After finding myself hooked, in a semi-active fashion, to making pancakes from a mix each morning. I quickly learned that there was an art to getting the batter to just the right consistency and then flipping them over on a hot griddle.
My early attempts at making pancakes began sometime in the late winter of 2021. It was a time where that ‘virus’ was finally winding down, right in step with a winter I didn’t really miss. Yet, the cold air did inspire me to buy a box of ‘Krusteaz’ pancake mix, as I’d also recently purchased a griddle and was on the lookout for stuff to cook on it.
Not surprisingly, my first four or five pancake attempts were unmitigated disasters, at least from an ‘appearance’ perspective. I had neither mastered the correct batter/water combo or even the flipping technique. (I quickly discovered that some foods require a rather fast move with a spatula). I found that whenever I’d slowly slide the plastic spat under a pancake, that was solid on one side and still ‘goopy’ on the other, that ‘flipping time’ was critical. Too slow and the batter on top would have plenty of time to slide this way and that on the pan. The end result would be what I’d like to call a ‘splat-cake’. Not the sort of deal that I’d ever want to serve someone on a plate. (That said, they still tasted fantastic when slathered with butter and Maple syrup)! Yet, as I’d sat there enjoying a couple for my breakfast, I found myself wondering… Could the perfect pancake be made?
So making pancakes, for breakfast, became a daily morning staple at the House of Owen. Most every morning would find me standing next to a hot griddle with two objectives in mind;
- Was my pancake mix too dense or was it too watery?
- Just how good were my flipping reflexes, on that particular morning?
As to the first item, I discovered that just guessing the amounts of mix to water, was not a very good idea over the long term. I found that reading the directions printed on the box, were probably there for a reason. The stated ratio was one cup of mix to 2/3’s cup of water. That would net one 6-7, 4-inch pancakes. Me? I wanted two large five and a half inchers. (That left me to do some figuring). Being lazy, I began by halving both amounts. And, by sheer chance, that seemed to work out pretty well.
Following are the proportions I used to make two 5 1/2″ plate-filling pancakes.
Mix: 107 grams
Water: 70 grams
That obstacle now overcome, I brought my focus to the griddle itself. I discovered that there is a ‘correct range of heat’ you want it set it to. According to something I read from Alton Brown’s website; ‘Set the griddle temperature to about 375° F when preheating, then turn it down to 370° or 360° F, once you start to cook the pancakes.’ Bingo! That advice impressed me a lot! My griddle came with a temperature wheel, but to make sure, I also employed a infrared gun! (It’s a DanO thing).
[The next morning] I was up and feeling hungry. I had my batter at the correct (amount) consistency, the griddle at the proper temperature and I had poured two more or less perfect pancake circles. Wow! I was now ready to the last test of properly flipping those suckers!
[Two minutes later] After peeking underneath my pancakes to make sure they had turned slightly brown, I then incorporated a technique that someone once told me worked. ‘Don’t think about it, just do it!’ Wham bam! In under a second, I had flipped my first ‘perfect pancake’… right over the griddle and onto the floor! Perhaps I was a bit over anxious. But, the ‘Five second rule was now in effect.’ I recovered the errant flapjack and laid it back onto the griddle surface thinking to myself. ‘I’ll just hide that poor baby under the other pancake.’
A few minutes later, as I sat down to eat, I ruminated that it’s never the end result that counts so much as the heart one puts into anything they do that’s worthwhile. Both pancakes, while quite different to look at, proved awesome where it really counted….taste!