Here is a post from my fellow cheapie, peach-toting, blog-a-holic friend Christine. She has some great ideas and recipes for keeping things frugal and yummy. Check out her thoughtful blog when you're done reading here! http://www.thegoodthepureandthelovely.blogspot.com/
The Illusive "Perfect" Pancake
I spent many years looking for the perfect pancake recipe. Well, let's
backtrack a little. I have always loved pancakes, but not just any pancake. I
love pancakes that are light, fluffy and delicious. What I really want is a
pancake-house style pancake. What I really don't want, is to pay for a
pancake-hose pancake. I also really don't want to have to drive and then wait
for that pancake. What's in a pancake, really? Flour, milk, sugar, eggs, fat
. . . I can do that, right?
Now, back to the search for the recipe. For years, I tried pancake recipes. I
tried them out of a mix, I tried whole wheat, I tried "yeasty" pancakes, but
they didn't live up. Then one day, my good friend, (good friend being a long
stretch . . . I watch his shows, he doesn't know I exist) Alton Brown did a
show on the perfect pancake. I learned a lot from him. Turns out, it's not the
recipe, but the method that makes the pancake. I took what I learned from him,
and then made it more to my taste. This is the method, as I have tweaked it
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar, heaped
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, separated
1 cup milk
2 tsp margarine (or butter), melted
You will need to amass a large array of bowls, two whisks and a griddle for this
project. Sounds like a lot, yes, but it's worth it.
First, whisk the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk and whisk some more
until they are fully integrated.
Next, separate your egg(s) into two more separate (but smaller) bowls. Beat the
yolk with a whisk or fork. Then take the melted margarine (I know it's not good
for you, but they make the lightest, fluffiest pancakes) and drizzle it into
the yolk slowly while still whisking. Don't go too fast. You are making an
emulsification. You can see Alton Brown's work for the full scientific
explanation, but in short, you are mixing the fat with the protein. When they
are fully mixed, add the whites back in and mix thoroughly. Now, add in the
milk and whisk again.
You now have two bowls left standing. One holds the dry ingredients, the other
the wet. Please make a well in your dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients
into the dry and mix with your largest whisk. Incorporate the dry stuff from
the sides. Please stop mixing well before the batter is smooth. You should see
lumps, lots of little lumps. Leave them be, they make the pancakes, and in turn
you very, very happy.
The griddle should have been turned on before you mixed the dry and wet
ingredients. You are looking for the griddle to be around 350 degrees. When
you flick a few droplets of water on the griddle, they should "dance" across the
griddle until they evaporate.
Now that both the griddle and the batter are ready, pour the batter in small
circles on the griddle. I like to make a row of three pancakes on top, and a
row of two on the bottom to leave room to flip the pancakes easily. Look for
the bubbles on the pancakes to pop and not fill completely and the edges to
appear "dry". Then, you know you can flip the pancakes. Watch them on the
second side, they will "steam" when they are ready to flip. You can even lift
them a little to look for that perfect, golden color. Now, plate those pancakes
and pour a little syrup over them and enjoy.
I must admit that one batch is never enough for my family of five. I usually
make a quadruple batch. That makes enough for one large meal, and then I freeze
the rest for the kids to have for other breakfasts. The re-heated pancakes do
loose some of the light, fluffy texture, but who are we kidding, the kids just
really want the syrup! Go forth, make pancakes and enjoy!
Alton Brown's original "Perfect Pancake"