Do you like a sweet and savory breakfast? Well here’s a diner-style pancake recipe from the collection of “Cook Like a Diner” you’re going to love!
What makes a good diner pancake? First they’re big, buttery, and they are fluffy. That’s where seltzer water comes in. According to chef John Koutsouris, who runs the grill at The Greeks diner in Kearny, NJ, seltzer water is the key to the fluff! Koutsouris used to add milk, eggs, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and water to a packaged mix for his pancakes. But about 7 years ago, he tried swapping the water out for seltzer. “Water is flat and seltzer is airy, so I figured the bubbles would give them a lighter, fluffier feeling, and it worked,” he explains.
No surprise here: Koutsouris’ strategy checks out. In a taste test of pancakes made with seltzer versus plain water, the bubbly-water pancakes were more fluffy! Just like using seltzer water in tempura batter makes a light and airy batter, when you add seltzer into pancake mix, tiny bubbles of air are infused into the batter, and expand when heated. (Pro tip: Make sure to keep the water cold, as there are more bubbles in cold seltzer than room temperature.)
With this intel, putting together a diner-style pancake recipe wasn’t hard. I started with food director Rhoda Boone’s genius buttermilk pancakes, swapping in some seltzer water for a portion of the buttermilk, then adding a little more flour to give Rhoda’s thin and crispy pancakes a little body to showcase those bubbles.
At The Greeks, Koutsouris makes dozens of pancakes in the course of a busy Saturday, but for a group of four friends (or family), eight pancakes should do it. And before you douse these cloud-like confections in maple syrup, you might want to try doing what Katsouris does: Try a dollop of strawberry jam on top of your stack.
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