Why Pancakes And Waffles Taste Better At A Restaurant Than At Home

Waffle House waffle
Waffle House waffle - Cheschhh/Getty Images

Ask any discerning foodie, a good roadside diner is a holy institution. For families on road trips or friends craving a 4 a.m. bite, diners are reliable repositories for heaping stacks of pancakes or freshly ironed waffles. Either way, when you see that glowing golden "World's Best Diner" sign, (if you're like us) chances are you're banging a larry on the highway to try them out. A lot of establishments proudly display this stately sign, and, at some level, they're all right. Diners rock, and no matter how fluffy your homemade versions are, diner pancakes and waffles are almost certainly 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 its crave-able waffle equation. Not to be outdone, IHOP shares that real buttermilk is a key ingredient in its classic pancakes. Classic, whole ingredients are usually the best starting place for better hotcakes, but it's more and more common to see cheaper fillers like cornstarch and the use of shortening instead of butter. But flapjacks and Belgian waffles are so simple in terms of ingredients, that they won't pay the right dividends when the recipe's padded out. While many iconic diner chains keep their batter recipes a secret, not reinventing the wheel — with just a supremely hot griddle and un-experimental batters (it's a comfort food after all) — is probably the best policy, and likely how most roadside joints keep their doors open.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

It's A Diner's Job To Know More About Your Pancakes Than You Do

pancakes and waffles
pancakes and waffles - Raksybh/Getty Images

But this is not to discount the value of well-thought-out techniques, which established chains have down to a science. Marie Grimm, IHOP's vice president of culinary innovation, revealed to Delish that to make a killer batter, the wet ingredients should be "ice cold." Using cold eggs, milk, butter, oil, and water prevents the ingredients from prematurely heating the gluten in the flour, explains Grimm, which is responsible for creating the springy bounce that IHOP pancake fans love, and have come to expect from their short stack.

Another advantage is better equipment. While the griddles themselves likely vary from one diner chain to the next, diners are pretty much all working with a waffle iron or griddle that's already hot. IHOP, for instance, requires its pans to be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and uses Crisco instead of butter to grease it, says Grimm. IHOP also has designated griddles that never cook anything other than pancakes, as Jon Kotez, IHOP's senior manager of field operations support, told Restaurant Business. Waffle House, on the other hand, mixes its batter in a special appliance called a bain marie, which is effectively a gigantic double boiler that evenly warms the batter for a perfect, consistent cook every time.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.