When it comes to what is defined as a good breakfast food, there are so many different opinions and ideas on what makes a healthy and hearty start to the morning.
Some people stick to the routine of eating cereal that has little to no nutrients in it, while other people might try and cook themselves a full-course meal.
The meals that people choose to cook for breakfast can vary wildly, even within the confines of the same country. Take the United States, for example. There are countless ways that people choose to make their breakfasts there.
Some people will choose to eat something quick, simple, and light, preparing their way for a better lunch in the middle of the day. These breakfasts often consist of cereals, yogurt, parfaits, and sometimes just fruit.
If people are feeling creative or up to doing a little bit of cooking, they may choose to make some toast and cover it with a jam or jelly of their choice, while other people may make some eggs for themselves.
Other people will want to break their nighttime fast with a meal that covers all of the food groups. This could be a standard breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon, or it could be something as simple as just making some buttered waffles.
Plenty of people will include carbs, protein, and some degree of fat in their breakfasts, as these are believed to be some of the best nutrients to break the fast with.
No matter what kind of breakfast you may find yourself eating and enjoying, there is going to come a time when you have a choice as to what you want to eat.
If you are someone who enjoys having something that is a little bit doughy, you may decide that you want to make pancakes. After all, there are countless ways to make pancakes a little bit healthier than how they sound.
As you begin to make those pancakes, you may come to realize that the pancakes aren’t turning out the way you wanted them to.
While some people consider golden and fluffy pancakes to be the pinnacle of what a pancake maker can do, many people also think highly of pancakes that have some degree of crispiness to them.
The best place for any pancake to have some crispiness on it is going to be around the edges.
When you have a beautiful golden-brown pancake to eat, with the edges just slightly crispy, the center of the pancake can seem even softer by comparison, creating a wonderful juxtaposition between the two textures.
If this sounds like something you want to do with your pancakes, you will want to begin researching the best way for you to make pancakes with the crispier edges.
There are a few ways that you can achieve this goal, although it will depend quite a bit on your materials and what you have to work with.
Keep in mind that getting the “right” pancakes is a process that takes a fair amount of trial and error.
Understanding What Makes the Perfect Pancake
Before you can begin on your journey of creating the best pancake, you will need to think about what makes the perfect pancake for you. For getting a pancake with crispy edges and a soft center, there are going to be two forces at play that you will have to balance out.
You are going to want to focus on making sure that you have good control over the heat of the pancake, as this will determine what gets crispier and how fast you crisp the pancake.
You will also need good control over the consistency of the batter, as a batter that is going to be thick will be harder to cook in the middle, allowing the edges of the pancake to become just a bit crispier.
For the heat of the pancake, the first thing you will want to try doing is cooking the pancake at a higher temperature for less time.
This allows the thinner edges of the pancake to cook quite quickly, while also meaning that it takes a little bit more time for the bulk of the heat to reach the center of the pancake, leaving the center soft and squishy.
The caveat of this is that if you raise the heat too much, the outer portion of the pancake will burn while leaving the center raw.
If you don’t raise the heat enough, you will be stuck with the same issue of not being able to properly crisp the edges of the pancake.
The other method that you will think about is the batter.
If you are looking to have particularly crispy edges to your pancake, you are going to want to give some good thought to how thick the batter is. The thicker the batter is, the longer it is going to take to cook all the way through.
Pancakes are already a bit slow about cooking the center of the pancake, so when you are working with thicker batter, the edges will have more time to cook a little bit extra.
Working with the Pan
Now that you know what you need to do with the batter and the time you cook the pancake, you will want to make sure that you are able to get the conditions for the pan right.
The main thing you will want to think about is making sure that you have enough butter in the pan.
First things first, you will only want to put the batter into the pan once you have the butter hot and melted. This will allow the pancake to cook more easily and more quickly.
You are also going to want to make sure that you are putting the butter only in locations where you plan on cooking the pancakes.
For the amount of butter that you are going to want to use on a standard pancake, you should be using anywhere between one third a cup of butter to half a cup of butter per pancake in the pan.
In a usual 12-inch skillet, you should be cooking no more than three small pancakes at once or one large pancake.
If you want to get particularly specific about the pan that you use, you are going to want to purchase a thermometer that can read temperatures at a distance. This will help you gauge exactly what temperature is going to be optimal for the sake of your pancakes, which will also help you have a good idea of how long you should be cooking them.
As a starting point, you will want to try to cook your pancake on medium heat.
If you have one, you should plan on using a cast iron skillet to get the job done, as these are what will help the pancake cook the most efficiently.
A wide and heavy skillet that also has low sides can get the job done if you do not have any suitable cast iron equipment for pancake making.
As the pancake is cooking, you aren’t going to want to touch it until you begin to see bubbles forming on the surface of the batter.
Depending on what shade of golden-brown you want your pancake to be, this will be approximately three minutes after you began cooking the pancakes, with people who want paler pancakes taking less time to reach a state of doneness.
The state of the bubbles matters as well.
The bubbles themselves should be about golden brown in color, and you will know when the pancake is completely ready to flip when the bubbles reach the center of the pancake.
Because the center of the pancake is the last thing to cook thoroughly, when it begins bubbling after the edges already have, you can feel confident in knowing that your pancake’s edges are going to be the perfect amount of crispiness.
If the bubbles aren’t quite bursting yet, but you can see them forming, you should decrease the heat.
If the bubbles are bursting every time they appear and the pancake is still blonde in color, you will want to increase the heat slightly.
Once the pancake is acting as if it is ready to be flipped over, you are going to want to allow it to cook for anywhere between two to three minutes, again depending on exactly what shade you want your pancake to be.
Again, figuring out the exact amount of time that it takes for your pancake to reach the desired temperature and color is going to be a process of both trial and error, but if you have enough dedication, you can easily figure out a recipe for yourself for making the best pancakes around.
Making the perfect pancakes is something that a lot of people struggle with, and it is something that takes a fair amount of practice to get right, so you shouldn’t feel too discouraged if your pancakes do not turn out the way you want them to the first time.
Working with all of these concepts, ranging from the consistency of the batter you are using to the temperature of the pan, these details all play a role in making the perfect pancake for your breakfast meal.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.