Shrove Tuesday: A mathematical formula for the perfect pancake

Lia Grainger
Shine On
February 12, 2013

It’s Shrove Tuesday, better known as Pancake Tuesday in these parts. For those of you planning on flipping up a nice stack of celebratory flapjacks, the Daily Mail reports that British mathematicians have cooked up a handy formula to help you cook the perfect batch.

First, here’s the rather intimidating equation:

100 - [10L - 7F + C(k - C) + T(m - T)]/(S - E)

Yes, these numbers do relate to pancakes. A team of math whizzes from the University of Wolverhampton in England decided that cooking the traditional breakfast food could and should be reduced to numbers.

The math breaks down like this:

L = the number of lumps in the batter (ideally 0)

C = the actual consistency of the batter (scored out of 10)

F = flipping score (scored out of 100)

K = the ideal consistency of the batter (ideally 5)

T = the actual temperature of the pan (ideally 377)

M = the perfect pan temperature (377)

S = the time the batter stands before cooking (ideally 30 minutes)

E = the time the pancake stands before eating (ideally 0 minutes)

Now recall those high school math skills, plug in your figures, and see how your own pancakes score. The closer you get to 100, the better the pancake.

Will this formula actually aid in the creation of the perfect pancake? Perhaps not, but there’s no denying that math is indeed a big part of cooking — there are numbers galore in your average recipe, and conversions, fractions and sums are all par for the course.

This formula, however, takes the math in cooking to a whole new level.

Also see:

Man spends more than $58,000 tasting cornflakes around the world

How to go gluten-free and have your pancakes too

Wait, so skipping breakfast isn't so bad after all?

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