I used to be really bad at making pancakes. Like, really. I first learned how to make them in first grade during “Library” class (which was basically an hour of mostly no talking, where all the introverts went through a collective heaven and the extroverts went through a collective hell). The first tip I learned, just like anyone else learning the art of pancaking, was to flip when you see the bubbles. But how bubbly should the bubbles be? I obviously couldn’t remember how bubbly the bubbles were when my library teacher made them—I mean, come on, I was a hungry child—so I made pancake after pancake (occasionally, all over a span of, like, 3 years) until I made myself the perfect pancake. And it is today that I will teach you the art of pancake-making!
Before I tell you how to pour/flip/eat the pancakes, you’ll need a recipe. I like Martha Stewart’s, although her directions are a bit excessive. She requires using both a skillet and stove to make her pancakes. That’s ridiculous. All you need is a non-stick pan, some oil, and a hungry stomach.
1st tip (this one can be applied to anything you cook with a non-stick pan): After drizzling oil in the pan, use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly around the pan. This will allow the pancake to cook without weird oily patches, and also gets rid of the excess oil.
2nd tip: Start with the burner at medium-low. Then, with each pancake, lower the temperature a teensy bit. If you’re making a lot of pancakes, it’s a good idea to take the pan of the burner for a couple minutes after around your 4th-5th pancake, so the pan and oil doesn’t overheat.
3rd tip: Ice cream scoops are the best measurer for pancakes. I personally think that two ice cream scoops will make the perfect pancake.
4th tip: don’t flip this pancake.
Don’t flip this one either.
This will make a pancake that looks like:
You have to wait for at least half the bubbles to pop. Most of the other half should also look weird and bumpy, like they’re about to pop. This will give the pancake a nice golden color. I like my pancakes a little overcooked. If you are like me, then wait until the pancake looks like this:
Most of the bubbles have popped, and all the rest have the funny bumpy and almost-popped look to them. The edges also start to brown at this stage. It will look like this when flipped over:
5th tip: To easily flip the pancake over, don’t try to jam the spatula under the pancake. You don’t want to smush it, or the pancake will lose it’s air, which is what makes a pancake good! Nudge it a bit, and then shake the pan to loosen it instead. If it won’t loosen, and the top is still pretty much liquid, IT’S NOT READY. You do not want to flip over an underfried pancake. You cannot remedy the mistake. A pancake flipped too early will become flat, dense, and pale. Don’t think you can just flip it back and cross your fingers. It’ll be ugly FOREVER. AND IT’LL BE YOUR FAULT.
Hopefully these tips make your journey into the pancake-flipping world easier and more delicious! Don’t forget to add a good amount of maple syrup, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, jam, or fresh fruit when you put that airy masterpiece in your mouth.