Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Secret to Fluffy Pancakes

The secret to fluffy pancakes is to own about 10,000 mixing/prep bowls. You're going to need them all.  OK, maybe just 6. And start with an empty dishwasher.

Don't laugh.

Actually, the secret is to separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Folding the fluffy egg white into the batter lightens it up considerably.  Of course, the recipe works just fine and still tastes wonderfully buttery if you ignore that step and just stir your pancake batter as normal.
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 a stick) of butter, melted (**Mixing bowl number 1)
  • 2 eggs, separated (**Mixing bowls number 2 and 3)
  1. Preheat your griddle according to its directions. (My current one needs to be set at 375 and preheat a really long time. Its predecessor needed 325 and about 30 seconds of heating)
  2. In one large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the milk, melted butter, and egg yolks.
  4. In yet another medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until they hold a peak. We're talking meringue here. (I use a handheld electric mixer for this task, since my much-beloved Kitchenaid stand mixer won't touch less than about 6 egg whites. And I don't doing this by hand unless you have 20 extra minutes and exceedingly strong wrists...).
  5. Add the egg yolk-milk mixture to the dry mixture and stir until its mostly combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy (In part because the butter will begin re-solidifying into little droplets as it cools. Mmm..butter.).
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula. (Folding, for any cooking newbies, means to stir really carefully and gently. You don't want to collapse all of the bubbles that you whisked into the egg whites.)
  7. Grease or don't grease your griddle. Greasing (or buttering) sometimes results in a crispier bottom to the pancakes. Sometimes it results in burned-on oil on the griddle. I typically skip greasing since my griddle releases pancakes just fine if you let them cook long enough.
  8. Pour batter circles onto your griddle. Cook on the first side until the uncooked tops look slightly dry. The bottoms should be lightly golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is also lightly golden brown.
  9. Pass the maple syrup. Feel free to butter your 'cakes if you like, but with the butter in the batter I never need it. (say that 10 times fast. Butter in the batter).
  10. Makes about 16-20 4" pancakes.

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