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Every recipe I can find is for "fluffy" pancakes. I prefer thinner, slightly crispy, (very) slightly chewy, non-fluffy pancakes. Basically, the less "cake-like" the better.

Apparently I'm the only one, and these are all non-desirable qualities in a pancake, so it is hard to find recipes.

How can I make non-fluffy pancakes? I will be using a cast-iron pan.

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Have you tried making crepes? Those seem like they would be what you're looking for. –  Brooke Jan 31 '14 at 19:22
I have, and I love crepes - but here I'm really looking for pancakes (that aren't quite as thin as crepes). Thinking about 1/4" thick, as opposed to the 1/2" to 3/4" that I typically see (in recipe photos and at restaurants). –  Jer Jan 31 '14 at 19:30
I kept wondering why you couldn't just add a little more liquid to make the batter runnier. That would make thinner pancakes. I found this - cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/36405/…. Also, don't cook them in oil (use butter instead) and that'll help keep them from puffing up so much. My husband and I will make pancakes and when I make them I use butter, he uses oil. His are noticeably thicker/fluffier. –  Brooke Feb 1 '14 at 1:54
@Brooke a thinner pancake will still be a fluffy pancake, not a chewy one. I think the OP objects to the texture, not to the actual height. –  rumtscho Feb 3 '14 at 10:39

9 Answers 9

Have you tried making Swedish Pancakes? They are between a "regular" fluffy pancake and a crepe. To make a proper crepe, you need either a crepe pan or a crepe griddle. With Swedish Pancakes, you can use a regular pan. You will find that Swedish Pancakes have a higher amount of eggs and milk. For example:

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp melted butter

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You're not the only. And now I'm not either )))

Here are the things I do to have thin and a little chewy pancakes:

  • Don't put any baking soda or baking powder at all.
  • Use regular low-fat milk or water instead of buttermilk.
  • Adjust the quantity of flour added. The more flour you add, the thicker pancakes you'll have.
  • Preheat the pan, cook on low heat. Since the dough is more dense, it will take a little longer to cook, so on low heat it will cook properly and won't burn.
  • Cook with minimal oil. Adding more oil will increase crispiness, so you could adjust that to your taste.
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Just add liquid. You could even make funnel cakes! (That "happened" one morning when I accidentally glugged too much oil into my skillet. The little girl I was cooking for was beyond delighted!) Same batter + a little more milk or water (prob don't use buttermilk as it activates the baking powder), just more oil in the pan, a nd drizzled through a funnel over the opening of which you hold your finger til ready to drizzle. Serve with powdered sugar & syrup. Make sure your oil is pretty hot but not smoking, or you might burn them. Now pretend you're at the county fair, and enjoy!

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Also, never stir with too much abandon after adding liquid to dry ingredients when making pancakes, muffins, quickbreads, as this develops gluten strands and toughens the product. –  4nana Jun 19 at 11:58

You can make great thinner pancakes that have supreme taste as opposed to just volume to carry the syrup.

The simplest thing you can do is use less baking powder and don't use double-acting baking powder (sometimes called Magic).

Beyond that, the more you beat the eggs, the chewier they get (careful or you get rubber). I would back off on the milk a bit and use whole milk (milk makes the pancake burn/darken too quickly) and add a bit of fat (butter).

This way you end up with proper golden and brown pancakes with a bit of a resistance on the texture and a very distinct yumminess that disables your eating brakes.

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Not a complete answer, but a few ideas thrown in.

In baking, if you add dense, hygroscopic, sticky liquids, they can make your cake heavy and dense. Try doing it with your pancakes. Instead of using a milk-based liquid, try a fruit puree, preferably one with sufficient pectin (e.g. apple mousse). If you are using baking soda and buttermilk, you will probably have to switch to baking powder because you will be missing acidity. I don't know how much you need, it might turn out that you don't need leavening at all for your intended thickness.

Another thing to change would be the flour. Try using bread flour or whole flours to get less rise and fluffiness and some chewiness.

Increasing the sugar will probably help with both density and crispiness on the outside. You probably can't go up to chewy cookie amounts though.

Stay away from recipes which involve creaming a solid fat. Creaming plays a big part in leavening. Use recipes with either oils or melted solid fats.

You can also try increasing the ratio of eggs in the recipe. Eggs are the best glue in your kitchen. Also don't foam them in any way. You want to stir them a bit until they are liquid and the egg whites have broken up, but not to beat air into them. There is a reason why in Ruhlman's Ratio, the crepe recipe has 2/5 parts egg and the pancake recipe has 1/11 part egg, or four times less.

I haven't tested any of those, it might turn out that they don't work.

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My grandma made them like regular pancakes, but without the baking powder/baking soda. It works perfectly for me, too. I hate fluffy pancakes -- they don't have the same flavour. Also, a recommendation, a bit of vanilla extract added onto the batter makes a lovely scent for the pancakes.

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You just need a basic crêpe recipe:

  • 300ml milk
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch salt

Whisk or blitz together with a stick blender until smooth. Allow to rest at room temperature for an hour (refrigerate if you need it to sit for longer).

To cook, generously butter a pan over medium-high heat until the butter stop sizzling. Lower the heat to medium and put in enough batter to thinly coat the pan. Leave undisturbed for about 90 seconds then flip with a spatula. Cook for a further 60 seconds. Shake the crêpe out onto a plate. Repeat until done. After every third pancake, the pan will probably be too hot to cook the crêpes well. Drop a tablespoon of cold water in to lower the pan's temperature and allow the water to boil away. Continue as before.

These can be kept warm in a low-temp oven separated by greaseproof paper until the whole batch is done. Alternatively, separate them with greaseproof paper, plastic wrap when cool and refrigerate them for up to 48 hours. Reheat wrapped in foil in a medium-hot oven for 20 minutes.

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you posted a crepe recipe after the OP indicated in a comment that he doesn't want crepes but pancakes, only thinner –  rumtscho Jan 31 '14 at 19:51
Actually, he posted that whilst I was writing and posting my answer. My answer and his comment crossed in the ether. –  user22927 Feb 3 '14 at 10:06
OK, but also note that our site is not for swapping recipes. Questions which directly ask for a recipe are closed outright. For an answer, it is sufficient to tell the people to make crepes instead of pancakes, instead of listing a complete recipe. –  rumtscho Feb 3 '14 at 10:38

I can't believe that I am recommending a mix, but I love these: Lund's Swedish Pancakes, they're great, thin pancakes. On Amazon 31 out of 33 reviews are 5 star reviews, that's as highly rated as I've ever seen. Of the two non-5-star reviews, one prefers Aunt Jemima, the other wants IHOP.

This is the first time ever in the history of ever that I have ever recommended a mix for home use. To me, this one is special.

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It may be possible that the OP just wants less fluffy pancakes.

Follow these three steps to flatten almost any pancake recipe:

Replace flour with "cake flour" or "pastry flour." These have less gluten and will therefore take a longer beating without getting tough.

Add 10% more milk. This is usually no more than 1-2 tbsp for most recipes.

Beat the batter with a wire whisk until smooth. There should be little to no lumps in the batter.

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