Pancakes are a staple that everyone should know how to cook. They are super easy, inexpensive and only involve a few simple ingredients -- you can even cheat by using a box of pancake mix. Even if you aren't much of a cook, you can fool people with a good stack of flapjacks.
But if you've ever wondered why your pancakes taste different from the impossibly fluffy ones you get at a diner, read on ahead. We're here to help you step up your pancake game.
The temperature of your liquid ingredients is super important. This might go against everything you've ever heard about baking, but pancakes thrive when your liquids are cold. So chill your oil, water, milk and eggs before mixing, or they will heat up the gluten in the flour and mess with the texture. Use melted butter, though.
The kind of batter you use is really not as important as what you do with it. Making your own batter will always score you extra points, but the most important part is to not overwork that gluten, or your pancakes will be tough. Just stir it until all the lumps are pea-sized, and you're ready to pour.
When the batter is ready to go, make sure the pancakes are going to sizzle. Let your pan warm up for a few minutes until it hits 350 degrees, roughly medium- to medium-high heat. And use as little fat as possible in your pan to keep the flapjacks from developing a crunchy crust. If you need a little something to keep the pancakes flipping with ease, rub a little Crisco on the pan with a paper towel before you turn the stove on.
The next thing you want to do is look for bubbles so you know it's time to flip, right? Wrong. If you wait for bubbles, you might overcook it. It's better to keep an eye on the edges of your pancake. Once you see an edge or lip forming along with a couple bubbles, flip it!
If you want to use mix-ins, keep them to a minimum, especially anything gooey or runny, as it will impact the texture. If you're serving a large group of people, stick with making a lot of small pancakes instead of a few large ones. That way, everyone gets hot pancakes at the same time.
Now go forth and wow your brunch guests.