The most common cause of rubbery pancakes is over mixing, the batter can be slightly lumpy but you only need to mix until everything is blended. Chemical Reactions and Pancakes, from the Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project Not resting the batter. • Small mixing bowls When chemical leaveners, such as baking powder, create bubbles in a cooked pancake, the gluten network traps these bubbles and allows a pancake to rise and stay fluffy yet still keep its shape. Equipment A skillet makes it difficult to flip the pancakes, so a griddle is preferred. What do you think is happening to the overmixed batter in the second and third bowls? Discover world-changing science. How much did they spread out compared with the first and second batches? • Taste the pancakes and note their flavor and texture. Taste the pancakes and note their flavors and textures. • Three labels: "Mixed until combined-lumpy," "Mixed until smooth," "Mixed until smooth + 3–5 minutes" Overmixing develops the gluten in the flour that will make pancakes tough and rubbery. They also do not bond (or "link") to one another. Have you ever wondered what makes pancakes so fluffy? • Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for three to five minutes. Sugar: Sugar binds with the water in the batter and slows the development of the gluten. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. I mean, really flat. • Add one teaspoon of oil to the skillet or griddle and coat the bottom evenly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the "Mixed until combined-lumpy" bowl. • Rubber spatula Pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined. More to explore Flour contains starch and protein. When you mixed together the wet and dry ingredients in the first bowl, "Mixed until combined-lumpy," you allowed the gluten proteins to become loose, mobile and perhaps begin to link to one another in a relaxed weblike network. • Two tbsp granulated sugar Gluten also provides the "chewy" texture in pancakes and breads. When the flour is dry, the gluten molecules are nearly immobile, which means that they do not move much. Exploring Rising in Baked Goods, from the American Chemical Society • Whisk lemon juice and milk in a medium bowl or large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Introduction • Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly both before and after the experiment. How are these pancakes different from the pancakes from the first two batters? In this activity you'll learn about the chemical processes that make pancakes fluffy—and also why overmixing your pancake batter will result in tough, rubbery and flat pancakes. Observations and results Chemistry of Gluten Proteins, from Food Microbiology • Dry - ingredient measuring cups How would you describe the texture? Further mixing allows the end of a gluten protein to bond with the end of another gluten protein. A protein is a long, chainlike molecule made up of smaller molecules called amino acids. • Large mixing bowl Flour contains a protein called glutenin (or gluten), which is crucial for the formation and structure of pancakes and baked goods. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side. • Make sure to turn off the burner completely when you are finished cooking. Gluten … Background As the gluten proteins come in contact with one another, they continue to bond. Taste the pancakes and note their flavors and textures. Use a measuring cup to scoop batter. That's because the more you mix, the more gluten develops in the batter—meaning you'll end up with tough, chewy pancakes instead of ones that … That means pancakes with a tablespoon of sugar will be softer, less rubbery, less elastic. Protein. What do you notice about the pancakes made from the lumpy batter? Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Flat as a Pancake? Are they fluffier or tougher than the first batch? A flat pancake could … What are the differences among the three bowls of batter? Materials (Use a ruler and write down your observations if you would like). This means that the gluten organized itself into more tightly wound, side-by-side bonds in a very strong weblike network. How much liquid did you add? The second and third batches of pancakes might have been a little tougher than the first batch. Recipe makes about 12 small pancakes, enough for four to six people. Cooking In the second and third batches, overmixing the batter until smooth or very smooth overdeveloped the gluten. Chemistry How would you describe the texture? Favorite Answer. A starch is like a long chain of simple sugars. • Stove top • Cook the "Mixed until smooth + 3–5 minutes" batter in the same manner as the other two batches, making sure the pan or griddle remain at the same heat. Cook the pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear. This activity brought to you in partnership with CityScience, 5 hours ago — Melissa C. Lott | Opinion, 21 hours ago — Jason Kane and PBS NewsHour. Over-mixing pancake batter develops the gluten that will make the pancakes rubbery and tough. Cleanup (Do not mix until smooth.) Sugar will also aid in browning and give you those crispy edges that no pancake can do without. • Wire whisk When the flour is moistened with water (or with milk and eggs, which are composed mainly of water), the gluten molecules become active. How are these pancakes different from the pancakes from the lumpy batter? • In the bowl labeled "Mixed until smooth + 3–5 minutes," whisk the batter thoroughly until completely smooth, and then mix for another three to five minutes. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. And, yes, if you add melted butter to a cold liquid, the butter will get cool again in a hurry. • One-half tsp baking soda • Two cups unbleached , all-purpose flour • One-half tsp salt The answers to these questions lie in a protein called gluten. • Cook the "Mixed until smooth" batter in the same manner as the first batch.