Making pancakes is among the simplest of culinary feats. To start, you need the right ingredients. Fortunately, the best flour for pancakes is also the most readily available – good old all-purpose. High-gluten flour makes tough, chewy pancakes, while pancakes made with cake flour get soggy when syrup is poured over them. For a change of taste, substitute cornmeal, buckwheat flour, or whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour called in a pancakes recipe.

01.    When leavening with baking powder/soda, mixing the batter is critical. There are two stages: whisking together the dry ingredients, and whisking the wet ingredients into the dry. In the final step, don’t whisk the batter to a smooth, uniform texture, or the gluten in the flour will develop and produce tough pancakes. Instead, mix the wet and dry ingredients together only partially, leaving lumps of unmoistened dry ingredients. The interaction of the liquid and the pockets of dry ingredients during cooking will results in fluffy pancakes. Yeasted pancakes require no such care, but unless you want to wait for the batter to rise in the morning, mix it the night before, and let it rise in the refrigerator.

02.    More butter does not mean better pancakes. A thin film covering the griddle prevents puddling and browns the pancakes evenly. After melting the butter on the griddle, wipe the surface with a paper towel. Too much melted butter on the griddle will result in “fried” pancakes – crispy on the outside and undercooked on the inside.

03.    For fruit pancakes, place fruit on top of the batter right after it’s poured onto the griddle. This allows the fruit to be evenly distributed in each pancakes. Mixing the fruit in before the pancakes are on the griddle will thin the batter.

04.    When is the time to flip? When the batter surface is covered with little bubbles, some of which have begun to break, the leavening agent has created enough carbon dioxide to lift and lighten the dough. The bursting bubbles, though, are letting that gas escape, so flip the pancake just at this moment, before too many have popped. Bubbles will appear first at the edges, which may begin to look dry before the rest of the surface is covered. Avoid the temptation to flip the pancake until some of the interior bubbles have burst.