Using a Pancake Griddle to Make Perfect Pancakes

Probably the most important secret that you will need to learn when you want to make great pancakes is how to get the right temperature on your pancake griddle and how to maintain that temperature.

It’s important of course to start with a good pancake recipe or mix. Search the Web and you will find many excellent pancake recipes and making pancake batter from scratch will give you wonderful results. And while some may look down their nose at ready to make pancake mixes, it is usually the cooking that spoils the pancakes and not the mix.

When the kids are begging for pancakes on a weekend morning, and time is of the essence, a good premade mix and a little water will have pancakes on the table in record time. Poor preparation rather than the poor quality of pancake mix is usually the reason box mixes are looked down upon.

Start out with a cast iron pancake griddle:

If you want to make excellent tasting pancakes consistently with the least amount of mess and cleanup time, the perfect answer is a cast iron pancake griddle. Using this properly on an electric or gas stove converts your kitchen into a grill just like the ones in a commercial restaurant. A cast iron griddle heats evenly and because of its weight and mass it maintains its temperature much more evenly as you cook.

Other types of cookware such as lightweight Teflon coated frying pans or electric fry pans or griddles are notorious for having rapidly fluctuating temperature control and uneven heating. A time tested cast iron griddle is the perfect answer to take care of these problems.

The main reason people have trouble making good pancakes is that they do not have a good method of determining the proper heat of the griddle before they start cooking. If pancakes are cooked at too low a heat they turn out tough and chewy. When cooked at a temperature that is too high, which is more common than not, the outside burns and crisp while the inside remains a raw and soggy mess.

The next time you make pancakes, take a few minutes to determine the proper settings for heating your pancake griddle with the following method. The trick to this method is known by many cooks but most probably don’t know the science behind it.

The Leidenfrost effect:

When you let a drop of water fall onto a hot pancake griddle, the water drop will dance around and stay in its droplet shape while it skitters across the surface. The scientific name for this is the Leidenfrost effect. When the drop hits the hot surface the water that comes in contact is immediately vaporized and the steam created pushes the remaining water in the drop up and away from the heated griddle.

This will not happen on a surface that is merely warm. In normal cooking situations it is agreed that the Leidenfrost effect occurs when the temperature of the griddle is at approximately 325 degrees F.

Find and record the best setting for your stove:

Since the ‘dancing water’ or Leidenfrost effect occurs at 325 degrees F, and the best accepted temperature for cooking pancakes that turn out perfectly is 375 degrees F, you can use a simple method to determine the setting for the burners on your stove. Start by warming up your pancake griddle to a very warm, but not hot temperature. Make sure it is preheated well but it is not hot enough to exhibit the Leidenfrost effect.

Then slowly increase the settings on your burners until you determine the point where a drop of water landing on the griddle will ‘dance’. Give the griddle time to heat to each new setting as you slowly increase the heat by changing the settings of your burners. You will want to make sure that the pancake griddle has reached the maximum temperature of your current settings before you test with a few drops of water.

When you see that the Leidenfrost effect is taking place, make a note of your burner settings so that in the future you can start right off and heat the griddle precisely. By knowing these settings you will always be able to reheat your griddle knowing that you have an exact point of reference.

According to some cooking guides, the temperature of 325F or 160C correlates to the ‘medium-low’ setting on your stove or range. The pancake cooking temperature of 375F (190C) is closer to ‘medium-high’.

Record the settings that work best for your stove:

Since the dancing water effect might be a little low for perfect pancake frying, you should now increase the temperature a little before your pour out your first pancakes. Try a small increase at first for one or two test pancakes and if you feel that it takes too long for them to finish increase the setting and give the pancake griddle time to adjust to the new heat setting before trying again.

Once you have determined the best pancake setting for your equipment make a note of it. In the future you’ll be surprised at how quickly you will be able to turn out perfect pancakes. All you will need to do is put your pancake griddle on the stove, turn the burner settings to these predetermined marks and give the griddle a little time to heat up.

Just by using a few drops of water and with knowing how the Leidenfrost effect works, you will easily be able to tell if your pancake griddle is ready and at the right temperature. You’ll be able to turn out great tasting and most importantly properly cooked pancakes in less time than it will take you to finish your first cup of morning coffee.

Source by Zach Carson

How to Get More Engagement on Instagram

It’s easy to upload and share photos on Instagram and some users are just contented with doing just that. But there are more ways to boost your presence and attract more followers on the platform.

Engagement is still key in social networking and on Instagram, users of all types including business owners who want to increase engagement on the site can do so through various strategies.

Tag Photos

Tagging a photo is a sure way to gain likes and comments on the photo sharing app, Instagram. This was confirmed by a study done by Dan Zarrella entitled “The Science of Instagram.”

It is possible to tag people on Instagram photos. In fact, a user can tag up to 30 people in a single photo.

And other than people, you can also tag your location.

When you tag people, you are exposing your photo to more people. The people you tag will be notified increasing the likelihood of your photo getting a like or comment. The friends and followers of the people you tagged will also be able to view the picture while people searching for specific locations will also be able to see it.

Use the Words Like and Comment

Another strategy that can gain your photos more likes and comments is by using the words like or comment in your caption. Keep in mind that as an Instagram user, you can add a caption to your photo. This step is important as it gives your followers an idea of what your photo is all about.

Add Filters

Filters make photos on Instagram more captivating. There are different types available such as those that brighten your images, add saturation and desaturation and one that lets you create the classic black and white photo.

The study, however, noted that the best filter to use is the “normal filter” which lets you post a photo as it is with no special effects.

Based on the research, the images with normal filter gained the most number of likes and comments. The other popular filters were the willow, valencia and sierra.

Subject of Photo

The subject of your photo is always a major factor in attracting attention from Instagram users and getting likes and comments. Those that feature faces were found to be more popular compared to those that show objects, places or scenery.

Photos that feature a selfie or a group of people got more attention. They received a 35 increase in likes compared to pictures with no faces.

Now that you know these steps, make sure to practice them whenever you log in to your Instagram account.

Source by Wendy Chamberlain

How to Make Money Collecting Copper Pennies

Many investors who buy gold and silver bullion coins and coin collectors who study coins, have probably never considered collecting copper pennies to make a worthwhile profit. You’ve probably heard “a penny saved is a penny earned,” because the lowly penny is worth one cent. While most pennies are worth a meager face value, did you know that all copper pennies are worth double their face value?

Pennies minted from 1909 to 1982 were made of 95% copper, and 5% zinc. You might not think of copper as worth much monetarily, but it is an extremely important metal. Copper is widely used in industry, especially in electrical, construction, transport, and many others areas. This is why copper fetches a fairly good price because it is also the best conductor of electricity, doesn’t tarnish and is malleable. To find copper’s melt value, we need to know that a pound of copper is currently worth about $3.12. 154 copper pennies equal one pound. So 3.12 divided by 154 is about 2 cents for each penny.

Since every copper penny’s value is 2 cents, it can be a small investment. The more copper pennies you have, the greater the investment. So, how do you still get a copper penny for its face value? First, you can find pennies prior to 1982 by examining your everyday change, or you can buy rolls from banks.

In addition to the fact that each copper cent is worth twice as much, its numismatic value is also important. Examining the dates and conditions of each coin the way a coin collector would, might give your copper even more value. But you don’t necessarily need to have the knowledge of a seasoned coin collector. Many rolls contain older “wheat” cents which were minted before the modern Lincoln cent (1959 – now). It’s easy to spot a wheat cent – look at the dates, minted between 1909 and 1959 and the reverse side on which the words “ONE CENT” are centered between two stalks of wheat.

Depending on condition, wheat cents are rarer and more valuable. The better the condition, the more they will be worth. When I hunt rolls, I usually find wheat cents in “good” to “very good” condition. These could fetch a price of 10-15 cents on eBay. It’s not uncommon to find many old wheat cents and copper Lincoln/Memorials in a bank box of 50 rolls. To get a better knowledge about conditions and prices I would go online and search for “value of pennies by year”, or “what’s my coin worth.” You can also buy the latest “Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins” which are available at bookstores or on

Boxes of pennies you buy from the bank contain $25 of pennies in 50 rolls, which totals to 2,500 pennies. Unless you want to go through each roll and examine each one by one, you can buy a copper penny sorting machine that lets you separate the coppers from the zincs. If you’re not in a hurry to separate them, you can purchase a basic “E-Z Copper Penny Sorter” from $30 to $60. For quick sorting of lots of pennies, you will need a “Ryedale Apprentice Penny Sorter” which sells for $500.

Another reason to collect copper pennies is that someday when the Mint takes them out of circulation, it will be legal to melt them into bars. Bars are much more manageable to put aside instead of holding on to huge jars or bins that can contain hundreds or even thousands of pennies.

The wonderful advantage you receive when buying rolls of circulated pennies is that it won’t cost you more than what you paid for. It won’t cost you a cent, so to speak, because you buy all of the rolls of pennies at face value. Not only will you find many copper pennies, but older wheat pennies, which only adds value.

Source by Harrington A Lackey