Some people think waffles and pancakes are the same thing. They aren’t. While these breakfast treats might be popular across the world, there’s actually quite a lot of difference between them. If you’ve been visiting a diner that passes one off as the other or aren’t sure what the difference is, then you might not have been having proper waffles OR proper pancakes. There are a few key differences, and in this article, we’re going to look at them. Firstly, we’ll look at the differences, and then we’ll drill down on why waffles are better.
While waffles and pancakes tend to be made from a similar pancake mix, they aren’t always. And even when they are made from the same mix, they aren’t necessarily made the same way. Again, even when they are made the same way, they aren’t always served and topped with the same things. That’s what makes them different. Waffles and pancakes also have different histories and backgrounds, and this makes them different as well.
What is a waffle?
Waffles have been around for a while in America but you’ve probably heard of Belgian waffles too. They’re world famous, after all. Even the “Belgian” waffles that are sold in America aren’t the same as those found in Belgium, they’re an amalgamation of a few different varieties that are popular in different towns across the country. That being said, all of these are still different to pancakes.
Waffles tend to be made in a waffle iron. This gives them their distinctive cut and shape, with large square ridges and indents. The outside of a waffle can either be square or circular. Belgian waffles were first introduced to America in the 1950s and 1960s when Belgian Walter Cleyman began showing them at two subsequent World Fairs. First in Belgium and then importantly in Seattle.
It was this Seattle World Fair that first started getting waffles noticed on an American and global stage. They really took off, and Cleyman sold over 500,000 servings in that expo alone. This lead to him starting his own waffle house in Seattle after the show finished.
American waffles tend to be topped with syrup, but Belgian waffles can come with syrup or whipped cream, as well as ice cream and a selection of fruit. The shape of those square indented ridges makes it easier to hold a number of different fillings and this can add to the taste. Waffles can also have a crispier crystal finish when compared to pancakes.
What is a pancake?
American pancakes, while sometimes made from the same mix as waffles (not always) come in a spherical shape and can be stacked. They tend to be a lot more basic and can be made in a standard frying pan without any special equipment. They’ve been popular in America for a long time. These pancakes are smaller and firmer than some other types of pancakes that are popular in other parts of the world.
While toppings are developing, they are traditionally serviced with syrup.
What’s the difference?
While the batter mix sometimes has the same ingredients and recipe, it doesn’t always. These mixes are generally based around eggs, butter and sugar along with something to leaven it. They can have a range of different additives to give them distinct and varied tastes.
Even when the mix is made from exactly the same ingredients, the texture can vary quite a lot. Not only between pancakes and waffles in general, but also between different variants.
Also, it’s all very well saying that the mix is the “same” because it has the same basic ingredients, but there can be a lot of variation in the quantity of each ingredient which will lead to a different end result. Fluffier pancakes are achieved with whipped egg whites, whereas waffles can contain more butter and baking powder. All of these factors make them different.
Their histories are also different, as we’ve already touched on. Some people like eating something “foreign” like a Belgian waffle even though Belgian waffles sold in America aren’t really that Belgian anymore. As with many foods that have been taken overseas, things have developed along with tastes of the nation they’re made in. While some similarities remain to older style waffles that were made in Belgium, Belgian waffles in America tend to be an Americanized version.
There’s also a big difference between the toppings and even spices used to serve both waffles and pancakes. Simply adding a couple of different ingredients can make each of them go in a wildly different direction. Pancakces are cooked differently to waffles and tend to have a softer smoother texture.
Why are waffles better?
The first answer to this is that it depends on your tastes and preferences. But as we’ve already looked at, if you like something that’s foreign, then waffles are better. Also, waffles can have a richer taste with a more crystal finish. Waffles are also loads better when it comes to holding a range of different toppings. Their square indents are great for serving ice cream and work even better when the waffle is still warm and everything melts. That’s because of the mould that is used to cook a waffle, and it makes a big difference to the end product. One that many people prefer. Because of this, waffles have a bigger surface area and more caramelization. They’re also less fluffy. Many people think this is why waffles are better.
Which do you prefer out of waffles and pancakes? While there are many different types of both, many experts and fans argue that waffles are the superior product. Do you have a good waffle house near you? If not, you might want to consider buying your own waffle iron to give you a superior finished product. These tend to be lots better than those pre-made waffles you buy from the supermarket. Start enjoying your waffles today.