Switch To Bread Flour For The Fluffiest Pancakes Of Your Life

Part of what makes pancakes popular is that they are one of the least fussy options for making breakfast at home. With just a few minutes and a few ingredients, you can whip them up on a weekend morning and even make more to freeze for the weekdays. There is a certain kind of ease and nostalgia about pancakes that you don't want to overcomplicate, but there is an easy way to make them even better: use bread flour.

Pancakes may not technically be bread — though you can make a delicious, sweet sandwich (like a peanut butter and jelly) with a pair of them — they can benefit greatly from the simple act of substituting bread flour in place of all-purpose flour when mixing the batter. This is because the fluffy texture of a pancake comes from the protein content of the flour. Bread flour is extra high in protein, so your pancakes will have extra help to rise like a pillowy loaf of bread.

Making your pancakes fluffy, not flat

The great thing about using bread flour in place of all-purpose flour when making pancakes is that you don't have to make a big effort to enjoy a big improvement in your breakfast baking. Simply use your preferred perfect pancake recipe, but use bread flour instead of your usual all-purpose. You can use a one-to-one ratio for this substitution, so there's no math involved — just measure out the flour as you normally would.

While all-purpose flour has a protein content of 10 to 12%, bread flour has a protein content of 12 to 16%. This higher amount of protein means the bread flour can absorb a higher quantity of liquid and produce more gluten, thereby creating a more elastic dough that holds its shape. Pancakes made with bread flour do a better job of trapping the air bubbles added when whipping the batter so that the end result is light and airy, rather than flat and dense.

Other ways to level up your pancakes

Pancakes are an easy way to experiment with bread flour without getting into the more complex work of baking bread, but you can take inspiration from your favorite loaves to flavor your pancakes. If you love sourdough bread for its big bubbles and slightly sour flavor, try making sourdough pancakes. You can create a bread starter at home with just bread flour and water. Use the starter rather than baking powder in your usual pancake recipe (with bread flour in place of all-purpose, of course) for a batch of even fluffier, more flavorful, and slightly chewy pancakes.

While many breads are naturally vegan and pancakes typically rely on eggs and dairy products, you can make substitutions with vegan ingredients like coconut oil, flax seed, and oat milk. When you've honed in on your ideal ingredients for the pancakes themselves, it's time to get creative with toppings. Taking cues from the bread flour, try sweet and savory options that you enjoy atop toast, like ricotta and jam, or avocado and hot honey.