Help My Pancakes!
Although my 'cakes have been steadily improving, they still turn out chewey, rather than fluffy & cakelike. My recipie uses: 2 cups flour, 1.5-2 cups milk, 1-2 eggs, 2 tbsp baking powder, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp melted butter, & a pinch of salt. Any thoughts or faultless recipies?
Another vote for overmixing/gluten. Are you using all purpose flour? In addition to mixing less, try subbing some cake flour or cornstarch for a few tablespoons of the AP flour. This will lower the overall gluten content so the batter will be more forgiving.
If you are worried about lumps, let the batter sit a little while in the fridge, they'll melt into the rest of the batter.
You listed the ingredients, but not your method of cooking them. Is your pan hot enough? Are you over-mixing?
You might also replace the milk with buttermilk and add a quarter or half a teaspoon of baking SODA along with 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder (instead of the 2). BTW, you state 2 tablespoons of baking powder. That's A LOT of baking powder! Do you mean teaspoons?
buttermilk (or milk mixed with lemon juice), 2-4 T sugar, 2-4 T melted butter 1/2 t soda, reduce the powder to 2-3 t. (I use the larger amount, but I don't want to scare anyone.) I think I cook them about 30sec to 1 min per side. Bubbles on top and the edges starting to dry when you flip them.
I can only tell you that my daughter loves these pancakes and I make them for her every Wed (have the recipe memorized).
Mix dry ingredients with a whisk
A little less than 1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp sugar
Then add wet ingredients
a little more than 1 cup buttermilk (I use lowfat)
1 egg (I use xlarge)
a small amount of vegetable oil (guessing about 1-2tbsp)
Mix well. Cook on preheated griddle (I put mine on Medium to preheat and by the time I have the batter mixed up it's hot)
Hope this works for you.
Overmixing the batter, getting it all nice and smooth, develops teh gluten, that nice stuff that lets bread stretch so it can rise from the yeast production. So, in pancakes that translates to chewy.
You want to mix as little as possible, leaving lumps. If this seems hard. you can mix the batter (without the baking power) and let it set overnight in the frig. In the Am just quick stir in your leavening and set to go.
My Joy of Cooking (1974) says that most pancake batters should rest, covered for 3-6 hours or longer, before cooking. It says that this doesn't apply to recipes containing separately beaten egg whites or yeast-based cakes. Surprisingly, it doesn't say not to do it with other leavening. I've followed this, making the batter the night before--with baking soda/powder--and had my pancakes turn out well.
As to the original question, I'm also sure that overmixing was the problem. Ignore the lumps.
re: homesick for food
I put oats in them - much lighter than all flour. My recipe is:
Mix 1 cup rolled oats (fine) and 1 and 1/3 cup milk and leave to stand 5 mins.
Stir in 2 beaten eggs mixed with a tablespoon vegetable oil
Stir in 2/3 cup flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
Quick & easy and they come out fluffy every time. Strangely, you can't really detect the oats in the texture.
Are you really using 2 tablespoons of baking powder as you wrote, or 2 teaspoons? It should be 2-3 teaspoons for that flour. Use the lower end of the milk and 1 egg if you want them on the cakey side. I personally like my pancakes thin and non-cakey; see my recipe at www.littlecomptonmornings.blogspot.com. And as others have pointed out, do not overmix.
I cast my vote for not enough butter. You need the fat to make your cakes tender. I think lack of fat is more likely the culprit than over mixing, but I agree go easy with the whisk. Here is my no-fail recipe:
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 T sugar
mix then add to dry:
1 c. milk
3 T melted butter
Alton Brown's recipe for buttermilk pancakes is amazing. You should stir no more then 10 seconds...lumps will cook out, make sure you use a nice big whisk to stir too. If you're using a bad mixing tool where it takes longer to mix, it'll toughen up the pancakes.
Instead of trying more fat try adding apple sauce. I just add about 1/4 cup or so the same amount as is in one of those single serves of apple sauce. It'll keep things moist and add a nice flavor.
Just wondering- what does adding lemon juice do to the mix?
If you want a more cake-like richness to your pancakes substitute yogurt for 25% of the milk. If you like that push it up to 50%. If you like that better, then by all means go for glory.
And yes, I agree with the many posters who said overbeating is the cause of most bad pancakes and that separating out your egg whites, whipping them up good and folding them back into the mix make an amazing improvement.
Next stop, buckwheat pancakes.