The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stovetop double-griddle or electric griddle for pancakes? And best ones?

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RobynB's picture
RobynB

Stovetop double-griddle or electric griddle for pancakes? And best ones?

Now that I have a sourdough starter, I've started making pancakes that I actually like, so I make them often. I need a better option than juggling two frypans, neither of which is properly flat for pancakes. I've been looking on Amazon at a double-burner griddle pan, but I have a glass cooktop and I read that many of the griddles either warp or are not perfectly flat, which is an issue on my cooktop. So then looking at electric griddle, but from the reviews, most of them are not made "like they used to be" and have hot spots, uneven heating, or uneven surfaces... Now I'm kind of getting irritated that this is turning into such a research project.  What do you use? What have you tried and hated? What do you love? Help, please!

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I hate the double-burner griddles.  I don't have two matching burners side-by-side on my stove and trying to get the heat evenly distributed on one of those things is frustrating.  I've had nothing but bad luck with electric griddles due to their uneven heating and slugish thermostatic controls.  I prefer a wolf professional grill, but I only get to use that when I cook for the lodge, so I use a single burner, cast iron, griddle.


I can't make as many pancakes as fast as I might on a larger plate but the quality of the finished product makes it worth the wait.  My wife prefers her very large non-stick frying pan.  But what does she know?

flyte63's picture
flyte63


This company (http://www.rockymountaincookware.com/rocky-mountain-cookware-restaurant-products.php) offers reasonably priced options that are likely to replicate your grill at the lodge.  I have the 2 burner model for commercial stoves (only becacuse I couldn't easily store the 4 burner model).  It works very well once you season it properly.  It seasons and is maintained just like cast iron. 


The rocky mtn griddle replaced a series of non-stick home store type griddles that just never heated evenly or provided enough space. I found it at my local restaurant supply (idealrsc.com) for $80 or so.  Ideal or rocky mtn may be able to ship but it's probably better to find a local retailer given the weight.


 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

That's what I use, and yes there are hotspots, one always cooks before the other, but I can move them around so they come out pretty even.

Ottilie's picture
Ottilie

My sister and I made a large batch of lefse on my mother-in-law's George Foreman griddle last month.  It heats up well and seemed to give MUCH more even heat than my older electric griddle.  The flatbreads also cooked more quickly, and it was nice to be able to brush extra flour off into the grease trap.


If you don't mind spending a bit more money, I've been thinking that the electric lefse cookers from Bethany Housewares (www.bethanyhousewares.com) might be the way to go.  I've never tried one, but they seem like they could be a better quality product, and you can use the non-stick version to cook more than just lefse.

naschol's picture
naschol

Yes, I use the Bethany lefse griddle for many things besides lefse.  It is a large surface and I can get 4 quite large pancakes on at one time.


 


Nancy

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

1. (if you have a gas stove) you can quickly control the temp and on one that spans 2 burners you can have 2 temperature zones if you like. The thicker it is the more even you can get the temps.

2. Most electric griddles have a non-stick coating that limits how hot you can heat the griddle and the coating is easily scratched. Cast iron griddles can take the heat, lots of abuse and can be seasoned to reduce sticking.

3. Cast iron is easy to clean (no non-immersible parts) and easier to store (on it's side with the cookie sheets).

I've had mine going on 21 years (wedding gift) and still love it more than I ever liked an electric version.

OurHappyHomestead's picture
OurHappyHomestead

In our old house we had a gas range with a fantastic cast iron griddle that I used for pancakes (etc) all the time - and if we didnt have a glass cooktop now, I'd go back to cast iron... you can't beat it for heat consistancy and performance...


Now, with four kids and pancakes at least weekly, I picked up an old electric griddle at a yard sale for like a dollar... I know most of you folks would complain about it's thermostat, etc, but when it comes time to crank out a tripple batch of pancakes within a short period of time, I love it.  I've been expecting it to die for the last 6 months so that I can replace it with a better new one, but it won't kick the bucket...


So... If I'm making a single batch of high quality pancakes I think cast iron can't be beat... but if I'm trying to quickly crank out a bunch early in the morning before the third cup of coffee, I reach for the electric griddle...


One day I'll have a larger gas range and I can use a big BIG cast iron griddle... bu by then the kids will be out of the house, so...


 


-Dave


Nutrimill Grain

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Hi,


I'm fond of cast iron for jobs like these....a double-burner cast iron grill, if it is warmed up for a good long time, usually gives me an even heat.


A good friend of mine swears by her cuisinart griddler


http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-GR-4-Griddler-Stainless-Steel-Griddle/dp/B0001XASWQ


She made pancakes for 5 kids and 2 adults the morning I was there, with no problems.   This machine grill sandwiches, like a panini, but also opens up flat for pancakes and the like.  She's very particular about appliances and has tried several, so her recommendations are usually very solid.


Good luck!  Mmmmm.....pancakes.  Since my bread supply is depleted by the holidays, sounds like a plan for breakfast!


Cheers,


MommaT

Pakrat63's picture
Pakrat63

i like to use my dual burner-top griddle.  But is a cast aluminum job, and easily scratched.  My waffle iron has a flip side to the grids, but it isn't the best.  Most satisfying (if the snow isn't flying) is to lay the cast griddle on the grates of the gas grill, i can get it plenty hot by preheating, and there is just something good for the soul to stand outside fixing pancakes...


There is a cast iron griddle in my near future!

Brother Juniper's picture
Brother Juniper

I use a 16" x 24" stainless-steel griddle that a friend of mine made.  He swiped a sheet of 1/4 inch sheet metal from the scrap-yard when he was in the Navy.  After scoring the topside along the edges, he was able to bend the sides up enough to make a lip that runs around the griddle.  The whole thing heats up amazingly quick and evenly.  It fits well over the two large burners of the range.  The steel gets some seasoning, not as much as cast iron, and cleans up with a little more difficulty.  It seems like I'm having to use a copper scrubber to get the burnt oil off the edges, but it is worth it.  In addition to serving up Monday morning pancakes for 30 people each week, the griddle provides an ideal surface to prepare my world-famous hash browns every Saturday morning.

CeraMom's picture
CeraMom

I have a griddler and Love it...


But be aware that cooking spray will destroy it at high heats.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I agree, that stuff is AWFUL once it gets on the griddle (I can't seem to break my husband of the habit and he is the chief pancake maker)!!!!


I have an oil sprayer with olive oil (no propellant or other ingredients) and that works fine on the griddle, though I've been considering getting a second one to fill with an oil that can take higher temperatures and will not smoke as much (funny picture in my brain of a can of oil smoking a cigarette ;o)

Marni's picture
Marni

I had a two burner griddle years ago and it was fine for a while, but I have found that two separate, smaller griddle pans work best. I can use just one if I have a small job and any configuration of the two for larger batches.  I can cook 8-10 medium pancakes using the two pans.


Marni


 


PS -RobynB, we love sourdough pancakes too.  Have you tried SD waffles?  YUM!

RobynB's picture
RobynB

and I don't have a waffle iron, but pancakes are more "hearty" to me.  Maybe because I don't like syrup, and to me waffles just seem like vessels for syrup.



Thanks for all the posts, everyone.  I already knew cast iron is the best, but since you are not supposed to use it on my glass cooktop, that's why I was asking.  My stove does have the bridge function, so I guess I'll try a lightweight two-burner griddle and see how it goes.  I looked at the Lefse grill, and it's almost the same as the crepe griddle I already have from France, so I'll try that too. 


 

Ria's picture
Ria

Please share your recipes! I love the KA sourdough waffle recipe, but we have yet to find a pancake recipe that we like. For the record, we have a double-burner griddle pan (nonstick) but I'd rather have cast iron. The problem is the weight of it!


Ria

RobynB's picture
RobynB

Granted, I only tried a couple recipes, but this one is my favorite, with my adaptations.  I think the key is the whole wheat starter mixed with regular.


Sourdough Pancakes

1 cup sourdough starter *see note below
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water


1 large egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda


Place the sourdough starter in a nonreactive mixing bowl, add the flour and water. Stir well and leave out, loosely covered with plastic wrap, overnight.


The following morning, stir the mixture and add remaining ingredients, stirring well.


For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto a hot griddle.


Cook pancakes until dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until lightly golden brown.   Makes 2-3 servings.


*I use half whole-wheat starter and half regular starter, and for the flour to feed it I use half whole-wheat and half all-purpose. I usually use more starter than it calls for.  My starters originated from King Arthur, and I've gradually mutated one into a whole-wheat starter. 


 

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

It's on my blog:


World’s Best* Pancakes: starter discard rescue recipe


(* "World's Best" being slightly subjective, of course!)


I offer the recipe in two sizes,  2-4 and 4-8 servings, depending how hungry you happen to be. And I make mine in non-stick fry pans, seems to work fine.


I have a simple cast-iron griddle but I've never had success keeping the pancakes from sticking and making a horrid mess. It likely needs to be seasoned better. But since I only pull it out for pancakes which are only done occasionally, it doesn't get much of a chance to get baked up properly. So fry pan it is.

KenK's picture
KenK

I have one of the Lodge double griddles that spans two burners.  We have a gas range and it works ok but not nearly as well as I had hoped.  Two of these spiders going at the same time work better for me.  This is a scrap sourdough starter pancake btw.


MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I have a heavy cast aluminum griddle that spans two burners on my gas range....it disappointed me at first, but then I started preheating it on med low for a good 10 minutes it works flawlessly for pancakes. Maybe the aluminum is a better conductor of heat than iron, but I am able to cover the griddle with pancakes and they cook evenly. I spray it lightly with pam and have no problem with sticking. Try preheating your iron griddle for a longer amount of time and see if it makes a difference.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

To me, SD pancakes are just heavenly.  I will use whatever I have handy.  I have an eletric griddle but I don't use it unless we have company.  It's too much work to pull it out (stored it away because it took up too much space on the countertop).  So if I am making pancakes just for the three of us: me, hubby, and little man, I just use two frying pans.  I pour batter into one, let it cook, pour some into a second frying pan, turn back to tend the first one.  It works like using a griddle except they are frying pans.  I also like how I could make perfectly shaped pancakes using the right size of frying pan.  With a griddle they always come out odd shape but of course we eat them up no matter how they look!  LOL Al


Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

By hapenstance it seems that America's Test Kitchen did a review of seven electric griddles with a focus on even and accurate heat. I just got the newsletter today (Dec 31) so I'll point to the link which should work for the next week or so.


http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment/overview.asp?docid=18264


In case the link stops working (and you then don't want to sign up for the free 14 day trial) here's the low down:


Top Recommendation


The Broilking Professional Griddle. (model PCG-10)


At $99, the largest surface of all their test griddles at 21 X 11 7/8". Cast aluminum, nonstick coating, immersible for cleaning. Most consistent and accurate temperature, off the dial by only 1.2 degrees. (Some others were too hot by 60º to 100º!) Fat conveniently drips into a pull-out tray. Includes a removable backslash to keep spatters off your walls.



Second Recommendation:


West Bend Cool-Touch Nonstick Griddle (model 216390)


About half the price of the 1st pick Broilking, this "best buy" $51 griddle gives fairly even heat and quick heat up. Slightly smaller than the Broilking at 20 3/8 X 9 1/2", it's grease well was angled and let the grease drip down easily into a slide-out tray. Dishwasher safe. 



Hope this helps someone pick an ideal griddle.

RobynB's picture
RobynB

then I went on Amazon, and that BroilKing gets some really bad reviews, which is why I avoided it.  I just ordered the griddle that is sold by King Arthur:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/jumbo-griddle


The one review of it on Amazon was excellent, and I called King Arthur and spoke to a woman who uses it and loves hers.  Amazon had it for just $40 delivered, so I'm going to try it.  If it sucks, I'll return it :)



Thanks for the reviews!!  If this one doesn't work out, I'll look at the West Bend.

dsmithnc's picture
dsmithnc

Could you be a bit more specific regarding the make/model of the Jumbo Griddle?  I just went to Amazon and am not sure which one you mean.


Dick

RobynB's picture
RobynB

that I bought from Amazon is the Maxi-Matic EGR-2010 Elite Gourmet 20-by-10-Inch Non-Stick Electric Griddle with Grease Tray, Black



It will be here Monday, and I will report back on how it works.

dsmithnc's picture
dsmithnc

RobynB, Thanks for your quick reply.  I found it ok.


 


Dick

RobynB's picture
RobynB

Because I am not impressed.  I admit I didn't even bother to try it - it just looked and felt cheap, not very big, rough edges, poor packaging - I sent it back immediately.  Perhaps it worked beautifully, but it wasn't big enough or attractive enough for me to try it and risk not being able to return it.


Think I'll stick with my fry pans for now and keep looking...

Yumarma's picture
Yumarma

that they reviewed on ATK and it got the worst rating of the bunch. 


If you Google up a couple of photos of the Black & Decker "Family Size" griddle, it's exactly the same as the Elite Jumbo, except the printed name on the B& D is on the front, where the Elite's is stamped on the side handle.


This one they said was about 100ºF hotter than the dial. That's off by a serious amount. An Amazon review for the B&D was really bad too.


So it sounds like your decision to return it was wise. 

Pakrat63's picture
Pakrat63

How do you judge the temp of your cook surface?  Someday i will get one of those nifty infra-red laser thingys, but for now i use the water-drop test- if a drop of water settles on the griddle and evaporates almost immediately, it is hot enough for hotcakes.  If the drop dances on top before evaporating, it is probably too hot, time to turn things down and wait for a bit.  Never would i trust a dial!


 


On a different note, some one mentioned their World Famous Hashbrowns earlier in the thread.  Help Please!  i will hit the local greasy spoon once in a while for the biscuits and gravy and a big plate of nice crispy Hashbrowns.  Now i know that my biscuits & gravy is superior (but with SD Biscuits? Maybe i need to grow a starter...) but i have yet to figure out decent HashBrowns.  Mine always come out a grey mealy mess... Help!


(i know i am off topic with the HashBrown query.  The Mod's may spank me if they need to.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try using day old cooked potatoes, or at least those that were cooked the night before.  Already cooked potatoes brown much faster!  Or a mixture of half cooked and half raw.


Raw potatoes go better in potato pancakes.   Grate half and puree half.  Grey it typical of raw fried dense potatoes.  They need longer to cook thru and you may prefer to start out with a different kind of potato.

RobynB's picture
RobynB

Believe it or not, I make my hash browns in a panini press.  My press is the nonstick, flat kind, without the grill ridges.  I just shred a couple russet potatoes, toss with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.  I use the olive oil spray from Trader Joes - I spray a little oil and toss it with the potatoes, then I spray the press because you need a little oil to crisp everything.  Pat the shredded potatoes into a fairly thin, flat patty that covers the cooking surface, and close the press and let it cook.  I've had great success with this, it makes a thin, very crisp, nicely browned hash brown, perfect for two people. 

naschol's picture
naschol

I love my Bethany griddle.  I have had one (in aluminum) for probably 40 years and bought another when I found out they had them in Silverstone, as well.  It is round and has a ton of room for cooking.  You could get 8 English muffins on there, easily, and maybe even a dozen.  I have used it for English muffins, but don't remember how many I got on it.  I use it for pancakes, lefse, eggs (when I have a crowd to feed), and pretty much anything I need a large cooking surface for...  :-)

 

Nancy

 

BTW, you can see them here - http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=bethany+griddle&x=15&y=20