A flippin' end to tonnes of pancake batter wasted each year
Having sold almost 70 tonnes1 of pancake mix in the lead up to Shrove Tuesday in 2010, Sainsbury's unveils how Brits can achieve the perfect flip, with the help of University College London.
Millions of Brits will today celebrate Shrove Tuesday by wielding their frying pans in an attempt to turn out perfect pancakes - but not all ingredients will make it to the plate. Instead, they will end up in the bin as Brits struggle to get their flippin' technique just right. To prevent pancake panic, Sainsbury's has teamed up with the pancake boffins at UCL to reveal the perfect pancake formula. It seems that size really does matter, as well as the heady heights we're prepared to go to!
According to University Professor of Mathematics Frank Smith, the simple mathematical formula for the perfect flip is:
L = 4×H /π- D / 2
(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)
Or a more detailed formula for the pancake connoisseur is:
[U, ω, V, L] = [(2gH)1/2, π(g/ 8H) 1/2, (g/ 32H) 1/2(8H - πD), V / ω]
(U = upward speed of centre of pancake / ω = rotation rate / V = upward speed of inner edge of pancake / g = 9.81 m/s2 (acceleration due to gravity)
Professor Smith comments: "Last year Sainsbury's sold 86% more pancake mix during the week before Pancake Day to millions of people - many of which would have struggled to perfect their pancake flip. We all know that no-one enjoys wasting ingredients but there are many factors and risks involved in producing a perfect pancake.
"We've discovered that the wrong direction or speed, for instance, will mean that the average flipper may ruin two or even more pancakes trying to perfect their technique. By working with Sainsbury's, we aim to reduce this waste by advising Brits how to achieve the perfect flip."
Professor Smith's Methodology
Hold the frying pan horizontally with the cooked pancake in it. Estimate how high you'd like the pancake to fly, say to a height H (30cm or about one foot, as a first go). Also estimate the diameter D of your pancake, measured in the direction of the handle. D might be 10-20 cm or so.
As to where precisely to put your hand(s), work out L from the formula above and hold the handle at a distance L cm from the inner edge of the pancake. Then toss the pancake quite abruptly to a height H cm. You should now be able to carry out a 180-degrees flip. If you want a 360-degrees flip use 2×π in the formula instead of π, and so on.
Remember the four Cs
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Last year alone, Sainsbury's saw sales of pancake ingredients increase the week before Shrove Tuesday2, with ready-made pancake mix sales growing 86%, squeezed lemon 44% and caster sugar 12%.
Notes to editors