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The pancake topic to end all pancake topics


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1 hour ago, DougL said:

Well, OK, but there are a lot of posts online that says that bread flour should be OK. Also, I NEVER use cake flour for anything.

I'll use milk instead of sour cream and yogurt, but that won't be as acidic. Acidity is important if you're using baking soda, but not really

for baking powder. Your recipe calls for a very small amount of leavening, maybe half that of most recipes. I have a hard time

understanding how that contributes to fluffiness. I'd agree that a thicker batter may be the solution.

 

IDK about posts online, I trust my experience and a a good few well-curated sources. I don't use cake flour either, but surely AP is better than bread flour for cakes and pancakes.

The main reason to use a cultured dairy is that it adds moisture but keeps the batter thick. But it also adds plenty of flavor.

The soda is indeed used to counter the acidic dairy, but it's also a very potent raising agent, about 3 times as strong as baking powder if i remember correctly. That's why only a little is needed overall.

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in all my days, I have never heard or seen any place recommending bread flour for pancakes (or waffles)....

 

I do them (batch of six)

140  g AP flour

50 g granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

add

one large egg beaten into 250 g milk(*)

(*) the amount of milk depends on your flour brand - they all hydrate differently, so start thick and add more as needed

 

I also agree, the thickness of the batter greatly affects the fluffy / height.

pick a brand flour, stick with it.  buying the cheapest store label usually makes for grief because they are not consistent.

then experiment, and write down, the grams of each so you can replicate 'on demand'DSC_3804s.thumb.jpg.d62ea060295b4159482eb032c58c7cad.jpg

 

 

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4 hours ago, DougL said:

So, I'm stumped. I can't seem to make fluffy pancakes. They come out kinda flat. I use the standard baking powder/flour ratio (1 tbsp/2 cups, with fresh baking powder!). I usually use bread flour, but sometimes all-purpose.

What's the trick? My baking powder biscuits and breads always come out great.

I searched for years for a fluffy and high rising pancake.  Finally found a recipe that works for me.  Thick and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.  Hope they are what you're looking for.  

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I copied @Kim Shook recipe. I'll try it soon.  I don't make pancakes or waffles very often and usually use (Formerly know as Aunt Jemima) brand. I usually have to throw it away because I use it so little, it passes its expiration date. Since it uses only added water, I can make small amounts but I know scratch made are considered better and this looks like a good one.

 

PS: FWIW Bread flour has higher gluten content, Ideal for yeast breads.  Lower gluten flours, like Southern type flours

are better suited for use with baking soda/ powder as leavening.  AP flour is a compromise between the other two kinds of flour.  It works OK for either kind of baking but not as well suited for either kind.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I searched for years for a fluffy and high rising pancake.  Finally found a recipe that works for me.  Thick and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.  Hope they are what you're looking for.  

Yes.  They’re all variations on the same theme. Flour, buttermilk, eggs, baking powders and sodas.  
 

However - screw the vegetable oil; melted butter is really your friend.

 

And then: technique. And a/p flour, of course.

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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8 hours ago, DougL said:

So, I'm stumped. I can't seem to make fluffy pancakes. They come out kinda flat. I use the standard baking powder/flour ratio (1 tbsp/2 cups, with fresh baking powder!). I usually use bread flour, but sometimes all-purpose.

What's the trick? My baking powder biscuits and breads always come out great.

 

Use nitrous oxide as the leavening...

 

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/133897-blueberry-pancakes/?do=findComment&comment=1982277

 

 

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All else equal, buttermilk will make a fluffier, more delicate pancake. Because it's thicker than milk, so you can get a the same consistency with less flour. But it's not necessary.

 

I think the basic tricks are

1) make the batter thick enough. It shouldn't flatten out and spread too much when it hits the pan.

2) make sure your leavening is ok. Baking powder expires. It may lose oomph even before it hits the expiry date. 

 

I use about 3g baking powder / 100g flour. That's about 1/2 tsp per cup. This is for non-buttermilk. If the baking powder seems dubious, use more.

 

Edited to add: another common way to add fluff is to separate half or even all the eggs, and just mix the batter with the yolks. Whip the whites (generally to very soft peaks) and fold them in at the end. I used to do this fairly often but decided it wasn't worth it most of the time. There were easier ways to fluff things up.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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16 hours ago, Norm Matthews said:

I copied @Kim Shook recipe. I'll try it soon.  I don't make pancakes or waffles very often and usually use (Formerly know as Aunt Jemima) brand. I usually have to throw it away because I use it so little, it passes its expiration date. Since it uses only added water, I can make small amounts but I know scratch made are considered better and this looks like a good one.

 

PS: FWIW Bread flour has higher gluten content, Ideal for yeast breads.  Lower gluten flours, like Southern type flours

are better suited for use with baking soda/ powder as leavening.  AP flour is a compromise between the other two kinds of flour.  It works OK for either kind of baking but not as well suited for either kind.

Someone here (can't remember who) was talking about using pancake mix to coat something for frying.  Good way to use it up, I thought.

 

15 hours ago, weinoo said:

Yes.  They’re all variations on the same theme. Flour, buttermilk, eggs, baking powders and sodas.  
 

However - screw the vegetable oil; melted butter is really your friend.

 

And then: technique. And a/p flour, of course.

 

Thanks!  I'll try that next time.  

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5 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

Someone here (can't remember who) was talking about using pancake mix to coat something for frying.  Good way to use it up, I thought.

 

 

You might be thinking about this post.

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These are all good suggestions. Thank you. Now, I'll say again that it is reported that bread flour should work fine. In fact, a higher gluten content is going to make it easier for the batter to hold on to its bubbles, so one might think it would even work better. But I'll try AP. Now, that being said, I think I've convinced myself that my batter was just too loose. As noted here a set flour/liquid ratio probably isn't wise, because different flours take hydration differently. So I guess I'd like to understand how to establish the right batter thickness. You'd like to believe there is a TEST that one can do to know if the batter thickness is right. As in, you keep adding liquid until you get that thickness. Of course, batters tend to thicken with time, which complicates things a bit.  Ideas anyone? There is a "gravity flow test" with syringes (yowch!), and I think you can look at how fast the batter flows off of a fork. There is also a test where you stand a stick in the batter and see how long it takes to fall over!

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2 hours ago, DougL said:

These are all good suggestions. Thank you. Now, I'll say again that it is reported that bread flour should work fine. In fact, a higher gluten content is going to make it easier for the batter to hold on to its bubbles, so one might think it would even work better. But I'll try AP. Now, that being said, I think I've convinced myself that my batter was just too loose. As noted here a set flour/liquid ratio probably isn't wise, because different flours take hydration differently. So I guess I'd like to understand how to establish the right batter thickness. You'd like to believe there is a TEST that one can do to know if the batter thickness is right. As in, you keep adding liquid until you get that thickness. Of course, batters tend to thicken with time, which complicates things a bit.  Ideas anyone? There is a "gravity flow test" with syringes (yowch!), and I think you can look at how fast the batter flows off of a fork. There is also a test where you stand a stick in the batter and see how long it takes to fall over!

 

You just have to do it by feel. Once you figure it out, you can go by measurement if you always use the same flour ... at least if it's a consistent brand like KA.

 

If you switch from bread flour to AP you'll need to reduce the liquid quite a bit. The higher protein content of bread flour soaks up much more water. 

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19 hours ago, paulraphael said:

Edited to add: another common way to add fluff is to separate half or even all the eggs, and just mix the batter with the yolks. Whip the whites (generally to very soft peaks) and fold them in at the end. I used to do this fairly often but decided it wasn't worth it most of the time. There were easier ways to fluff things up.

 

Hmmm....

 

On 3/24/2022 at 4:25 PM, weinoo said:

I like his recipe except I don't go through the trouble of separating the eggs.

 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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By the way, I do think the thicker the batter, the fluffier potential one's pancake has.  Another good reason for letting it rest, so the flour can absorb liquid and swell to its potential.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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13 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

You just have to do it by feel. Once you figure it out, you can go by measurement if you always use the same flour ... at least if it's a consistent brand like KA.

 

If you switch from bread flour to AP you'll need to reduce the liquid quite a bit. The higher protein content of bread flour soaks up much more water. 

 

But it would be nice to know what I should be feeling. I guess it's just a matter of experimentation. Very good point about bread flour soaking up more water. That's exactly right that the extra gluten (which is a protein) has that property.

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On 3/26/2022 at 1:50 PM, DougL said:

 

Very good point about bread flour soaking up more water. That's exactly right that the extra gluten (which is a protein) has that property.

Sort of, but the water absorption of higher protein flours comes into play even before you create any gluten. Or even if you don't create gluten. Gluten is a post-hydration product of proteins called gliadins and glutenins, which themselves only make up between half and 2/3 of the total protein content of the flour. But all of the proteins increase the water absorption of the flour.

 

Personally, I'd avoid bread flour for pancakes. I can imagine it's possible to make good ones with it, but it's more likely that you'll make worse ones. 

 

Generally with a pancake, you're trying to activate very little of the potential gluten network. A lower protein flour will improve your chances of success. It's why some crepe recipes suggest a combination of AP flour and corn flour—it drops the protein level even lower, so you can get away with mixing in a blender. 

 

If you use bread flour, you should absolutely have to change your technique—not just more liquid, but also very gentle mixing. And you shouldn't expect any advantages.

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On 3/26/2022 at 1:01 PM, weinoo said:

Not exactly a resounding USE BREAD FLOUR, is it?

 

I never said there was any resounding endorsement of bread flour. Just that it was said that you could use it. Many do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can use any flour for anything, if know what's going on and you know how to compensate for it. You can make hearty bread with cake flour if you mix in an extra high-protein flour, or just add gluten as a dough strengthener. You can make cake with pizza flour if you mix in some cornstarch. Useful approaches if you don't have the right flour available. I'd consider bread flour for pancakes to be a problem that needed some compensation.

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