4 Levels of Pancakes: Amateur to Food Scientist

We challenged chefs of three different levels - an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef - to make their versions of pancakes. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which pancake was the best? Check out the professional's recipe here on the ICE blog: https://www.ice.edu/blog/candied-bacon-pancakes-bourbon-maple-syrup

Released on 7/24/2019

Transcript

00:00
[cracking egg] [liquid pouring]
00:01
[pan sizzling] [grater scraping]
00:02
[upbeat music]
00:05
Hi, I'm Stephen and this is my pancake recipe.
00:07
Hi, I'm Beth and this is
00:11
the Demino family pancake recipe.
00:13
Hi, I'm Penny
00:14
and I've been professional chef for 15 years.
00:17
[upbeat music]
00:18
I came up with this because I got tired
00:20
of the monotony of regular pancakes
00:22
and I really wanted to shake it up.
00:23
My children loved pancakes when they were growing up.
00:26
We make them all the time.
00:28
This is my pancake recipe
00:29
that I make on any Sunday morning
00:31
that my husband is willing to do the dishes.
00:35
[suspenseful music]
00:41
We have our pancake mix,
00:42
already prepared in this bowl.
00:44
I start with the flour
00:45
Obviously there's flour here.
00:47
So that's a little bit of whole wheat flour.
00:49
I replaced some of the all purpose flour with.
00:52
And then, of course, there's a little bit of sugar,
00:54
'cause you gotta have sugar. Gotta have sugar.
00:56
Two whole brown eggs.
00:58
There's a lot of shells in there.
01:00
And then we have our chemical leaveners.
01:01
We have baking powder and baking soda.
01:04
To help them rise.
01:06
Cut about half of the cheesecake.
01:09
Ooh.
01:11
This is breaking up the monotony.
01:13
There you go.
01:16
And then you just wanna kinda break it up.
01:19
Oh geez, this is...
01:21
More of an arm workout than I would like.
01:24
I always start with a cup of milk.
01:27
And then we'll follow up with our buttermilk.
01:30
This is some graham cracker sprinkles.
01:33
It added a little je ne sais quoi.
01:35
Don't know what that means though.
01:37
This is the important part.
01:38
Don't overmix it.
01:40
I don't wanna overmix this.
01:41
And you wanna make sure that you mix it thoroughly.
01:44
[Penny] That's it, that's the batter.
01:45
Now we're gonna cook the pancakes.
01:49
All right, so now onto the fun bacon part.
01:51
This is where the magic is
01:52
really happening in this recipe.
01:53
I'm gonna take the bacon.
01:55
And we're gonna chop it into small pieces.
01:58
Then just one down through the center for good measure.
02:00
And what I like to do to grease the pan
02:02
is to use some vegetable oil on a piece of paper towel,
02:06
or a kitchen towel.
02:08
I like the way oil works better
02:10
with the pancakes than the butter.
02:12
[Stephen] You wanna take a good chunk of butter.
02:15
So I don't really need to overgrease this,
02:17
but I'm gonna make sure that the pancake doesn't stick.
02:20
Before I make the pancakes
02:23
I always like to do a tester pancake
02:25
to make sure that the pan is hot
02:28
and the consistency of the batter
02:30
is exactly where I want it.
02:31
My skillet's nice and hot.
02:33
It's preheated to a good medium, medium high temperature.
02:37
Then I'll pour my batter into the center.
02:42
So this is the first pancake.
02:44
The first pancake is not usually your best pancake.
02:47
Most often it ends up actually in the garbage.
02:49
Some say the first pancake never comes out perfect.
02:52
I go against some.
02:54
And now we wait.
02:56
Waiting for pancakes is one of the hardest things
02:58
you can do in the world.
03:00
[singing]
03:03
That's a nice color on both sides.
03:05
This is just [laughing].
03:10
So rule of thumb, we always try
03:12
to throw away the first pancake.
03:13
It's burnt, if we're gonna be honest.
03:18
It's burnt.
03:20
[scraping]
03:21
All right.
03:22
Wish me luck.
03:23
Ah!
03:25
It's a mess.
03:26
I told ya, the first one.
03:28
Now that our testing pancake came out great,
03:31
let's make four more.
03:33
Now we're gonna go in for round two.
03:38
[Beth] Put some blueberries on.
03:40
Candied bacon.
03:42
I like a piece of bacon in every forkful of pancake.
03:45
I think I'm romanticizing.
03:47
Now we wait for the bubbles.
03:49
But it's still not ready. Mother's intuition.
03:51
You know when to flip the pancakes
03:53
when you see lots of bubbles on top,
03:56
and the bubbles start to pop.
03:58
The bubbles are already starting to release.
04:00
I'm supposed to flip it four times.
04:02
So about twice on each side.
04:04
I only like to turn my pancakes once.
04:09
[Penny] It's gonna do what it does.
04:11
There we have a beautiful blueberry pancake.
04:14
Nice lift when I turned it, thank you baking powder.
04:17
So you have the bubbles on the first side
04:19
that tell you when to flip, but you don't have
04:21
that kind of benefit on the second side.
04:24
So anyplace that little bit of batter escaped
04:27
when I flipped it, that's kind of my guide.
04:29
Once I see that look more dry,
04:31
then I know maybe I'm okay.
04:33
Now we're gonna make our toppings.
04:34
Always start with some nice butter.
04:36
Butter.
04:37
[Beth] That will melt on our warm pancakes.
04:40
So the brown butter that was in the pancake recipe,
04:42
we only used three tablespoons of that.
04:44
But I went ahead and made the entire pound of butter
04:46
brown butter, because why not?
04:48
I'm gonna chop the strawberries.
04:51
Pour the strawberry syrup on top of the strawberries.
04:54
First we'll put the maple syrup
04:56
so that the blueberries will stick to the syrup.
04:59
Nobody likes maple syrup.
05:01
We're gonna start with a bourbon maple syrup.
05:04
We're gonna take a vanilla bean.
05:06
Split that down the center.
05:08
And scrape down the pod
05:10
with the back of a paring knife.
05:13
Gonna scrape that into there.
05:15
And add the bean as well.
05:17
Pinch of salt.
05:18
Bourbon, lots of it.
05:20
And we're gonna bring this up to a simmer.
05:23
The easiest way to get it to a consistent simmer
05:25
is to first bring it up to a boil
05:26
and then as soon as it hits a boil, turn it down.
05:29
And we're gonna let that hang out for about
05:31
10 to 15 minutes so that all the flavors blend together.
05:35
Blueberries, and a final flourish
05:38
of a little lemon zest.
05:41
Then you take the syrup and lather it on.
05:45
You can even pour it.
05:47
Ooh that looks good.
05:49
Then I'm gonna drizzle it
05:51
over the top of my pancakes.
05:54
And no joke, I'm also gonna put it in a small pitcher
05:56
and serve it alongside because the amount of syrup
05:59
on the top is never enough.
06:00
So I really like a little bit of a fruity element
06:03
with my pancakes, and so I made an apple butter.
06:06
Apple butter is like applesauce,
06:07
but it's cooked way longer.
06:09
And very rich, and a lot of the moisture's been cooked out.
06:12
So I like to just serve this alongside my pancakes.
06:17
And dip in as I go.
06:18
Let's dig in.
06:22
My husband's gonna be so jealous that I ate these.
06:26
These are my pancakes.
06:29
[upbeat music]
06:36
I see where I messed up.
06:38
But it's really good.
06:38
Oh my god, they're so good. That's so good.
06:42
[drumming]
06:45
The dry ingredients in pancake mix
06:48
are flour, salt, sugar, and leaveners.
06:51
Stephen bought that mix.
06:53
This is in fact store bought pancake mix.
06:56
And Beth made that mix.
06:58
They're essentially the same thing.
06:59
And it's a lot less expensive.
07:01
Quick breads like pancakes are leavened
07:03
with chemical leaveners,
07:05
either baking powder or baking soda.
07:07
Stephen and Beth both used baking powder
07:11
in their pancake batter.
07:13
Mother's intuition.
07:14
Baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate,
07:17
which is basic or alkaline.
07:20
And a mixture of acids.
07:22
The mixture of an acidic compound and a basic compound
07:26
will come together and produce carbon dioxide gas
07:28
in our batter, and make it rise or lift when it's baking.
07:33
Thank you baking powder.
07:34
Penny's pancake batter has
07:36
baking soda and baking powder.
07:38
Baking soda, when combined with an acidic component,
07:41
like the buttermilk in her batter,
07:44
will help to produce more carbon dioxide bubbles
07:47
than our level one and level two chefs,
07:49
creating product that will rise even more.
07:52
Those are the cold hard facts.
07:54
This is also gonna produce an even browner final product.
07:58
Color's good, it's nice and brown.
08:00
A little bit caramelized on the top.
08:02
Because the Maillard reaction,
08:03
or the combination of a reducing sugar
08:06
and the amino acids found in the batter
08:09
are favorable in a basic environment.
08:12
So that's that.
08:13
Each of our chefs use a different kind
08:14
of dairy product in their pancake batter.
08:17
Beth used whole milk.
08:19
I always start with a cup of milk.
08:21
[Scientist] And Penny used buttermilk.
08:23
Buttermilk, brown butter,
08:24
two of the secrets in the liquid ingredients.
08:27
Buttermilk is more acidic than whole milk,
08:29
and will provide a deeper flavor than the whole milk.
08:33
Anywhere that I can add things
08:35
to make it more interesting, I like to try to do that.
08:37
[Scientist] Stephen used cheesecake in his batter,
08:40
which will make it resemble more of a cake
08:42
than a pancake.
08:43
It will be less fluffy and have a tighter crumb.
08:47
It doesn't look good.
08:48
Penny's dry mix looked similar to Stephen's
08:51
and Beth's mix, but she added whole wheat flour
08:53
to create a complex flavor in her final pancake.
08:56
I'm not trying to be healthy, no joke.
08:59
[Scientist] Stephen vigorously stirred his pancake batter.
09:02
More of an arm workout than I would like.
09:05
Beth and Penny both stirred their pancake batter
09:08
just until the dry ingredients were wet and dampened.
09:12
But if it's smooth, and not lumpy,
09:15
it won't be right.
09:16
It just won't.
09:17
Overstirring produces gluten strands
09:19
that tunnel through the pancake batter.
09:21
This will produce a chewy and elastic product.
09:24
As opposed to a fluffy pancake.
09:27
[drumming]
09:30
Cooking a pancake over a moderate or medium heat
09:34
will ensure that the browning happens on the outside
09:36
of the pancake at the same rate that the inside cooks.
09:41
I don't really like it mushy in the middle.
09:43
As soon as bubbles start to form on the top
09:46
of the pancake it's ready to flip.
09:48
[Beth] Bubble action.
09:50
This shows that the carbon dioxide
09:52
is giving leavening or rise to the pancake,
09:55
and it's ready to turn over to the other side.
09:57
Stephen flipped his pancake before we saw
09:59
the carbon dioxide bubbles break the surface of his pancake.
10:04
[bleeping]
10:05
This is because he stirred the mixture vigorously
10:08
and removed a lot of that leavening power
10:11
from the baking powder.
10:12
And he used heavy and dense ingredients like cheesecake
10:16
that is gonna weigh down his product.
10:18
I thought I was ready for level two.
10:20
But I think I'm right where I belong.
10:22
People often use the first pancake
10:24
as a test to see if the heat is at
10:26
the right temperature in their pan.
10:29
A good example of this is Stephen's first pancake.
10:32
The bottom got a little bit too brown
10:34
before the middle could cook.
10:36
It's burnt.
10:37
If we're gonna be honest.
10:38
He then adjusted his heat to make sure
10:40
that the next pancakes were cooked evenly.
10:43
After being flipped once the pancakes
10:45
will start to rise again.
10:47
If you continue to flip the pancakes back and forth
10:50
you're gonna push out all of the carbon dioxide
10:52
built up in the pancake and it won't be as fluffy.
10:57
You don't make these pancakes like I do.
11:00
You're just a scientist.
11:01
One flip is ideal for making pancakes.
11:04
Multiple flips will create a flatter pancake
11:06
by taking out some of the carbon dioxide in the batter.
11:09
Stephen didn't mix anything into his pancakes.
11:12
Beth used blueberries in her mix.
11:15
And Penny used candied bacon.
11:18
Oh this smells incredible.
11:20
[Scientist] When adding something into the pancake mix,
11:23
the lower the sugar content
11:24
the less likely it's going to burn.
11:27
Blueberries are a good option in pancake mix
11:30
because when exposed to direct heat
11:32
they won't burn as quickly as a higher sugar product
11:35
You can't have too many blueberries on blueberry pancakes.
11:38
High sugar mix ins like Penny's candied bacon
11:42
can burn at a faster rate than the pancakes cook.
11:45
[Penny] Sprinkle the remaining candied bacon
11:48
over the top of this baby.
11:50
It is advisable to have a high level of expertise
11:53
when adding high sugar products into your pancake mix.
11:57
This will help to avoid burning.
11:58
[drumming]
12:02
Each chef chose a thoughtful array of toppings
12:05
to pair with their pancakes.
12:07
Stephen paired his pancakes with fresh cut strawberries
12:10
and strawberry syrup.
12:11
Ooh, that looks good.
12:13
Beth paired her pancakes with maple syrup,
12:16
blueberries, and butter, with a little bit of lemon zest
12:19
to help brighten the overall flavor.
12:21
That's wonderful.
12:22
Penny added apple butter, bourbon maple syrup,
12:26
spiced brown butter, and candied bacon to her pancakes.
12:31
Everybody has their own individual way
12:33
of topping a pancake.
12:35
You can layer on similar flavors,
12:37
or combine different tastes, flavors,
12:39
and textures to create an overall
12:41
more unique sensory profile.
12:44
The next time you're flipping out on Sunday morning
12:46
take some of the tips from this video
12:48
to make your next pancakes.