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After watching a TikTok on pancake flipping, I got to thinking about whether or not I had been doing it wrong my whole flippin’ life. I turn with my wrist but I don’t get a horrible splash, like in the video. It turns out, it’s more about the power behind the move than if you’re using the correct part of your arm. A gentle flip from the right height is all you need for the perfect non-splattered pancake.

It doesn’t matter what recipe you use, we’re all searching for the same thing–fluffy, light, round pancakes. If you didn’t know it already, the little bubbles that form while cooking are essential for your success. Most pancakes are leavened with chemical leaveners (baking powder or baking soda), or whipped egg whites, and while the bubbles they create are abundant for a while, they’re also delicate. With most recipes, the right time to flip is after the outer edges dry up and the center is still gooey with plenty of bubbles present. A too-hard flip will obliterate those fluff-building air pockets, and result in a jagged, sideways splash of uncooked (and now unleavened) batter.

If you scoop and fling the tender bread by turning your whole arm (let’s be honest, some of y’all are using your shoulder too), you’re much more likely to put too much power behind the motion. It’s mostly subconscious, but you’re involving way more big muscles than a pancake requires, popping all those delicate bubbles. Instead, turn the spatula, gently, using your wrist, and the pancake will flip over completely with no splash, keeping its bubbles intact. With a little practice, you can twist just your pointer finger and thumb to master a light flip. Be aware that as you try and train yourself to work delicately, there is a tendency to turn the pancake closer to the pan. Resist. You still need the same height to flip it; if you turn the spatula too close to the surface, you’re more likely to fold the pancake. Mornings are hard enough, so save your energy and flip lightly.



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