Pancake Day is the one day of the year where it’s acceptable to eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and it’s finally here.
Shrove Tuesday is always celebrated 47 days before Easter – ahead of the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent – as a way to use up rich foods like egg, milk and sugar.
But as many of us may know, making the perfect pancake can be quite the task.
So, to make sure we’re cooking them correctly, we’ve compiled a list of the most common pancake mistakes and how to avoid them.
Here is all you need to know…
Mixing wet and dry ingredients separately
The general rule when baking according to Bigger Bolder Baking is as follows: “Dry ingredients should be combined together thoroughly in one bowl BEFORE adding liquids.”
Your liquid ingredients should also be mixed thoroughly before they’re combined with the dry ingredients.
Not only will this help to evenly “disperse the raising agents” – which helps for an even batter – but it reduces the risk of overmixing.
This links well with the next tip.
Over-whisking the batter
Alix Traeger, a former Buzzfeed Tasty producer revealed that the secret to fluffy pancakes is to not over-whisk the mixture.
When trying to remove the lumps from their batter, people tend to mix it too much, which not only deflates the air bubbles but it can cause the gluten to overdevelop meaning you’ll have tough pancakes.
Not resting the batter
You should leave your batter to sit for at least 20 minutes after you’ve combined the wet and dry ingredients – or 30-45 minutes if you have the time.
Cookery expert Monaz Dumasia told Good Housekeeping: “The ‘resting’ allows the gluten in the flour to relax and the starch grains to swell,” which means that they’re more likely to come out light and fluffy.
Cooking at the wrong temperature
Too high of heat, and your pancakes will end up burnt on the outside and doughy in the centre.
Too low of heat, and the rest of your pancake stack will cold by the time you get to eat them.
Chris O’Neill, executive chef at The Breakfast Club told the Huffington Post: “Never add pancakes to a cold pan. Preheat the pan over medium heat for approximately three minutes [before adding the mixture].”
If you’re looking to show off your pancake-flipping skills this Shrove Tuesday you might want to take a few pointers from Dr Garry Tungate, a physics lecturer at the University of Birmingham, who came up with a science-based approach to the perfect flip.
He based his findings on a study of a 50g pancake as he looked at a number of variables such as kinetic energy, gravity, velocity and torque, reports the BBC.
His research found: “The best results will be achieved by flipping the wrist so that the pan moves in an upward arc, which causes the pancake to slide up and out of the pan, while a ‘direct lift’ would leave a partial vacuum under the pancake, which would keep it in the pan.”
You may also be making the mistake of over-flipping your pancakes.
Flipping once is fine, but any more and they’ll deflate.
Philip Inzani, owner of 24-hour Polo Bar in east London, told Huffington Post: “This may be controversial, but we don’t flip. We wait until the pancake mix starts to bubble. We get a spatula and carefully turn the pancake.”