If you happen to be a lover of pancakes, you most likely have something lurking in your refrigerator right now that can make your pancakes and cakes extra moist and fluffy.
The good news is that the secret and magical ingredient to add is mayonnaise. Surprised? Don’t be. At its most basic level, this common condiment is made up of vinegar, eggs, and oil (plus a small amount of an emulsifier such as mustard).
You probably didn’t know that you can use mayonnaise as a secret ingredient in soft, fluffy pancakes, too.
When it comes to baking science, vinegar is actually the most important part of mayonnaise. An acid, vinegar reacts with baking soda to kick off the production of carbon dioxide, which gives the batter a lift as it bakes. The acidity also causes the flour’s proteins to gently unravel, producing a tender cake that is fluffy and moist.
When eggs are separated and whipped, egg whites are able to trap air, which helps many recipes rise and makes way for sweet treats like meringues. Egg yolks on their part provide a source of fat to help keep cakes tender. In mayonnaise, eggs provide the fat and also act as a binder in pancake and cake recipes.
You may have noticed that a lot of pancake recipes use oil, which has 20 percent more fat than butter and there is no need for you to soften or cream it first. This is important because when more fat is involved, less gluten is formed.
Gluten is a protein that provides structure, so while it’s necessary to some degree, too much can dry out baked goods and make them dense. The lipids in the oil coat the flour and render it unable to absorb moisture, effectively preventing the over-formation of gluten.
How To Get Fluffy Pancakes
To get pancakes that are fluffy, stir a few tablespoons of mayonnaise into your pancake batter along with the egg and the oil. If you’re worried about tasting the mayonnaise in the finished pancake, there is no reason to worry. Unless you’re using an unusually strong-tasting brand, the only evidence of its use will be an overly fluffy meal.