Food & Cooking

A Simpleguide To Making Pancakes & Waffles

Who doesn’t like to eat pancakes? Aside from the fact that they are very easy to prepare they make a nice breakfast, brunch, or lunch treat for the whole family.

Cultures throughout the world all feature variations of the pancake. French crêpes, Russian blini, Austrian nockerli, Scottish oatcakes, and German billowy oven pancakes have been cherished for centuries. All of these specialties are delightful to savor for an easy-to-cook wholesome treat throughout the day.

In modern America, pancakes have long been a favorite breakfast staple. Whether they are called hotcakes, griddle cakes, flannel cakes, flapjacks, or johnnycakes, these soft-crusted cartwheels with a spongy center are designed to soak up a luscious syrup or cushion a sweet or savory topping for a delectable weekend brunch or hearty daily

Pancakes and waffles are classed as pourable batter-style quick breads. Often they are almost identical in ingredients, with almost equal proportions of liquid and dry ingredients. These homey hot breads make a weekend breakfast a special occasion that becomes a lasting family tradition, memorable for all ages. Quick and easy to mix and bake, pancakes and waffles are certainly the good cook’s friend. Besides being accessible for even beginning bakers to whip up in a flourish, they are also economical. 

Their versatility offers options for enhancing menus for various courses throughout the day. Waffles present a wholesome breakfast bread for simply topping with maple syrup. Pancakes offer a sumptuous brunch treat cloaked with fresh berries and sour cream. For luncheon or supper, both stand in as an entrée or an innovative appetizer for a party, and for a delectable dessert, a waffle-style ice cream sundae is divine.

Many now make pancakes with a wide variety of wholesome grains, nuts, and fresh and dried fruits that are available. Today’s equipment is designed for complete satisfaction in the kitchen. Many utensils are nonstick on their surfaces. Yet other types of surfaces are now effective as well. The marketplace offers many styles of griddles, skillets, and electric waffle bakers in various sizes with decorative grids.

Ingredients For Making Pancakes
Pancake batters are simply based on flour, leavening, sweetening, a liquid such as milk or buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter or oil.
Though all-purpose flour is a staple, other flours and grains yield interesting flavors and healthful assets. Unbleached all-purpose flour has slightly more gluten than all-purpose flour and is used in some recipes. Whole-wheat pastry flour contributes a finer texture than all-purpose whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat, rye, buckwheat, barley, oat, soy, semolina, and corn flours are easy to purchase in bulk bins for added enjoyment.
Baking powder and baking soda are used for leavening, although sometimes yeast adds an extra boost as in sourdough pancakes. Granulated or brown sugar can be augmented or replaced by honey, maple syrup, or molasses.
Fresh fruit, including blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and dried cranberries, cherries, or apricots, lend a sweet, juicy embellishment. A variety of nuts, wheat germ, and sesame seeds bring a toasty addition to tender cakes.
Unsalted butter uplifts the flavor, yet for healthful reasons canola oil, nut oil, or olive oil may substitute.

Techniques For Making Pancakes
Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisking is an easy method to mix dry ingredients, or use a spatula. It is not necessary to sift the flour in advance, but make certain there are no lumps in the baking powder or baking soda. If there are, mash them with a spoon before adding. If the egg or eggs are separated, beat the whites first until soft, glossy peaks form. Then with the beater or a whisk, combine the egg yolks, milk, and other moist ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir with a spatula or spoon with a quick, light hand just until combined. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Do not overmix, as a few streaks of egg white or lumps are fine. Because all cooks measure differently, sometimes the batter needs adjustment. If the batter appears too thick, thin it with a tablespoon or two of milk or buttermilk. If it seems too runny or thin, stir in a tablespoon or two of flour.

Equipment For Making Pancakes
A flat griddle
is ideal, but a 12-inch skillet or electric skillet works well. Certain recipes call for specialty pans, such as a steel crêpe pan, yet an omelet pan can substitute. Use a small, deep bowl as directed for beating 2 eggwhites, otherwise a medium bowl works well for combining ingredients (unless otherwise specified).

Seasoned pans need very little greasing. Wipe the pan with a butter wrapper, oil lightly, or use a nonstick spray. Heat the pan over medium heat until a few drops of water sizzle when dropped on the surface.
Pour the batter from a spoon, a ladle, or ¼-cup measure from a height of 2 to 3 inches above the pan to make even, round pancakes. Allow an inch of space between each one. Cook them about 2 minutes, check the underside, and if golden brown and bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pancakes over and cook the other side. (Note: A few types of pancakes do not form bubbles.) It will take about half the time for the second side to brown lightly, slightly less in color than the first side. Immediately transfer to warm plates or place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200°F oven while you cook the remaining batter. It is not necessary to grease the pan between batches of pancakes.

Freezing and Reheating
Extra pancakes can be frozen in airtight lock-top plastic bags. Reheat in a toaster oven or a regular oven at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes. A microwave tends to toughen pancakes.

Equipment For Making Waffles
When electric irons were created in the twentieth century, waffle suppers came into vogue, featuring a variety of creamed chicken and tuna sauces as toppings. Electric waffle irons are available in many shapes and sizes with various designs in the grids. Some are round, oblong, or square with heart-shaped or animal designs. The Belgian waffle iron is characterized by extra-deep grids. The testing of these recipes was done in a 7-inch round waffle iron and an oblong 4½-by-9-inch Belgian waffle iron.
It is essential to properly season a waffle iron following the manufacturer’s instructions unless it is a nonstick model. If you lack seasoning information, follow this procedure: Preheat the iron on medium-high. Open the lid and brush the surface lightly with vegetable oil. Close the lid and heat just until steaming. Open the lid, wipe the surface, and let cool.
Never immerse an iron in water, wash it with soap, or use a scouring pad on the surface. It may be brushed with a kitchen brush, or a clean old toothbrush is a handy tool. An iron treated in this way should not need greasing between bakings.

Baking Waffles
Preheat the waffle iron on medium until the indicator light shuts off or signifies it is ready. Pour in enough batter, about 1 cup, to cover at least two-thirds of the surface. The amount will vary with the size of your waffle iron and the recipe. The batter should flow and make a complete, full-sized waffle. Gently close the lid. Let cook about 4 minutes or until the steam stops. Gently lift the lid, and if it refuses to open, close the iron and cook 1 minute longer. Then open the lid—it should release easily—and check for a rich brown color and crisp crust. If it meets these criteria, remove the waffle with a fork to a warm plate. Or place it on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
After baking the first waffle, you may need to adjust the thermostat. A higher temperature creates a crisp waffle, while a lower temperature results in a moister, tender waffle.

Freezing and Reheating
Because reheated waffles taste freshly made, it is handy to bake all the batter at one time and have the bonus of extra waffles for later enjoyment. Waffles freeze beautifully. Let them cool completely, slip into a lock-top plastic bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat (without thawing) in a toaster or toaster oven until hot through and crisp, or in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
Note: Waffles are commonly made with whole milk, large eggs, and unsalted butter or canola or olive oil. There is little difference if you substitute low-fat or 1% milk.


Do’s and Don’ts of Making Perfect Pancakes: 

Since pancake is still considered a cake, then you must follow the correct measurements and ingredients that goes with each recipe.
When mixing the batter (dry and liquid ingredients mixture), use a large wooden spoon or large wire whisk to easily blend all the ingredients.
Do not over mix the batter! This will result to tough or chewy pancakes because the starch will develop more gluten in the process. Simply mix the ingredients until all ingredients are just blended.
It will help prevent lumps if you sift all dry ingredients before mixing it with the wet ingredients.
Using a griddle or heavy bottomed non-stick frying pan
will save you the trouble of getting your pancakes to burn easily and stick on the bottom of the pan.
Look for bubbles! When bubbles form on the pancake surface once you put them on the hot griddle or pan, then that is your clue that they are ready to flip or you can turn it over.
Do not press! When cooking pancakes, let them raise so you will have your desired fluffy pancakes. Pressing the pancake will make them flat and undesirable to eat.
Do not overcook! Remove the pancakes from heat once it is golden brown and cooked through. Prolonging the cooking time will also make them tough. Usually 2 minutes on each side is all you need to cook them.
You can replace butter with vegetable oil or applesauce for variation. Spraying the griddle or pan lightly with cooking oil spray will also help prevent the pancake from sticking on the bottom of the pan.
Pancakes are best served fresh from the griddle or while it is still warm. This will help melt the butter should you decide to add them on top and spread before taking that first bite.