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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?

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  1. my dad separates his eggs and whips the whites until they form soft peaks, then folds them into the batter just before cooking--maybe that would help?

    3 Replies
      1. re: Sophia.

        The egg white strategy is a great one for both pancakes and waffles. So is the one not to mix. The batter will be lumpy, probably more lumpy than you think could possibly taste good. I would say that fingernail sized lumps throughout are fine.

        1. re: Sophia.

          My father also did this and made the lightest pancakes ever.

        2. Are you over-beating the batter? You don't want to overdo it, just enough to mix. A few small lumps are okay.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bakergal

            I bet this answer is right on the money. Pancake batter should be on the lumpy side. If you're mixing it until it's smooth and lump-free, you'll have tough pancakes, because more beating = more gluten.

            1. re: ricepad

              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.

              1. re: ricepad

                I think this is it too, I had that happen when I was trying to "smoothen" the batter. IMHO Buttermilk also makes for a lighter pancake.

            2. 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?

              1. speaking of good pancakes, i once dated a guy who made these outrageously thick and puffy pancakes, like triple the size of a normal one. They were cooked through and divine...How'd he do it?

                1 Reply
                1. re: lollya

                  There is a baked puffy pancake recipe in which the cake is cooked sort of like a frittata. Extra leavening is in there.

                2. 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.

                  1. 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.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: SharonOhio

                      Less than a cup of flour and more than a cup of liquid?

                      1. re: Quine

                        Yeah, really is a little less than a cup of flour (maybe a couple tablespoons less) and a little more than a cup of buttermilk (a cup works fine too)

                      2. re: SharonOhio

                        I like this recipe because it uses a lot less flour. Which I think could also contribute to a heavier pancake.

                      3. 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.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Quine

                          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.

                        2. OK, thanks for all of your help so far! I have in fact tried to avoid overmixing & have no problem w/lumps, so I will refrain even more & try some of your tips.

                          1 Reply
                          1. 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.

                          2. 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.

                            1. 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:
                              1c. flour
                              2 t. baking powder
                              1/2 t. salt
                              2 T sugar

                              mix then add to dry:
                              1 egg
                              1 c. milk
                              3 T melted butter

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Procrastibaker

                                I agree there could be more fat, and fat would help tenderize, but that is not why they are not cakey the way she likes them. I think she's using too much bp and liquid.


                              2. 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.

                                1. 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?

                                  1. 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.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: inuksuk

                                      my dad does the yogurt sub for milk in his corn bread and everyone raves about it- sometimes it makes the pancakes too moist so you gotta be careful.

                                    2. I use the Southaven Farm baking mixes -- www.southavenfarm.com -- for pancakes. You have to add milk and yogurt and they truly make divine pancakes (muffins too). I especially love the ginger spice ones.