Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Good question. A diner pancake is often made from a mix that isn't too far removed from a cake mix. With vanilla extract added to sweeten so to speak the mix. If that's your gold standard for a pancake, there's your answer. If you want a true pancake with a crispy, golden, textural edge, look here: http://www.InJenniesKitchen...
Sam is a trusted home cook.
The griddle has been seasoned with hundreds of pancakes over the years. Imparting a magical element which is difficult to replicate. Seasoned from decades of hashbrowns, bacon grease, hamburgers, grilled onions..etc..etc.
I'm half way serious here...as one drug store that has lunch counter here that's been in operation for 50 years..has a magical cutting board that transforms a normal ham and cheese sandwich into high art.
For fluffy pancakes, have you tried separating the eggs and beating the egg whites + salt till they form stiff peaks? I've found that the extra step is really worth it.
Rachael is a trusted home cook.
I've found that you can get a magical pancake when you use a well seasoned griddle and first cook a couple of strips of bacon in it. Then cook the pancakes in some leftover bacon greese. Your heart may quail but your tummy will thank you!
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
There are two reasons that come to my mind first. One is that, to save time, many places make their batter the night or day before and leave it prepped and ready to pour in the morning. I have found that pancakes come out better when the batter has had some time to rest and let the leavening come to life- hence the fluffiness.
The other is that most restaurants use a commercial flat top griddle to cook their pancakes. You get even, high-heat cooking that is hard to replicate in a pan. The closest I get is with a seasoned cast iron griddle, the kind that fits over two burners, but I'm sure one of the other talented foodpicklers here can think of a better way to replicate a flat top at home ;)
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