I made the Best Pancakes this morning. That’s according to an Epicurious YouTube video hosted by the affable chef Frank Proto, which I watched yesterday.
I realize I’ve written about pancakes before. Now I’ve added a fifth recipe card to my collection, which doesn’t even count the tried-and-true Betty Crocker cookbook version I’ve recently been using.
Chef Proto is very convincing. Watch the video and see. He’s stern but also encouraging. His recipe differs from my others in that he adds vinegar (instead of lemon juice, as I have been doing), more sugar, and vanilla. These last ingredients make for a delicious fragrance as you stand over the griddle.
The major learning outcome for me, though, was the importance of not over-mixing. I knew this already, of course, but Chef Proto is very, very emphatic. After mixing the batter, he looks at the camera and repeats, “No more mixing,” and shakes his rubber spatula at you. He leaves many lumps, many large lumps, in his batter. I have always been careful to do this myself, I thought, but I was not careful enough. This morning I made myself stop mixing and leave very many lumps.
The result was airy, fluffy pancakes—the goal I have been striving for. My pancakes looked exactly the same as Chef Proto’s. Because of the vanilla, sugar, and probably the vinegar, they are also quite tasty. I lacked only whipped salted butter, which Chef Proto slathered on his stack in memory of his grandmother.
My own taste testers’ response was, shall we say, underwhelming. My son and husband dug in to their pancakes without comment. After a little chewing, I asked, “What do you think?” They mumbled that they were good.
Then, “Thick,” my husband said.
I let a few minutes go by. “Are you saying they’re too thick?” I asked.
My husband looked like he wished he were somewhere else. “They’re fine,” he said, using the all-purpose adjective that is no help whatsoever.
He added, “You know, I like thin pancakes, too.”
I cannot rely on other people’s approval to evaluate my achievements. I needn’t look to others for validation. I have striven to produce thick fluffy pancakes, and I have at last done so. I have made the grade and cut the mustard. I have prevailed.
The Best Pancakes You Will Ever Make 3 cups flour ¼ cup sugar 1 ½ teaspoon salt Mix first 5 dry ingredients in large bowl. 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda 2 ¼ cups milk ¼ cup oil 1 tablespoon vanilla ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 3 eggs Whisk liquid ingredients thoroughly. Fold them into the dry ingredients. Mix gently, and leave lumps. When you stop mixing, stop mixing. No more mixing. Melt(whipped, salted) butter on griddle. Drop large tablespoons of batter on the griddle. Turn when bubbles have mostly popped. Your pancakes are done when you press gently and the pancake springs back.