Why do pancakes and waffles taste better in a restaurant than at home?
Ask any discerning foodie, a good roadside diner is a sacred institution. For families on the road or friends who want a meal at 4 a.m., diners are reliable repositories for stacking piles of fresh pancakes or pancakes. Either way, when you see the glowing gold “Best Restaurant in the World” sign (if you’re like us), you probably take Larry’s on the highway to try it. Lots of establishments proudly display this luxury label, and on some level, it’s okay. Diners rock, no matter how fluffy your homemade versions are, dinner pies and tarts are definitely better — and there are a few reasons why.
As for Waffle House, the chain is happy to share that “farm-fresh eggs and rich, creamy half-and-half” are part of the waffle equation. Not to be outdone, IHOP shares that real buttermilk is the main ingredient in its classic pancakes. Classic whole toppings are usually the best starting point for better hotcakes, but it’s more and more common to see cheaper fillings like cornstarch and using shortening instead of butter. But Belgian waffles and waffles are so simple in terms of ingredients that they won’t give the right dividends when the recipe is finished. While many popular restaurant chains keep their dough recipes a secret, not reinventing the wheel — using a very hot griddle and non-experimental dough (it’s comfort food, after all) — is probably the best policy, and it’s likely that this will be the case. The way most roadside restaurants keep it that way. Their doors are open.
Read more: Restaurant foods that always taste better than what you prepare at home
It’s the diner’s job to know more about your pies than you do
But that’s not to underestimate the value of well-researched techniques, for which established chains are science. To make a killer dough, the wet ingredients need to be “ice cold,” Mary Grimm, vice president of culinary innovation at IHOP, revealed to Delish. Using cold eggs, milk, butter, oil and water prevents the ingredients from heating the gluten in the flour prematurely, explains Grimm, who is responsible for creating the springy bounce that IHOP pancake lovers love and expect from their shortbread variety.
Another advantage is better equipment. While the grills themselves will likely vary from one restaurant chain to another, almost all diners work with a waffle iron or griddle that’s already hot. IHOP, for example, requires frying pans to be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and uses Crisco instead of butter to grease them, Grimm says. IHOP also has custom grills that never cook anything other than pancakes, John Kotez, IHOP’s senior director of field operations support, told Restaurant Business. Waffle House, on the other hand, mixes the batter in a special device called a Bain Marie, which is a huge double boiler that heats the batter evenly for perfect, consistent cooking every time.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.