Pancakes are quick and easy to prepare and don't require difficult techniques.
1. Begin by combining all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stirring them together until they're well combined. Beat the whole eggs or egg yolks (if they're included) in another mixing bowl, one that's large enough to also hold the liquid ingredients.
2. Stir the liquid ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients. To make your pancakes light and tender, stir the batter just until the ingredients are combined but the mixture is still slightly lumpy. Any small lumps left in the batter will cook out on the griddle -- and overmixing destroys the air bubbles in the batter, resulting in heavy, tough pancakes.
One of the secrets to producing great pancakes is to use a griddle or heavy skillet that heats evenly. Look for one with a cooking surface that is large enough to cook several pancakes at one time.
If the recipe calls for cooking pancakes on a lightly greased griddle or skillet, put a small amount of shortening on a piece of waxed paper or a pastry brush and rub or brush it across the griddle or skillet surface before heating. Or, give the cold pan a quick spray with nonstick spray coating. If your griddle or skillet has a nonstick surface, greasing may not be necessary.
1. Wait until your griddle is heated to medium heat (or whatever other temperature the recipe directs) before pouring the pancake batter on it. Test the griddle by dripping a few drops of water on it. If the water dances over the surface, the griddle is ready.
2. For a nice round pancake, pour your batter on the griddle from a measuring cup, a pitcher, or a small gravy ladle with a spout that will give an even flow. Whatever you use, hold it close to the griddle surface and pour into an even shape. Don't crowd your griddle -- the pancakes will cook better and look better if they don't run together.
3. As your pancakes are cooking, keep an eye on the griddle temperature. You may need to adjust the heat to get satisfactory results. The more pancakes you make, the easier it will become to determine the ideal temperature.
4. The pancakes are ready to turn when the undersides are golden brown and the top surfaces are evenly covered with tiny, unbroken bubbles. Use the edge of a spatula (a round one in a large size is helpful) to carefully check if the undersides are browned. If the pancakes are too brown on the bottoms before bubbles form on the tops, your griddle is too hot. If the tops bake dry before the bottoms are browned, the griddle is too cool. Adjust the heat accordingly.
5. When the pancakes are golden brown on both sides, remove them from the griddle -- and enjoy!