Science Wows Pancake Science Magazine - Page 4

Pancake Science A bit of history The ancient Greeks first started making pancakes (as we know them) in the 6th Century, when they combined ground wheat, olive oil and honey. Today, the basic ingredients in pancakes are milk, flour and eggs. h What about modern pancakes? In Europe, modern pancakes come in different shapes and sizes. There are the round, flat ones which contains some form of flour, and a liquid such as milk or water. These flat pancakes usually also contain eggs and butter, and sugar (if you like them sweet). Then we also have the thicker, fluffier pancakes such as drop scones, scottish pancakes and of course the well know buttermilk pancakes, that are so popular in America. These thicker pancakes contain a special ingredient called a raising agent. Know your raising agents When it comes to pancakes, there are two types of raising agents usually used, bread soda (also known as baking soda) and baking powder; but what is the difference? Bread soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder contains bread soda but it also contains a powdered acid (usually cream of tartar – potassium bitartrate). Bread soda is an alkali/base and will react with an acid (such as the buttermilk used in pancake batter) producing salt, water and carbon dioxide gas. This is real kitchen chemistry! Bread Soda + Acid c salt + water + carbon dioxide This carbon dioxide gas gets trapped in thousands of tiny bubbles within the batter making the pancake rise on cooking into light and fluffy wonders! The baking powder has the added advantage of having the acid already present, so once a liquid is added the dry acid and alkali can start reacting together straight away. What goes into a pancake? Flour - this can be considered the backbone of the pancake as it provides support and structure Eggs - full of protein, these also add to the structure as well as the flavour MILK Milk - helps to bind all the ingredients together and allows the chemical reactions to take place Sugar - as well as adding the nice sweet taste and contributing to the colour of the pancake, sugar also keeps the pancake from getting too thick and stodgy 3 Flour