Rouxbe 101 The Basics: Mile High Pancake Lesson

For beginning the culinary arts at Rouxbe.com, the school’s first basic knowledge lesson is about Wheat and Wheat Gluten. It is designed with a self-assessment test of your own knowledge about wheat before they present you with the first cooking lesson with flour to give you a mental test drive of their school. You lock in your answers. There is no cheating or redos.

I used Krusteaz Honey Wheat pancake mix because my husband and I limit our eating of white flour recipes so we don’t keep any flour in our kitchen. The mix is made with an all purpose flour and did serve the purpose of this lesson perfectly.

I mixed the box mix and water lightly. I then separated 1/3 of the mix into another bowl and timed my whisking the batter by hand for exactly two minutes. I let the rest of the other bowl batter sit for the five required minutes. I had Ed, my husband, griddle both batters while observed this.

1. The over mixed batter stayed dense while on the griddle and did not spread out. They were smaller pancakes. Transferring them to the plate they felt like rubber. I then cut one in half and felt it hard to slice it. I propped the cut cake up so I could photograph its texture. It was dense.

2. The lightly mixed batter sat and waited for the over mixed batter to finish cooking. It poured easier fom the bowl to the griddle. It also spread out into four perfectly rounded cakes. They bubbled and rose very well something that the over mixed batter did not do. When they were done to a golden brown perfection I plated them the same way as the over mixed cakes. As I cut the lightly beated mix in half it cut smoothly with ease. Its density was light and airy.

3. I put the two cut cakes propped up next to each other. The difference was obvious immediately. OM was thinner but dense. LM was way more thicker and porous in its density. I took a picture of them side by side for comparison.

4. Eating them. There was definitely a taste difference. The OM was terrible, tasted rubbery and lost flavor. The LM on the other fork was an eating pleasure. It tasted good. Just plain good. Even when we put peanut butter on Ed’s plate of both mixes and I put my homemade strawberry freezer jam on my plate of cakes they did not improve the eating and tasting experience of the OM cakes. But OMG to LM did they enhanced those cakes! Move over Emeril because we kicked it up four notches with the LM.

5. In conclusion over mixing your flour beats too much gluten out of the flour even for Krusteaz’s box mix. That really ruins the whole griddle and tasting pleasure. Sucks it right out of the tater leaving a rubber duck to chew on. So keep your wrist light when whisking your pancake batters or another batter you are cooking with. Heavy-handers need not apply for kitchen duty unless you are taking out the trash. In this case the over mixed batter was the trash….

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