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Jan 28, 2005 09:55 AM

EXPLAINING PANCAKE SCIENCE: Recipe for the BEST pancakes you've ever eaten/made etc.

  • j

I am looking for a great pancake recipe. If you can, Could you also mention how I could change the recipe if i feel like it; the science behind it etc.
e.g. number of eggs,
egg whites instead of whole eggs,
using oil instead of or in addition to egg yolks
flour to liquid ratio
including other fillers like grated apple
using chemical leaveners and how much
using buttermilk or yogurt instead of regular milk

Muchas Gracias.

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  1. f

    Alton Brown's Good Eats show had a pancake episode that may help you. Only the recipe is posted on the Food Network website, but here is a link to the Good Eats Fan Page episode index. From here you can locate episodes by title or topic and then click to get to the actual transcript for that episode, which is where a lot of the good information is located.


    1. I think Martha Stewart's recipe is the best one I've tried for pancakes.

      Some things I have learned experimenting with pancakes:

      1) Only use all-purpose flour and no cake or bread flour. Some small substitution of buckwheat flour instead of AP flour makes it taste different (although I like using all AP flour).

      2) Buttermilk is much better than regular milk.

      3) The ratio of leaveners to flour in the recipe below seems to be just right.

      4) Don't overbeat the batter.


      2 Replies
      1. re: cornflower

        I use a home-made recipe I've developed over the years (which I will not share), which uses part whole wheat flour and part all-purpose flour. Also, if you use buttermilk, you need to reduce the baking soda and increase the baking powder (to keep the acid/base ratio correct). The best way to keep the batter from turning purple if you add blueberries is to drop the blueberries into the pancakes as soon as you put them on the griddle, rather than to mix them into the batter.

        1. re: Susan H

          I second the lowering of baking soda when using buttermilk, but I must say that purple pancakes look very pretty!

          Can I ask why you 'will not share'? I'm interested to know - I've never come across a cook (especially here) who won't. I don't want to sound iffy or aggressive, but I'd be interested to know if you actually have a good reason.

      2. Hi,

        I make the basic pancake batter in the Joy of Cooking skipping the melted butter; which nobody appears to miss.

        To start cooking, I melt the barest amount of butter in the frying pan or griddle for the very first pancake. After the first pancake is cooked, I don't need any more butter.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Cathy2

          That's so funny -- I was just about to write in specifically about my disaster following the Joy of Cooking recipe. I'm doing this from memory, but I recall it has a range of melted butter -- like 3-12 tablespoons, suggesting the more you use the better. I used a middle amount, and it was greasy and disgusting.

        2. Roker On The Road was doing a show about diners the other night, and one of the diners he visited in Minneapolis specializes in pancakes. The chef makes his batter from scratch, in a big commercial mixer and he made a point of saying that he beats all the eggs seperately in the mixer for 20 minutes so he can get a lot of volume in them.

          That intrigued me, how the eggs might add a lot of lightness to the batter. Then he flipped a cake on the griddle and it was beautiful looking, puffed and golden colored.

          So for what its worth, beat the heck out of the eggs seperately and get some air in them.

          Please do report back.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chino Wayne

            If you have ever made Claudia Flemming's Chocolate Brownie cookies you would see how that long beating of the eggs adds to the leavening. With the cookies you beat the eggs for 15 minutes. They are great.

            1. re: Chino Wayne

              I don't know about beating the eggs separately for 20 minutes, but when I make pancakes (which I do almost every weekend), I separate the eggs and beat the whites by hand for about a minute and I think this adds lightness to the batter. I also usually replace about one-sixth of the flour with oats. I'm no expert on the science behind pancakes, but the recipe I like most calls for both buttermilk and milk and both baking powder and baking soda.

            2. My classic recipe for pancakes is from "Laurel's Kitchen." I add 1/4 c quick-cooking oats, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1/4 c grated apple. I'm not sure what kind of pancake you're looking for -- they're not the most fluffy or cake-like, and don't much resemble the kind you'd find at a diner or waffle house. Rather, they are toothsome, fairly flat, and very homey.

              I achieve pancake success when I mix thoroughly, but minimally, and cook the first side for about 3-4 min over med heat. What kind of heat do other posters suggest? I'm still figuring this one out. All I know for now is that too hot = no good.