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My time in the kitchen is not limited to the daytime or evening hours when I bake breads or dish up desserts. No, breakfast is an equally important meal, and when a hearty breakfast is called upon, nothing sits in the stomach like a powerful stack of pancakes. Pancakes: recipe and photo-documentation included.
The incredible, edible egg—it all begins here.
Break the egg into a bowl. In this case I used my hand-dandy plastic measuring-mug because it is a multi-purpose device. Not only is it great for measuring, it is wonderful for stirring, and it conveniently aids in the pouring of batter into the hot pan. It has a handle, unlike most bowls, which is an added benefit.
Beat the egg until it is fluffy.
I am sure somebody out there has a t-shirt that reads Beat eggs, not wives (or: children, spouses, girlfriends, animals, etc.).
Now we add the other dry ingredients—flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt—followed by the milk and oil.
Once this is done, as the following image demonstrates, we use a fork to beat the mixture until it is relatively smooth. Why a fork? one might ask. A fork has the advantage over a large spoon in that using a spoon can result in clumps of dry material. A whisk is handy, but I do not have one in this apartment.
This particular batter results in fluffy and dense but not too dense pancakes. If you want thinner pancakes, add an extra tablespoon or so of milk. There are several standard ways to alter this recipe: buttermilk instead of milk, less baking powder but the addition of baking soda, as well as the addition of cinnamon and other spices.
Before we cook the actual pancakes, let us first take a look our sidekicks, the supporting cast, if you will, of this endeavor. A stick of butter is nice. For one, we use a bit to grease the pan, which I heat to level 4 on my range, but which I turn down to 3 once I begin cooking, and later we slather our finished pancakes with a slab of butter before adding the syrup (see below). A few drops of water can be used to see if the pan is hot enough; if the water droplets jump around, the heat is right. Do not forget a plate and fork; unlike breads and puddings, pancakes should be eaten immediately after being cooked.
Do not forget the maple syrup. In the United States one can purchase imitation maple syrup; it is mostly corn syrup and coloring with some maple flavor, and at less than a dollar for a quart, it is quite a bargain. In a country like Germany in which maple syrup is in low demand, there is no market for the imitation stuff, so instead I spent between three and four Euros for a 250g bottle of Canadian maple syrup.
As for the pancakes, I always begin with a small one to test the pan. About 3 tablespoons, or a bit less than 1/4 cup of batter is sufficient. This results in a pancake 3–4 inches across depending on batter consistency. Air bubbles will form and pop. Once the edges firm up, I use my plastic spatula (not pictured) to flip the pancake.
For subsequent pancakes I use more batter to get pancakes that are closer to 6 inches across (as seen in the third image above). I prefer to avoid larger pancakes because with my particular spatula they can be hard to flip, though one can of course do away with the spatula all together and simply work some wrist-magic to shake the skillet a bit, flip the pancake, and—later—slide the pancake onto a plate.
Pancakes go especially well with fried eggs, but that is another story for another day ...
—July 3 2006