Restaurant-style pancakes are pillowy soft, fluffy and crisped around the edges. And you can make those fluffy, perfectly browned pancakes you get at your favorite diner at home. It comes down to just a few factors -- ingredients, method and cooking. Restaurant pancakes are generally made using a basic buttermilk recipe.
Fold in Egg Whites
Restaurant pancakes have that fluffy interior because they fold whipped egg whites into their pancake batter. Whip egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl until they reach soft peak stage. Any trace of grease in the bowl can prevent the eggs from forming air bubbles. Then, gently fold them into your prepared pancake batter. For smaller batches of batter, use one egg white. If you're cooking pancake batter for a crowd, you may need two or three egg whites.
Use the Right Ingredients
Use fresh ingredients in your buttermilk pancake recipe. That means fresh milk, eggs and flour. A buttermilk recipe relies on leavening agents to create bubbles -- providing the pancakes with their fluffy texture. Use the specified amount of baking soda and/or baking powder. If you're using baking soda, your recipe should call for buttermilk, because these two ingredients together create a chemical reaction that produces bubbles.
Mix Just Right
Over-mixing your batter creates a tough pancake that won’t cook evenly or remain fluffy after it’s cooked. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, but only until the batter is moistened. It is normal to see lumps in the batter. Proper consistency is important for even cooking and texture. The batter should be thin enough to spread when poured onto the griddle. Batter that is too thin will become crispy and you'll end up with crepes, not pancakes. Batter that is too thick won’t cook evenly and could stay raw in the middle. Thin your batter by adding a small amount of water or buttermilk. To thicken, add a small amount of flour and fold it in.
Cook Just Right
Heat a large skillet or griddle pan on medium heat. If you're using an electric griddle set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Test the griddle for the right temperature by placing a few droplets of water on the surface -- if they dance before evaporating, the pan is ready. Brush the pan with a small amount of butter or oil -- this helps give your pancakes that classic brown crust. Pour a small amount of batter onto the pan and allow room for the batter to spread. Don’t touch or move the pancakes -- let them cook until bubbles begin to rise to the surface of the batter and the edges are crisped. Check the underside for browning, flip and continue to cook the other side for another minute, or until browned. Repeat the greasing and cooking process for your next batch. Greasing in between each batch ensures a brown finish every time.
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