Happy Pancake Day!

We know what we are eating all day so here’s the #science bit !!
Pancakes involve chemical reactions that create new flavours and textures. The chemical reaction is between a leavening agent [baking soda & baking powder] and an acidic ingredient [buttermilk] producing tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. These bubbles form throughout the pancake, and are trapped as the batter cooks and solidifies. So you get a light and fluffy pancake honeycombed with tiny air pockets. The more of these leavening agents you add to a mixture, the more carbon dioxide will be produced, and the more bubbles will form. Once you have your tiny pockets of air bubbles, then comes the most complex and interesting part of the process.
This is the Maillard Reaction, and it’s this that gives pancakes their aroma, and a gorgeous golden brown colour. When you raise the heat on your pancake batter, the amino acids that make up the proteins begin to chemically bond with carbon and oxygen atoms from sugars. The end result is a complex brew of hundreds of different aromatic flavour inducing molecules, that give your food a distinctive and rich palette of flavours.
The Maillard reaction is behind the lovely flavour of roasted coffee, the malty flavour of certain beers and malt whiskey, that brown crust on a perfectly cooked steak, the nutty notes of maple syrup, or the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread. What’s more, the Maillard Reaction works best in an alkaline environment (i.e. a less acidic one). So the secret to getting that golden brown colour is to add more baking soda. Once you’ve added enough to neutralize the acidity of the buttermilk, anything left over will add to the browning. #pancaketuesday #believeinscience #pancakes