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Pancake Problems

So, every time I cook pancakes, they ALWAYS turn out like this. I use a general homemade pancake batter, and they always have this weird, spirally scorch mark pattern. They still taste fine, but it'd be nice to have that lovely golden brown pancake-y goodness. Any tips?

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  1. Mine look just like that I never thought twice about it.

    Homemade batter, hot cast iron pan, spritz of vegetable oil=deliciousness

    1. I just made Johnny Cake pancakes this morning and they looked, ahem, homemade to say the least. But they tasted good.
      Normally, I do a better job of making decent looking pancakes using my Calphalon pan or electric griddle, but I've really never been able to turn out flat-top brown, IHOP-stack, fluffy hubcaps.

      1. Lower the temp of your skillet a tad. Too hot a skillet causes the batter to immediately release steam, lifting it from the cooking surface.

        When you pour the batter into the skillet, it cools the surface down. By the time the bubbles form in the batter, the cooking surface is much hotter. When you flip the pancake, the steam from the batter creates a less than perfect surface. Which is why there is a presentation side to a pancake.

        1. Your cooking surface may actually have too much shortening on it. Before you pour your batter, after the surface comes up to temperature, take a paper towel and wipe the surface so that you have only a scant film of butter or oil. I find that my first batch often look like yours but my second are almost always perfect -- a function of my griddle being hotter and having less fat on the griddle by bath no. 2. ( I'm always too impatient to wait so that the first batch will look better.)

          1. Your cakes look completely normal.
            The only time I get close to a uniform golden brown is when I cook them over low heat with a very thin film of oil.
            Takes two to three times as long to cook that way and everyone wants their cakes "NOW" so I usually don't bother.

            1. Looking at the picture I would go with the pan is too hot. Also, can we assume you only flip once? You should always only flip once. Those look a bit like crumpets to me. Is the top really wet when you flip? It looks like the bottoms are browning too much so you flip a little bit before you should. Try a lower heat. If you're using a really cheap non-stick type pan that could be the problem too. A heavy skillet, even non-stick, is best.

              1. 1. Change pans and heat your pan up slowly.
                2. Once the pan is heated add some canola or sunflower oil to the pan, remove the excess oil with a paper towel.
                3. Add a tablespoon of melted butter to your batter.
                4.. Test you pan heat with a little batter, the batter should sizzle in the pan. Your pan should not be smoking.
                5. Add batter to pan, turn when you see bubbles or holes on your pancake. Turn once only.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ruthie789

                  Your pan is too hot. Preheat for 5 minutes on a much Iower heat setting. Let your batter sit for at least 20 minutes until the chill is off it, and you see some bubbles. Then stir again before pouring the batter.

                  I completely agree with Ruthie's 5 points. The excess oil from #2 can be used for #3. Re #5, in addition to the bubbles, at least a quarter inch of the perimeter of the pancake should look dry. As when you sear meat (though obviously much lower heat is used here), when the pancake is ready to be turned, it will release easily when you poke the turner underneath it. If it starts to crimp/pleat, withdraw the turner and wait a little longer. A little cooking spray on the turner is not a bad idea, while you're at it.

                2. I think your batter is way too thick. Unless you like your pancakes that thick; in which case, never mind.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kengk

                    I like my pancakes thick, but this is different. If you look at the picture the bottom is spread out more than the top. To me, that means it was flipped before its time. Too wet so once flipped it spreads out making that rim. As I said above, it looks like they are flipping because the bottom is starting to burn, yet the batter isn't set enough yet.

                  2. Do they taste good?

                    If they do, then you don't have a problem IMO.

                    1. too much oil/grease on your cooking surface will cause that pattern, as will, to a much lesser extent, too much oil/grease in your batter.

                      1. Had something of a pancake "disaster" this weekend, and was hoping this thread had some ideas. My situation is that my pancakes just about always turn out perfect (basic Joy of Cooking recipe)...and then today, they came out totally weird. The biggest issue is that they totally resisted browning, even though the pan (cast iron) was well-seasoned, well-greased and plenty hot. They would eventually scorch and look like the OP's cakes if I left them in the pan long enough. For what it's worth, they tasted OK, but a little bland and rubbery (no, I didn't overmix...the batter was good and lumpy).