is a good thing.
- Heat the griddle to medium-high heat before oiling it. My mother used to sprinkle a few drops of cold water on the pan, and if the droplets "danced" along the top, it was deemed hot enough. If the water just sat and steamed it wasn't. Once the griddle is hot, wipe it with shortening or vegetable oil. I don't recommend cooking spray. I think it tends to gum up along the outside edges of the griddle.
- Flip once and only once! Wait until the batter is all bubbly and the sides are slightly dry before turning. Cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side depending on size.
The Best Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes Ever!
These cakes are fluffy, moist, light, but not too "cakey."
Yields Approximately 18 5-inch Pancakes
- 2 cups unbleached pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons raw sugar (or white)
- 3 cups low-fat buttermilk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- Approximately 3 cups fresh blueberries
Wash berries and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in ingredients in another. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until the batter is evenly moist but still has small lumps
Heat griddle to medium-high and wipe with a small amount of shortening or vegetable oil. Use a ¼ cup container to pour batter onto griddle. Cook as directed in tips. Sprinkle fresh blueberries directly onto the moist side of each pancake before flipping.
Serve with blueberry syrup.
Christmas Morning Pancakes
These hotcakes are decadent and will remind you slightly of crème brule with the rich flavor of eggnog and crunchy coating of sugar on one side.
Follow the proportions and directions for buttermilk pancakes, except replace the buttermilk with eggnog and omit blueberries. Liberally sprinkle the wet side of each pancake with raw sugar before flipping. Keep the griddle well oiled between pancakes so the sugar doesn't stick.
Serve with real maple syrup; no need for butter!