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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need help making a better pancake. I've made from scratch, I've made from a box. I've used vegetable oil to grease the pan, I've used butter, I've used both at the same time. I've used low heat high heat crepe pans skillets thick batter runny batter you name it I've tried it. No matter what I do they come out burnt or uncooked or not appetizing. What am I doing wrong?
 

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I think they look fine. For me all they need is a big glob of butter and a big splash of syrup.
 

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looking at the two examples,

heat is definitely too high.  on the right you can see it's burning in the middle and around the edges (the edges curl up, hence the 'not burnt' ring) but the center does not rise.

some other thoughts...

based on the obvious high heat and the size, meguesseth the batter was a tad too thin.
I like to use a ladle so they all come out sorta-the-same-size.

don't use butter in the pan/grill.  it will burn at too low a temp.

if it's an electric griddle, start at 375' and adjust from there.

if your using a 'on burner' pan or griddle, test the heat with a dime size drop.

"on burner" stuff is exceedingly prone to demonstrating "uneven" heating - I have a big griddle that spans two burners - it's taken me a long burnt/raw road of experimenting to get it right.

be aware, the cooking surface will cool after you pour on the batter - it is tricky to 'get the right heat' - it will require experimenting with your own equipment (ala not all thermostats are equal/exactly the same/accurate) - and indeed I've tossed more than a few rounds....

...the mix
I do my own from scratch based on a recipe voted "Best" by Consumer Report - last century....
for two:
130 g AP flour
260 g milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp - 1 tbsp granulated white sugar to taste
pinch of salt
1-1.25 tsp baking powder - keep it fresh; date when you open it, toss it after 6-8 months.

I weigh both the flour and the milk because when making small batches, accuracy is key to consistency.

your flour will almost certainly react differently than my mine (Ceresota Unbleached) - so don't object to making adjustments - just write them down so you can do it again...

once the liquids are mixed in, start cooking.  batter tends to thicken with standing; doing brunch for billions I've had to thin it midway....

avoid long 'after mixing' delays if you can - almost to exclusion todays baking powders are 'double acting' and if it stands for too long you lose the leavening of the 'first act'

ancient theory holds you turn the pancake when the bubbles no longer close up after forming - heat adjustment is the trick to having nice golden color on turning.  to hot, the bubbles stop but it's burnt on the bottom; too cold the bubbles stop but the bottom is pale....
 

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I never have a problem KK, so I hope that means I can help you.

I only make pancakes from scratch, using the following recipe:
Everyday Pancakes (Mark Bittman)
Time: 20 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
2 eggs
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use neutral oil.

1. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1 1/2 cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don't worry about a few lumps. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.

2. Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Cook until second side is lightly browned.
the only addition I make is a little bit of lemon zest if I have organic lemons around (optional but delicious).

I never measure the milk, I just add until I get the desired consistency.

I make sure the pan is not too hot. I agree with Dillbert, it looks like your pan was too hot or you left the pancakes for too long. The butter should melt slowly in the pan (I only use butter, no oil), and not make noise like when you add a steak to a pan!! Flip when you see bubbles appear. After you flip, don't cook for too long, you're pretty much done.
 

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This is the only recipe I use: 

Dry goods mixed:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

3.5 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon white sugar
 

Wet goods mixed:

1.25 cups milk(I throw a small dash of whole cream on top of this, optional)
3 tablespoons butter, melted(and then at room temperature)

1 egg beaten

Letting sit for a few minutes and then obviously mixed together in the end. 

Pancake recipes vary from each person to the next. Not matter how many times I make these, they are good. Always on medium to high heat. :p Never burned.
 

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I agree that your temperature is too high, but I also think you are using too much oil/butter.  Those edges look almost fried.  I see that on mine sometimes, if I add too much oil to the griddle.  I never pour it on, but use a paper towel to brush it on.  That way I don't get too much oil on there.
 

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The recipe FF posts looks good, though I would omit the sugar and consider a cultured dairy product.  You can separate the eggs and beat the whites if you want a fluffier result.  I agree with Pete re less oil and lower temperature.

The mix seems irrational especially given that, if a 'net search is right, the Trader Joe's mix asks you to add melted butter, milk, and an egg.  Are people really buying mix because they can't bear to measure salt and baking powder into flour?
 

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I'm in Pete's camp, that looks to me like burnt fat, i.e. butter, oil etc. not the batter itself.

Letting the batter sit a spell relaxes the gluten, and they just seem to cook up better
that way. Samo with crepes which are basically pan pancakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm in Pete's camp, that looks to me like burnt fat, i.e. butter, oil etc. not the batter itself.

Letting the batter sit a spell relaxes the gluten, and they just seem to cook up better
that way. Samo with crepes which are basically pan pancakes.
I've heard this before too, I can't remember where. Some people say oil others say butter. I'm sure that what I'm doing wrong is not because of the recipe, the recipe is irrelevant. It has something to do with the right amount of heat and the right kind of oil/butter. Something is off about my technique.
The recipe FF posts looks good, though I would omit the sugar and consider a cultured dairy product. You can separate the eggs and beat the whites if you want a fluffier result. I agree with Pete re less oil and lower temperature.

The mix seems irrational especially given that, if a 'net search is right, the Trader Joe's mix asks you to add melted butter, milk, and an egg. Are people really buying mix because they can't bear to measure salt and baking powder into flour?
Don't wanna be judged for it, thanks. I also enjoy mashed potatoes from a box. I'm capable of anything.
 
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