Intro: How to Make Excellent Pancakes
Why, hello there! You've arrived at the perfect time, I was just about to make a batch of my favourite fluffy pancakes! In this lesson, I'll teach you exactly how I make them so that you can make your own.
The best part of this recipe is how simple the recipe is! A close second is that these pancakes are the best that I've ever personally eaten, but I'll leave that judgment up to you once you've finished making these.
Step 1: Equipment & Ingredients
The most important thing that you need to know before starting any cooking adventure is the equipment and ingredients that you will need.
2 cups White Flour
2 tbsp. Sugar
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. melted butter (can substitute with oil, I personally use vegetable oil here)
2 cups Milk
Electric Mixer with whisk attachment (Not strictly required, but it'll make everything a lot easier)
Griddle (For cooking the pancakes on)
Measuring Spoons (Tablespoon and teaspoon)
1 cup dry measuring cup (For measuring larger amounts of ingredients)
2 cup liquid measuring cup (For measuring and mixing wet ingredients)
1/4 - 1/3 cup dry measuring cup (Works well for measuring batter onto the griddle)
Whisk (You really only need this if you aren't using an electric mixer, but it's a useful thing to have around anyway.)
Spatula (For flipping the pancakes)
Step 2: Mixing the Dry Ingredients
The first step is to measure the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl if you're using an electric mixer, or into a large mixing bowl if you aren't. This means measuring out the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and putting them in the bowl. Stir them around a bit if you'd like, but DON'T start the mixer yet (all you'll do is blow the flour into the air, and it tends to make everything around it very white.
A note on accuracy: As with all cooking, accuracy isn't the most important thing, and this recipe is fairly hard to mess up. Be as accurate as possible, but it doesn't have to be 100% accurate, and don't panic if you accidentally spill a little bit extra of something into the bowl, chances are it'll still work out just fine.
Step 3: Mixing the Wet Ingredients
This is a good example of the accuracy I was talking about in the last step. The way I do this ends up with a bit less milk than the recipe calls for, but I find that it turns out better, with slightly thicker batter.
First, crack two eggs into your two cup liquid measuring cup. Add the two tablespoons of oil (or melted butter, whichever one you're using) to the measuring cup, and then fill it to the two cup mark with milk.
NOTE: If you don't have a two cup measuring cup, you can put the eggs and oil straight into the mixing bowl, but use around 1 3/4 cups of milk instead of the full 2.
Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl, then proceed to the next step!
Step 4: Putting It All Together
Assuming that you now have the dry and liquid ingredients in your mixing bowl, we can now mix all the ingredients together!
Your bowl might be fairly full now, depending on the size of it, so be extra careful when beginning to mix. Start out slowly so that none of the pancake-y goodness sloshes out of the bowl, and gradually increase speed. Your goal is to get all the ingredients nicely blended together so that there are no lumps of flour or anything else left in the finished pancakes.
NOTE: While you want to make sure everything is well mixed, take care not to over mix. Over mixing flour causes gluten to form, which will make your pancakes chewy, not soft and fluffy as pancakes should be.
Step 5: Preparing to Cook
Once the ingredients are all blended (but not over-mixed), set aside the bowl of pancake batter for a moment, and prepare your cooking space. In the center of it all should be your griddle. Have your 1/3 or 1/4 cup measuring cup for pouring handy, as well as your spatula. Make sure you also have room for your bowl of pancake batter.
Get your griddle hot, however yours happens to work. Mine is electric, but some people prefer stovetop types. A frying pan can also do the trick, although you won't be able to do as many at a time. As it's warming up, put a little bit of melted butter or oil (whatever you used in the batter) onto the pan and slide it around a bit so that it lightly covers the whole griddle. Once the griddle is hot, we can begin to cook!
NOTE: How do you tell if the pan is hot? Get a little bit of water on the tips of your fingers and flick the drops onto the pan. They drops will immediately boil and steam away. If they don't, it's not quite ready.
Step 6: Cooking the Pancakes
Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for, we get to cook the pancakes!
Working fairly quickly but carefully, pour between 1/4 and 1/3 of batter onto the pan around 4 times, depending on the size. You don't want them much bigger than that, as they'll be harder to cook and flip.
This is the slightly tricky part, but with practice, you'll get it. The secret to making awesome pancakes is to only flip them once, so you have to make sure they're ready before you flip them. You'll know because the tops will begin to bubble (see the attached picture). Slide the spatula under the pancake and flip it over, trying not to land it on top of any other pancakes.
It's trickier to know when they're completely done, it's more intuition that you'll gain with time. It'll take approximately half to three-quarters of the time the first side did, but that's only approximate. You'll get a feel for it as you go along. If you need to, make a little cut in the center of the pancake with your spatula, and press down with the flat side. If batter comes out, it's not done. If none comes out, it's done.
NOTE: Instructables user karossii suggests that watching for the bubbles isn't necessarily the best way to tell if they're ready to flip, as this could cause under- or over-done pancakes if your cooking temperature is wrong. A better method is to watch the edge of the pancakes. "When they solidify (get cooked) and pull away from the cooking surface slightly, they are ready. If you like your pancakes darker, wait until the done-ness creeps all the way up the side and the entire edge of the pancake, top to bottom, is firm."
Step 7: Serving the Pancakes
There are many options for serving these. My personal favorite is with butter/margarine and syrup, but you can use pretty much any combination of the following:
- Fresh/Frozen berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries... the possibilities are endless!)
- Fruit Sauce or Jam
- Powdered Sugar (Sift a little bit onto the top of the stack)
- Ice Cream (Dessert? I think so!)
Step 8: Modifications
- Chocolate Chip Pancakes - Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter once the other ingredients are blended together. Or if you just want to make a few, sprinkle some chocolate chips onto the top before you flip.
- Blueberry Pancakes - Again, either add 1 cup of frozen blueberries to the batter, or sprinkle a few onto the top before flipping.
- Apple Pancakes - Add 1 tsp of cinnamon with the other dry ingredients. Add 1 cup of fresh apple sliced into small-ish pieces once the other ingredients are blended together.
- Whole Wheat Pancakes - Substitute half of the flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Increase the amount of baking powder slightly, as whole wheat flour is heavier and won't rise as readily.