This article will cover what you can do to fix hard/dry pancakes and waffles, and why they end up that way. I think it is important for individuals to understand what is going on when they are having trouble with something, so that they can understand how to fix the problem the next time it happens.
Why are my pancakes hard?
The main reason why your pancakes can be hard, is because they were cooked for too long. Even if pancakes are cooked at lower temperatures to keep them from burning, they can still come out really hard in the end if they cook for too long.
We tried an experiment by cooking pancakes on low heat with the same batter at different cooking times. The first pancakes we made came out nice and brown with an even color across the surface. They were flipped after the first side cooked, and were allowed to cook on the other side until it was completely cooked. After this they were taken out of the pan.
The next pancake that we did was also done the same way, but this time it was left to cook in the pan on both sides after its initial flip. The temperature before both experiments remained the same at the lowest temperature possible for cooking them.
After some time, the pancake was taken out. It was not cooked to the point that it burned, but the top and bottom layer of the pancake looked better than the first. It was more darker in its even brown color. They were left to cook this way for an extra minute or two.
Afterwards, both of the pancakes that were cooked differently were checked and eaten. The pancakes that looked better, but were flipped again to cook on the other side were considerably harder than the first set.
When they were eaten, they were not only harder on the outside, but the inside had become tougher and a lot more chewy. They were more rubbery.
Why were the pancakes more hard, and how did they get rubbery?
The reason why the pancakes from the second batch had become hard and rubbery, was because they dried out from the extra cooking time. The heat made most of the moisture in the pancakes evaporate.
The outer layer of the pancakes became dry first, then the inside begin to dry out from the heat. Basically, the pancakes were being overcooked on low heat. They began to brown more, but also developed a hard crust. The crust on the pancakes were not at all like the soft and smooth surface of the first pancakes in texture, which were also quite fluffy.
Both sets of pancakes were cooked using the exact same batter at the same time period, with the same conditions. The only thing that changed was the amount of time that each set of pancakes cooked for.
It took significantly more time for the second set of pancakes to actually get to the point that they dried out and became hard.
The waffles were also tested with a similar test. One set was placed in a waffle iron for the set amount of time it took for them to cook to become slightly firm, but mostly soft and fluffy. The first set of waffles came out golden brown, and soft and fluffy.
After this, the same test was done for another set of waffles that were left in the waffle iron for a bit longer. When the second set of waffles were done, they didn’t come out more chewy in the inner portion, but the outer part was hard and crunchy.
It didn’t show signs of being burnt, but they were very different from the first set in texture. When they were bitten, they crunched and fell apart. It was not at a desirable level as the first set. The color was near the same as the first.
At one point a waffle was cooked for an even longer time and it became as hard as a table. The waffles that were like this were this way before they even cooled down.
The same thing that was happening with the pancakes was happening with the waffles. When there is moisture, pancakes and waffles cook very well. However, then it comes to a point that after the moisture is gone from the cooked batter, then the pancakes and waffles become hard, regardless of being set on a lower temperature.
This same thing would most likely occur if the pancakes or waffles were left in something to keep them warm, that did not give sufficient moisture, while they were being kept warm. While they are waiting, they would eventually dry out and become hard. The pancakes would probably become chewy and tougher too.
Also, reheating pancakes or waffles in the oven would eventually result in the same effect. The oven would dry them out, making them harder over time. Placing aluminum foil over them if they are heating in the oven, could reduce these effects.
These same things happen with other baked goods that are predominantly made of flour. It is the flour that causes this to happen, as the flour works best when it is moisturized, before and after cooking with it. Starches also operate similarly.
Regardless of whether or not the pancakes are thin or thicker, they are capable of drying out and becoming hard if they are overcooked at low temperatures for too long. This can still happen even if they appear to be fine.
It is hard to tell if the pancakes are done once they are cooked at low temperatures for a long period of time and they brown. However, to fix this the pancakes and waffles have to be watched during the cooking period, specifically after they have begun to change to a darker color.
It makes sense for an individual to not be aware of why their waffles or pancakes became hard, when they look just fine. Taking the pancakes out immediately after they are finished cooking on both sides can prevent them from becoming hard. They should be flipped when they are ready, without delay, to prevent them from losing too much moisture.
The oil (or butter) in pancakes is designed to keep them from easily hardening. Make sure to use one or the other when making the batter for the pancakes or waffles. Also avoid making the batter too thick. Thick batter can be a sign of dry, hard, and tough pancakes or waffles in the end of the cooking process. The batter needs to be well moisturized.
If the pancakes have to be made without butter or oil, make sure the batter is made with enough water.