Probably the most important secret you will need to learn when making good pancakes is how to get the right temperature on your pancake pan and how to maintain that temperature.
It is of course important to start with a good pancake or mix recipe. Search the web and you will find many great pancake recipes and making pancake batter from scratch will give you wonderful results. And while some may look down on their noses when making pancake mixes, it’s usually the cooking that spoils the pancakes, not the mix.
When the kids are begging for pancakes on a weekend morning and time is running out, a good mix prepared and some water will have pancakes on the table in record time. Poor preparation rather than the poor quality of the pancake mix is usually the reason canned mixes are looked down upon.
Start with a cast iron crepe maker:
If you want to make great, consistently tasty pancakes with the least mess and cleanup time, the perfect answer is a cast iron pancake pan. Using it properly on an electric or gas stove converts your kitchen into a grill, just like those in a commercial restaurant. A cast iron griddle heats evenly and due to its weight and mass it maintains its temperature much more evenly while you cook.
Other types of cooking utensils such as light weight Teflon coated frying pans or electric frying pans or hot plates are known to have rapidly fluctuating temperature control and uneven heating. A proven cast iron griddle is the perfect answer to solving these problems.
The main reason people have trouble making good pancakes is because they don’t have a good method of determining the proper hot plate heat before they start cooking. If the pancakes are cooked over too low a heat, they will become hard and chewy. When baked at too high a temperature, which is more common than not, the outside burns and crisp while the inside remains a raw, soggy mess.
The next time you’re making pancakes, take a few minutes to determine the proper settings for heating your pancake sheet with the following method. The trick of this method is known to many cooks but are unlikely to know the science behind it.
The Leidenfrost effect:
When you drop a drop of water onto a hot pancake griddle, the drop of water will dance and stay in its drop shape as it glides across the surface. The scientific name for this is the Leidenfrost effect. When the drop hits the hot surface, the water that comes in contact is immediately vaporized and the steam created pushes the remaining water in the drop up and away from the hotplate.
This will not happen on a surface that is just hot. In normal cooking situations, it is agreed that the Leidenfrost effect occurs when the temperature of the griddle is around 325 degrees F.
Find and save the best setting for your stove:
Since the “dancing water” or the Leidenfrost effect occurs at 325 degrees F and the best accepted temperature for baking perfectly successful pancakes is 375 degrees F, you can use a simple method to determine the setting for the pancakes. burners on your stove. Start by reheating your pancake pan to a very hot temperature, but not hot. Make sure it is well preheated but not hot enough to exhibit the Leidenfrost effect.
Then slowly increase your burner settings until you determine the point where a drop of water landing on the griddle will “dance”. Give the griddle time to heat up with each new setting while slowly increasing the heat by changing your burner settings. You’ll want to make sure the pancake pan has reached the maximum temperature at your current settings before testing with a few drops of water.
When you see that the Leidenfrost effect is occurring, write down your burner settings so that in the future you can start right away and heat the plate accurately. By knowing these settings you will always be able to heat your plancha knowing that you have a precise reference point.
According to some cooking guides, the temperature of 325F or 160C corresponds to the “medium-low” setting of your stove or range. The pancake baking temperature of 375F (190C) is closer to “medium-high”.
Save the settings that work best for your stove:
Since the effect of the dancing water may be a bit weak for perfect pancake frying, you now need to increase the temperature a bit before pouring your first pancakes. Try a small increase for one or two test pancakes first and if you think it is taking too long for them to finish, increase the setting and allow the pancake pan time to adjust to the new setting. heat before trying again.
Once you’ve determined the best pancake setting for your equipment, write it down. In the future, you will be surprised how quickly you can make perfect pancakes. All you’ll have to do is put your griddle on the stove, set the burner settings to these predetermined marks, and give the griddle some time to heat up.
Just by using a few drops of water and knowing how the Leidenfrost effect works, you can easily tell if your pancake plancha is ready and at the right temperature. You’ll be able to whip up delicious and, most importantly, well-cooked pancakes in less time than it takes to finish your first cup of coffee in the morning.