The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pancakes and Waffles: What's the Difference?

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Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Pancakes and Waffles: What's the Difference?

I like to make pancakes.  I used to have a (cheap) waffle iron, but it bit the dust.  I never replaced it, thinking it was too specialized and not necessary.

Although pancake and waffle batters are very similar, each recipe is specifically "pancakes" or "waffles".  But what makes this a pancake recipe and that a waffle recipe?

I found a thread online - Cooking Light forum November 2002 - that discussed this.  A couple people thought that waffle recipes are oilier to keep them from sticking to the iron; but that with modern non-stick surfaces that difference was becoming moot.

So what do you erudite breadmakers think?  Is that the only difference?  Can I take a "waffle" recipe and use it for pancakes, maybe just cutting back a bit on oil?  I'm tired of passing up waffle recipes because I don't have that appliance.

Rosalie

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

Traditionally, waffle batter is made with egg yolks and the whites are whipped separately and folded in just before cooking.  This gives waffles a much airier texture than pancakes--the batter ends up being a foam.

Many people (even home cooks) have never had waffles done this way, but it is worth the extra effort.  I would encourage you to try it.

Of course, you can always use pancake batter in a waffle iron, though Belgian waffles made that way are pretty bready.

 

raisdbywolvz's picture
raisdbywolvz

So is the reverse also true? Can you make pancakes using a waffle batter? I'm curious, too.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is made that way, it puffs up to about an inch as a pancake. Then gets cut up and mixed with butter and soaked moist raisins and dusted with a blanket of powdered sugar! Yummmm!

Mini O

yves's picture
yves

I just made sourdough pancakes for the first time with some of my leftover starter from replication I did last night. While i was making them i was thinking that sourdough kaiserschmarrn would probably be really good.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is very good using sourdough leftovers, but still add a pinch of baking powder and a little fresh flour. 

Mini O

spsq's picture
spsq

Since I make whole wheat pancakes, I've always whipped the whites and yolks before folding them into the recipe.  I didn't know this was a waffle thing, but it makes whole grain pancakes a lot lighter - I wouldn't say an inch though!

kanin's picture
kanin

It's true that waffles call for more fat than pancake batter, but the reason is not to make it stick less to the iron. Pancakes are generally more soft and spongy while waffles should be crispy. The extra fat in waffles makes it easier to crisp.

From personal experience, I think that waffle batter can make for a decent pancake batter, but pancake batter does not necessarily make for a good waffle batter. The extra fat has to be there to give waffles a crispy teture.

raisdbywolvz's picture
raisdbywolvz

Kanin, thanks for that info. I'll have to give some waffle batter a spin on the ol' griddle. I always thought that not having a waffle iron put the waffle batter recipes off limits to me. I know, I really should be more adventurous and figure this stuff out on my own... :)

The pancake recipe I use produces really fluffy pancakes. The egg is beaten, whole, with a whisk until frothy, and I think that's the thing that makes them fluffier than any other pancake I've ever made. Makes me wonder if folding in the whites and yolks after they've been beaten separately will create one even fluffier! The inch-thick pancake mentioned above sure intrigues me.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

kaiserschmarrn

I don't like the sugar in the batter though, maybe a scant teaspoon, (sugar makes it burn) I also think these are tiny eggs, I would use 3 and separate the eggs. I would also use a glass lid in the process to steam set the pancake before flipping it. If you don't break it up, it's a one inch high pancake. (so go for it wolf puppy!) :)

Mini O

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

The only way I know to crisp waffles is to put them into a low oven, right on the rack, after they come out of the iron.  Stack them and they just droop.  To me, the best thing about waffles is that you can stick a blueberry in every little hole, then pour on the maple syrup and the bloobers don't roll away!

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

So there's a recipe for gingerbread waffles that I'd like to try as pancakes. I don't remember how much flour it calls for (and I'll substitute home-milled soft wheat), but I do remember 6T butter.   By how much do you think I should cut it?

Rosalie

BTW, if I succeed, I'll post pictures along with the recipe.

Edit:  It takes 1.5 cups of flour and makes 6 waffles.  Also 3 eggs.

raisdbywolvz's picture
raisdbywolvz

And along this same line of thought... If you leave the higher fat content in when making pancakes, do you get a crispier pancake?

I promise I'll try all this stuff out on my own as soon as I can, but for this weekend, I'm baking a whole passle of bread for a party tomorrow afternoon.

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Do you have a basic cookbook?  I'd just look up a pancake recipe and see how much fat it uses, and use a proportional amount. You might want to try adding more milk in place of the butter.  Pancake batter is usually a bit thinner than waffle batter to start with.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

King Arthur has a recipe I use that is for either/or and it works very good. It's posted here somewhere. Search under pancakes and find jmonkeys post.        weavershouse

cookingetc's picture
cookingetc

I found a great mix that is both a waflfe mix and a pancake mix with only adding water. If you want to add some extra ingredients you can make a greak breakfast cake or breakfast scones. It is Heartland Food's Malted Strawberry Waffle and Pancake Mix. I found it at Amazon when I was looking for some cook books. It is a small company in Kansas that makes mix for fine restaurants and hotels.


This Strawberry mix is so much fun. First, I made pancakes for my family; they loved them! Then I decided to try something new..... I turned the mix into beautiful, delicious scones. I used 2 cups of the complete mix, stirred in 2 teaspoons of baking powder, then cut in 4 tablespoons of cold butter, I stirred in 1/2 cup sour cream and a1/2 cup (LESS ONE TABLESPOON of water). Just blend, don't mix too much. Scoop the dough in any desired size on a cookie sheet, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-18 minutes (this depends on the size of scone you create).


 I may add a little extra sugar to the next batch.


 I love this mix. I'm going to try to make muffins, biscuits and cookies next. But, I need more mix.


 This time I'm going to try the Sweet Potato and BlueBerry.