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enter image description here

I am using a cast iron pan and all of my pancakes are coming out like this. I leave them on and they get crispy on the outside and cook through but they do not brown. I tried turning the heat up and that just burns them in splotches. Then I tried a lower heat and they turn golden in weird uneven patterns but they still cook through. Ive tried different oils, no oils, reheating my pan, waiting longer before flipping (which causes the pancake to have poppled bubbles and dark spots instead of a smooth surface). And when I flip them, the second side gets sort of a film on it when I take it out of the pan, the outer layer separates from the rest (it kind of looks like saltine crackers lol) this is really frustrating. any tips?

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    As milk is a crucial component of standard pancakes, it would certainly be appropriate to state it in the question if you're using a plant milk! But, I'd say relax. IMO those look a bit dry, but colour-wise perfectly ok... I personally enjoy even almost-white soy milk pancakes. – leftaroundabout Jan 7 '17 at 0:38
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You seem to be doing everything alright with the heat and pan. This sounds like a problem with the recipe.

Add more milk (or yogurt, or whatever dairy you are using) - you need lactose for browning, so soy milk or enzymatically treated cow milk won't work. Also consider replacing part of the sugar with fructose, HFCS or glucose syrup, they brown somewhat better. Third, make sure they are not too sour. If this is a baking powder recipe, consider using only milk instead of any buttermilk or yogurt. If it is a baking soda recipe, add some more baking soda. If nothing else helps, you can even add a pinch of baking soda to a baking powder recipe, not for leavening but just for browning.

The "makes a film and separates" part could disappear after changing the dairy and/or leavener. If it doesn't, make sure you are only lifting at the proper moment. The pancake will stick first, then become releasy, then burn. If it still sticks during the releasy part, reduce the heat (you should still get enough browning after the measures in the last paragraph). If that does not work either, the last step is to increase the egg.

An alternative would be to find a better working recipe and follow it instead of adjusting yours. You might have to test a few until you find a winner.

  • I didnt even think about that. I am using a new recipe and it calls for cashew milk instead. – sellidionne Jan 5 '17 at 17:25
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    What browns in a pancake is 1. sugars (lactose is the most browning-friendly sugar in a pancake) and 2. flour, but only if the pH is high enough. So baking soda promotes browning. But you may not be able to get good browning with baking soda only in a cashew milk pancake, because too much soda will make them taste weird and will stop them from rising properly. So, you may have to live with pale pancakes when making this recipe. – rumtscho Jan 5 '17 at 17:29
  • Other sugars besides lactose brown as well. You could toss some lyxose in the recipe, or better, mannose. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 21 '18 at 21:45
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I had the same problem! I originally used almond milk, an egg, flour, baking POWDER, butter and sugar. My pancakes looked more like tortillas. Lol. I fixed it by adding a few things to the batter. I added baking Soda, and more sugar. Baking soda changed ph to add browning, and sugar adds browning from carmelizing. The first pancakes looked just like yours, and after I modified the batter, they look like this.enter image description here

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Is it possible your recipe has buttermilk but no baking soda or not enough?

Summarized from J. Kenji Alt Lopez's Buttermilk Pancakes in The Food Lab pgs 143-144:

Baking soda affects browning in a major way because it affects the pH of the batter. The Maillard reaction occurs better in alkaline environments, so that after enough baking soda has been added to a batter to neutralize the acid (from buttermilk) any additional will work to increase browning.

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