Published January 1, 1996.
For the best flavor and texture, cut back on the leavening and use buttermilk thinned with regular milk.
First, the batter has to be the right texture. Runny batters cook into crepes; thick batters can cook up wet and heavy. Second, the griddle needs to be the right temperature. An overly hot skillet delivers a cake with a scorched exterior and raw interior, while a cool skillet gives the cake a hard, thick crust and a dry interior. But one of the most crucial issues with pancakes----and all quick breads, really----is getting the leavening right.
Pancakes are fast and easy, but if they are also to be good, there are a few things you have to get right.
We are definite fans of buttermilk, which adds flavor depth and its characteristic tang. After exhaustive testing with chemical leaveners, we opted for a combination of baking powder and baking soda to leaven the pancakes. The small amount of baking soda gave the pancakes a coarser crumb and made them light and tender. The baking powder helped with the rise. Also, since baking soda immediately begins to react when mixed with buttermilk, the addition of baking powder, which is activated by griddle heat, guaranteed that the leavening power would endure throughout the pancake-making process.list of recipes