Did you know that pancakes are more than 30,000 years old? Of course, back then, pancakes were not the sugary breakfast food that we know and love today, mainly because people in the stone age had no access to sugar cane and only honey could serve as a substitute. Today's pancakes are much more flavorful, fluffier, and sugarier than ever before.
And yet, learning how to get the best pancake mix consistency can still be a big challenge for many people. Whether you're using pancake mix or making pancakes from scratch, you will likely run into the same problems when trying to make delicious, fluffy pancakes. And if your pancake batter isn't the right consistency, the resulting pancakes will suffer in quality as a result.
Instead of ending up with thick and fluffy pancakes, you might end up with unusually thin pancakes or even pancakes that look more like actual cakes than pancakes. But how should you go about fixing this problem? Keep reading and learn more about the secrets of getting the right pancake batter consistency and, ultimately, the perfect pancakes.
Understanding the Ingredients inside Pancake Batter
You won't be able to understand your problems with the consistency of your pancake batter if you don't really know what's supposed to go into the batter in the first place. When it comes to making pancakes, the batter is the foundation. If it doesn't have the right texture and if it doesn't taste good, your pancakes won't turn out right.
It's as simple as that. When it comes to making pancakes from scratch or making them from pancake mix, there isn't much of a difference. That's because pancake mixes need to use more or less the same mixture of flour and other ingredients in order to thicken up the thinner ingredients, whether it be buttermilk, water, or ordinary milk. For example, first, suppose that you're making pancakes from scratch.
What kind of ingredients do you put in and how much should you use? Every basic pancake batter requires some kind of flower, eggs, butter, milk or buttermilk, sugar, and baking powder. The amount of each of these ingredients will play a big part in how your pancakes turn out.
Also, any variations of these ingredients will make a difference as well.
Variations of Pancake Batter
For example, if you use whole-wheat flour instead of your ordinary processed white flower, there will be a difference not only in the taste of the pancakes but also in the appearance. Instead of looking as light and golden as pancakes usually look, the flour might make it look a bit darker.
Of course, the appearance of the pancake doesn't matter as much as the taste and consistency. Pancake batter is also very versatile and you can add pretty much whatever you want to it once you find the right consistency. For example, some people like to add protein powder to the batter to give the pancakes an extra health boost.
On the other hand, some people like to add chocolate chips or blueberries to their batter to give the pancakes an extra hint of sweetness. Whatever the case, there are many ways to make good pancake batter, but only a few ways to get the right consistency you're looking for. But first, let's see whether you should opt for pancake mix for your batter or make the batter from scratch.
Pancake Mix vs Making Pancakes from Scratch
Some people swear that if you make pancakes from scratch that they will taste 100 times better. But is that really true? As mentioned before, there are not many differences between homemade pancake batter and pancake mix.
However, there are a few small differences that may be important to consider. For example, some pancake mixes might have healthy ingredients that you might not think to put in your own batter. Some pancake mixes are already mixed with protein powder so making healthier pancakes will be a very easy task.
There are also vegan pancake mixes that don't require any butter, milk, or eggs. Making vegan pancake batter on your own can be quite a pain, while simply buying vegan pancake batter is a much easier choice. There are even some specialty pancake mixes that are mixed with certain flavors such as raspberry.
In this case, if you want flavored pancakes, buying the mix is much easier than trying to blend fruit into your batter on your own.
The Details of Pancake Mix
But what about the health of the pancake mix? Some people won't buy pancake mix because they are afraid of certain ingredients that might not be healthy for them (even though pancakes themselves are not exactly a healthy food).
While it is true that some pancake mixes use ingredients that are not all that healthy, there are other mixes that are made to be as healthy as possible. For that reason, as long as you choose a healthy pancake mix brand, the resulting pancakes will more or less be as healthy as any pancakes that you make from scratch. Pancake mixes also have a unique benefit: they are very convenient.
Most of the ingredients in pancake mixes are already mixed so you don't have to worry about scouring the kitchen for a bunch of different ingredients. If you don't have a lot of time to work with, this can be ideal. But whether you're making homemade pancake batter or batter from pancake mix, how do you get the right consistency?
How to Get the Best Pancake Batter Consistency
The first thing you will need to do when creating the perfect pancake batter is to leave out all the ingredients until they reach room temperature. Many people make the mistake of making pancake batter with cold eggs or cold milk and then wonder why the batter doesn't come out right. Cold ingredients, especially eggs, don't like to become light and fluffy when mixed if they're still cold.
While it won't be the end of the world if you mix cold ingredients together (or cold ingredients with warm ingredients), the distribution of the temperature won't be ideal for the batter. You especially won't want to use very hot ingredients such as hot melted butter in the batter.
That's because such a hot ingredient can actually end up cooking some of the other ingredients in the batter. This will make the batter very clumpy and it likely won't taste all that great. While waiting might require a little bit of extra patience, waiting for the ingredients to warm up to room temperature will be worth it.
If you don't have time to wait for your ingredients to reach room temperature, you can always add some of them to the microwave. You should only microwave your cold ingredients for 10 or 20 seconds. If you microwave the ingredients more than this, they might start to cook and they will no longer be suitable for pancake batter.
Heating some of the ingredients such as the eggs in a double boiler is a good alternative if you don't have a microwave. But again, be sure not to warm the ingredients too much or they'll start to cook.
You will also want to make sure that you're using the right ingredients for the consistency that you want. For example, buttermilk or pancake mix that has buttermilk is very helpful when it comes to creating light and fluffy pancakes.
If you're only using water or ordinary milk to mix the pancakes, they might come out dense and too thick like a cake. Buttermilk, on the other hand, has the ability to become light and fluffy when mixed and this consistency will translate into the resulting pancakes. But you will also need to consider the gluten problem.
Whether you're making pancakes with pancake mix or from scratch, gluten can be a big problem. That's because virtually anything that has flour in it can create gluten. When it comes to bread and certain breakfast pastries, gluten is a good thing.
The Gluten Problem
For example, the reason why you need to knead bread is that it promotes the formation of gluten. Once gluten starts to form, the dough will become thicker and chewier than before. At the end of the day, gluten will ensure that you have a good loaf of bread and sub-par pancakes.
Pancakes should not be chewy like a loaf of bread. Instead, they should be light and fluffy. This difference has to do with how you mix your pancake batter. To save some time, you might be tempted to mix the batter at the highest speed with your mixer, but this is a bad idea.
Mixing the pancake batter too harshly will promote the formation of gluten. For that reason, you will want to be very careful when mixing. Forming a little gluten won't be the end of the world.
However, too much gluten in the batter will make it too thick and dense. To solve this problem, try to mix the batter by hand instead of using an electronic mixer. This way, you will be able to control how you mix the batter.
When you mix, try to use gentle strokes with the mixture, folding the ingredients until they combine. These gentle movements will keep the gluten formation to a minimum.
Important Tips for Achieving the Right Consistency
When you're ready to start mixing the ingredients together, you will want to be careful of the order in which you mix the ingredients. In particular, you will want to start mixing all the dry ingredients first. If you're using pancake mix, this part will be easy as the ingredients are mostly already mixed.
Mixing the dry ingredients alone first is important. It prevents the risk of overmixing the batter at a later time. Once this is done, mix the wet ingredients together in another bowl.
Then, form a small indentation in the mix of dry ingredients before pouring in the wet ingredients. This will ensure that the ingredients don't splash all over the place. It will also make it easier to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Mixing the wet ingredients on their own first will make it easier to prevent the formation of gluten. That way, you only need to mix the wet and dry ingredients very little before they combine. Once everything is combined, the batter will probably look too thick and clumpy, but that's the way it should look at this point.
Then, let the batter rest for a few minutes. You should wait around 5 minutes, if not more. This will allow the dry ingredients to soak up the moisture from the wet ingredients.
After this resting period, the batter should become much smoother and will be ready to cook.
Cooking the Batter
Cooking the batter has a lot to do with how the pancakes turn out. You will want to cook the batter at low heat. This way, the inside of the pancakes will cook and the outside won't burn.
Cooking at a slow heat will also make the pancakes especially light and fluffy.
You can use olive oil or butter for the pan. The thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't grease the pan too much. Otherwise, the pancakes will be too oily.
Once the pancakes are done, use some of your favorite pancake toppings. Then, you should be ready to eat.
Achieving the Best Pancake Mix Consistency
Getting the best pancake mix consistency isn't as hard as you might think. You just have to think about what kind of ingredients you're using, how you're using them, and how you mix them together. As long as you follow these tips, your pancake batter consistency should be perfect.
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