So you had a full breakfast. You went all in on the fresh juice, the sunny-side-up eggs with their bacon smile and a big steaming cup of coffee. But that’s not all, as was expected from the heavy, stressful week behind you, you woke up Saturday morning in a state of near starvation.
So, on top of the five-star hotel breakfast, you made pancakes. You put your soul into those big, fluffy American style pancakes. But, that also means that they came out as big, fluffy pancakes. Which means that you couldn’t finish them.
Well, that’s on you for baking a bread building for one person, but that doesn’t mean you have to toss those frisbees away. To store and reheat pancakes is a good idea, if done correctly, you can get them to taste even better than if you ate them straight from the pan. So the question is – how to reheat pancakes properly?
How to Reheat Pancakes the Right Way
The truth is that reheating pancakes can be done in a number of different ways. The most common or intuitive method is the microwave oven. To heat pancakes in the microwave, you will probably have to do trial and error on some combinations of time and number of pancakes.
A good rule of thumb is starting with one and trying to do a couple of 30 second rounds to see what works. Then, you can try with more pieces and the same timer to build up from there. The problem is that microwaves tend to cause soggy, mushy pancakes, which is not ideal.
2. Reheat Pancakes with Electric Oven
Another, probably better, way to heat your meal is with an electric oven or a conventional oven, about 6 minutes with the oven preheated at 300 °F or 150 °C will do fine, you can vary the time and temperature depending on your results. The problem with the oven is time, it doesn’t do to wait 10 minutes for a breakfast in a hurry.
3. Reheat Pancakes with Toaster
Finally, the best, quick and easy method is popping them inside a toaster for about 5 minutes. You will get a crispy in the outside, warm on the inside breakfast. This last technique can be difficult if the bread isn’t firm enough since it may break while you juggle to get the pancake out.
Wait, are pancakes bread?
Pancakes are probably not “bread”, the same way a loaf or a baguette is “bread”, but they are still a type of bread. Pancakes are part of what is known traditionally as flat or quick breads. These are made baked with chemical leavenings like baking soda and/or baking powder which makes them fluffy. They are cooked with what is known as the Muffin Method.
The Muffin Method, this professional sounding technique, is not complicated at all. It consists in mixing the wet ingredients, in this case eggs, milk, molten butter and sugar (it is considered wet), in one bowl until frothy, and then adding the dry ingredients, which are flour, baking soda and/or powder without overmixing.
Ideally, the batter would be a little lumpy with traces of flour. This last step is key. Overmixed batter develops gluten, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but causes the bubbles inside the bread known as tunnels, more common in cakes than in bread.
How can I store pancakes?
While it’s true that these methods can give good results in the reheating process, if there is a real secret that helps you reheat pancakes that is the way you choose to store them.
When put in the fridge, your bread, normal or flat, cools to a temperature just above freezing. This is the temperature range where the starch molecules inside it start to change the fastest. The changes in alignment of starch molecules causes the bread to go stale. So, fast realignment equals fast staleness.
Store Pancakes in Freezer
That is why, when storing bread, especially soft bread like pancakes, your go to storage should be the freezer. If that’s the method you choose, when frozen, the starch molecules don’t change that much and the consistency of the inside stays nearly the same. But it doesn’t do to just chuck your tomorrow-morning breakfast in the ice box, you need to wrap it in a cloth, so it doesn’t lose moisture.
When you are ready to reheat your pancakes, just take them out and leave them out to warm to room temperature before using the microwave, the oven or the toaster. While ideal for the bread of your pancakes, this method can be time consuming, which, as stated before, is a big No no when running late in the morning.
What if I do it wrong?
It is not that hard to do something wrong when managing bread. It can go wrong fast, like baguettes, which are day bread, or it can be a disaster, like your loaf of bread filling with unwanted fungi life.
Fortunately, most of these mistakes are solved just as easily, not the fungus, though. Stale bread con be revived with a little water and an oven. With pancakes gone dry, it can work to moist them with a damp, not wet, cloth around them for a couple of minutes and an oven or toaster run at mid temperature. The result won’t be as good as fresh baked but it will do.
And what should I do, then?
Your best bet should be based on when you are planning to reheat and eat them. If you cooked your pancakes in the morning and you are planning to have them as dinner, just wrap them in a cloth and leave them out. If you are having them the next morning, an overnight fridge stay can work. And finally, if you are not sure about when you are going to want them again or you know you’ll have time the next morning, go for the freezer, then room temperature, then toaster combo. Your breakfast will be golden brown and, probably, better than on day one.
Don’t worry about leftovers, then. Go and enjoy a big breakfast today, and another one tomorrow.