There are several ingredients you can add to pancake batter to make your cakes fluffier, and starting with all-purpose flour gives your cakes body, structure and shape. Making the batter from scratch doesn’t take much more time than using an add-water mix, and most of the ingredients are items you probably already have on hand. If you have little helpers in the kitchen, their busy hands can be put to use. Don’t worry about lumps in the batter. Overbeating results in tough pancakes.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder
As rising agents that work together, baking powder and baking soda are the two most important ingredients when making fluffy pancake from scratch. Without them, your pancakes will be flat, chewy and dense. The baking soda and powder react with the wet ingredients to give the batter a light texture by creating air. To make the batter, add the baking powder and baking soda directly to the all-purpose flour and stir to combine before adding any of the wet ingredients.
Many traditional pancake recipes have the word “buttermilk” right in the title. The cultured sourness of this dairy product is substituted for the milk, and when added to the flour it will react with the rising agents, resulting in fluffy cakes with a moist and tender inside. To make these with all-purpose flour, put your dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Once all the wet ingredients such as eggs, melted butter and buttermilk have been combined, add them all at once to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. To make a buttermilk substitute, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of milk used.
Whipping Egg Whites
Most pancake recipes call for the addition of eggs. In flour-based pancake batter, eggs provide color and help to bind the ingredients. They can also help create fluffiness. Separate the egg yolks from the egg white. Mix the egg yolks with the wet ingredients, and whip the egg white until light and fluffy, adding a little sugar if a hint of sweetness is desired. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter after all the ingredients have been combined.
Yogurt and Sour Cream
Both yogurt and sour cream are fermented dairy products, and thus provide beneficial enzymes to flour-based pancakes, helping the batter to achieve a healthier rise. Both yogurt and sour cream can also replace the melted butter in most pancake recipes. To make the batter, combine the all-purpose flour with the rising agents in a separate bowl. Press a little well in the flour, drop in the eggs and sour cream or yogurt, and stir. Add your milk until you have a pourable batter, and watch how the pancakes rise when you ladle the batter onto the hot griddle.
For more than 10 years, Carol Butler has run a small, off-grid furniture business with her husband and is a regular contributor to the Edible community of magazines. As staff writer for RichLife Advisors, she covers financial planning and other industry-related topics. She holds a B.F.A. in theater arts.