Good morning everyone! I’ve been meaning to make a guide for all the fundamentals of gluten free cooking for absolutely ages. And I thought I’d start today with an essential gluten free brunch basic: how to make perfectly fluffy gluten free American pancakes. Using Doves Farm self-raising flour and applesauce to sweeten.
If you don’t have applesauce at home, get yourself a jar (the lump free kind) next time you’re at the supermarket. It’s a great ingredient to use in gluten free cooking. Not only as a way to cut down on added sugar, but it can really help with the texture as well. And it’s super cheap too; I get mine for only 30p in Morrisons. FYI, it doesn’t actually make things taste like apples. ?
Now pancakes may seem like an absolute basic that everyone knows how to do, right? But while the ingredients are super simple, I’ve come to realise that a lot of people struggle to get them right, especially after crossing over that dreaded gluten free bridge (a.k.a. the death of all good things floury ?).
But what if I told you that getting the perfectly light and fluffy texture that pancake dreams are made of has a lot to do with how you cook your pancakes rather than any magical flour blend, recipe or that godforsaken protein gluten? Here’s what I learned over the years.
How to make better American pancakes:
1. Let the batter rest for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking. It gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and produces a softer texture.
2. Don’t over-mix the batter. Just whisking briefly until you reach a smooth lump free batter is all you need! Anything more can affect how airy the pancakes turn out.
3. Be careful not to overcook them. Keep the temperature on low throughout the entire process. American pancakes need to be cooked slowly on low heat to avoid ending up with an overcooked outer layer and a raw centre. And don’t cook for too long; 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size (more on that below).
4. Flip only once (and at the right time). Pancakes only need to be flipped once and shouldn’t be messed with too much. The right time to flip is when you start seeing little bubbles forming at the top and don’t wait too long; the batter should still be wet on top. When you flip the pancake, the cooked layer should only be a light golden colour (like in the pictures below). For mini pancakes, cook for 3 minutes (flip midway through). For medium pancakes, cook for 3 to 4 minutes (flip about 1.5 to 2 minutes in). And for large pancakes, cook for 4-5 minutes (flip about 2.5 to 3 minutes in). Experiment until you figure out what works best for you.
5. Use a timer. Figure out the optimal cooking and flipping time for the size of your pancakes and use a timer. It’s much easier than eyeing it up and guessing when the pancakes are done.
6. Take your pan off the heat between batches. Between each batch of pancakes, take the pan off the heat briefly while you prepare to cook some more. This gives it time to cool down a bit so it’s not too hot when you add the next round of batter.
Gluten free American pancakes recipe:
- 170g self-raising flour (I use Freee by Doves Farm)
- 100g whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 70g (4 heaped tsp) applesauce (get one without apple lumps)
- Dash of salt
Cooking time for large pancakes: 4 to 5 mins
Cooking time for mini pancakes: 3 mins
- Whisk the pancake ingredients briefly just until you reach a smooth batter. For better results, let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes. It gives the flour time to absorb the liquid a produces a better, softer texture.
- Cook the pancakes on low heat in a non-stick frying pan with a generous amount of light cooking spray (I use Fry Light) or 1 tsp of butter or any cooking oil of your choice. Heat up the oil/cooking spray briefly and add about 1 ladle of batter (for large pancakes) or 1 tablespoon for mini pancakes. Start your timer and flip midway through. Note: read my tips above to know the best cooking time based on the size of your pancakes. A rule of thumb is when you start seeing little bubbles forming on top.
- Serve with toppings of your choice.