I like to learn about different recipes online but sometimes I come across advice that I think is not the best. Case in point, the other day I was looking for KitchenAid Mixer recipes and I found one for pancakes. Now, the problem with the recipe wasn't in the list of ingredients. Rather, it was a problem with the preparation. It called for using an electric stand mixer to make the batter. For me pancakes are all about being soft and light and fluffy.
They should not be dense or chewy or gummy in any way. If I wanted that, I could make a trip to one of those all night breakfast joints and get a stack of hockey puck flap jacks. You should always treat pancake batter delicately because of a special protein called gluten.
This 2 part protein, made up of glutenin and gliadin, is created when you mix up flour and any liquid. This is perfectly ok when you are making bread because gluten adds body and density to your dough. But if you over mix your pancake batter, instead of light fluffy wonders you get tough and chewy results.
So, the next time you want to enjoy some pan fried goodness for breakfast, leave your mixer tucked neatly away. Instead, follow this basic cooking process. Now any basic recipe that you like for making pancakes will do. But you need to take extra care when you start mixing the dry and wet ingredients together.
You should first start by mixing the wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Now, before you add the wet to the dry, get prepared. An electric griddle is probably the best appliance for cooking pancakes at home but if you have to use a frying pan, that will also work.
There are 2 differences. An electric griddle has a built-in thermostat which means the heat will remain more constant than with a pan on the stove. Second, the griddle means you can cook a lot more pancakes at the same time. I use a pan on the stove myself but I never cook more than one pancake at a time and I keep them warm in the oven till ready to serve.
It's not the best but I have no more room to store a griddle so I chose not to buy one. Using my stove, I heat the pan for 2 minutes at level 5. Then I turn down the heat to 4 when cooking. If I notice that things are taking too long, I increase the heat for about another minute and then lower to 4 again. With your cooking device preheated you can now mix the batter.
It needs to be done as quickly and effectively as possible to avoid a lot of gluten forming. The easiest way to accomplish this is with the dump and fold method. Literally dump the wet ingredients on top of the dry and fold with a large spatula for up to 15 seconds. Then stop. You may have some lumps but don't worry about them as they will normally disappear during the cooking process.
You are now in a position to cook the pancakes. With your pan preheated place a large dollop of batter on it and wait for the bubbles to form around the edge. This normally takes about 2 minutes. The bubbles tells you that you can safely flip the pancake. It should be brown on the bottom and not pale.
If it is not dark enough it usually means your heat is too low. Next carefully flip your pancake and cook the second side until it too is browned nicely. I always use real maple syrup on my pancakes.
It tastes so much better than the 'other' stuff you find in your supermarkets which are often made from high fructose corn syrup, etc. And since I put all the effort into keep the pancakes light and fluffy I think they deserve to be 'dressed' properly. So, the next time you crave pancakes for breakfast (or dinner) make sure you leave the KitchenAid mixer out of the picture.
Instead use a quick stir to mix up the batter and you are sure to have some of the most amazing and fluffy pancakes around.
Marcy Givens is a amature baker who decided to learn how to bake by watching shows and reading books about cooking. She has learned some important lessons and secrets for selecting the proper Kitchenaid mixers and attachments which she encourages you to read.