Endless Pancakes

Sometimes along comes a machine so simple yet so alluring in what it does and how it achieves its aim that you just want one. Doesn’t matter what it does or indeed whether ownership is a practical proposition, you wish you could have one in your possession.

What machine could trigger this reaction, you ask? [Robbie Van Der Walt] and [Christiaan Harmse] have the answer, their machine performs the simple but important task of cooking an endless pancake. A hopper dispenses a layer of pancake batter onto a slowly rotating heated roller that cooks the ribbon of pancake on one side, before it is transferred to another roller that cooks the other side. It seems simple enough yet the simplicity must hide a huge amount of product refinement and probably many miles of lost pancake. Pancakes it seems are a traditional South African delicacy, evidently they must have king-sized appetites to satisfy.

In the video below (Afrikaans, English subtitles) they make an attempt at a world record for the longest ever pancake, though sadly they don’t seem to appear in a Guinness  World Records search so perhaps they didn’t achieve it. Still, their machine is a work of art, and we applaud it.

We know the Hackaday readership is fond of pancakes, because you keep producing pancake-related hacks. We’ve seen a bevvy of CNC pancake batter printers including this one made from Lego, this competition winner made in under 24 hours, and a printer with an emphasis on pancake art. Finally, this robotic pancake toss deserves a mention. Please, keep ’em coming!

Our thanks to [Rogan Dawes] for the tip.

40 thoughts on “Endless Pancakes

  1. Sadly the pancake broke at 147 meters, but they said winning wasn’t everything and they loved handing out the pancake to the attending visitors.
    (almost the same language as Dutch)

      1. Should be possible I think, give a long pancake a twist then join the ends with batter as it fries. You could maybe do a spherical one if you tried. Klein bottles for the advanced chef de cuisine.

        Actually a lovely variation, something me and a then-girlfriend invented, was making Yorkshire pudding batter, and dropping it into a deep fat fryer. It explodes into little puffballs that are bloody lovely, only takes a little time to fry.

      1. From Wikipedia

        Afrikaans (/ˌæfrᵻˈkɑːnᵗs/, /ˌɑː-/, or /-ˈkɑːnz/)[5][6] is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia, and to a lesser extent, Botswana and Zimbabwe. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular[7][8] of South Holland[9][10] spoken by the mainly Dutch settlers of what is now South Africa, where it gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics in the course of the 18th century.[11] Hence, it is a daughter language of Dutch, and was previously referred to as “Cape Dutch” (a term also used to refer collectively to the early Cape settlers) or “kitchen Dutch” (a derogatory term used to refer to Afrikaans in its earlier days).[n 1] The term is ultimately derived from Dutch “Afrikaans-Hollands” meaning “African Dutch”. It is the first language of most of the Afrikaner and Coloured people of Southern Africa.

  2. Was really hoping this was a machine I could fill with X amount of ingredients/batter and have it continuously and while unattended churn out fresh pancakes. While I don’t imagine with would be hard to accomplish, I just wanted infinite pancakes

    1. Yup, you could strap it to your head, or wear it as a backpack. Say goodbye to those not-eating-a-pancake blues!

      Just needs a little attachment for the lemon juice and sugar.

  3. Ah, these are proper European-style pancakes, not the weird foamy things Americans have for breakfast. If you’re never eaten one, your life is horribly incomplete!

    Then when you’re done do some Yorkshire Puddings. People have them with Sunday dinner, with gravy, but just salt and pepper is lovely. They’re pretty much the exact same recipe, but savoury by some kind of miracle.

      1. Ah, crepes are yet another type. Crepes are much thinner than proper pancakes. Not as chewy. A proper pancake is not unlike a crepe, but tastes much nicer. The recipe is milk, eggs, sugar. Mix ’em up then shallow fry in a frying pan with a bit of oil. I’ve no idea what the quantities are, it’s usually just done by eye. Mother to daughter, usually.

        The things Americans eat for breakfast are properly called “Scotch Pancakes”. They contain something to make them rise a bit. Proper Shrove Tuesday pancakes don’t. Do Americans eat them? Scotch pancakes are nice with a bit of maple syrup, but proper pancakes should be eaten with lemon juice and sugar sprinkled over. Or possibly jam.

        1. The pancake recipe is missing flower.

          The recipe I use (Dutch pancakes) consists of about 1/4th flower, 1/2th milk and 1/4th eggs. This gives roughly 250g flower, 500ml milk, 2 eggs, a bit of salt and oil. I’m not sure what the traditional recipe is. Everyone uses variations by add ingredients like cinnamon. (250g is aprrox a cup.)

      1. No, that’s pancakes! You’ve just got that so wrong! I feel like I need to take you to one side, then over to my Nana’s for some proper pancakes.

        It’s the same batter but the cooking method means Yorkshires come out fluffy and full of air, and crispy on the sides (with a bit of stodge on the bottom to be completely authentic). Pancakes are flat, soft, and have less flavour, less thoroughly cooked. Yorkshires are baked in a tin, pancakes fried in a pan. That’s why Yorkshires are savoury.

        Try making pancakes and have them with lemon and sugar, that’s the way the gods expect them to be. Yorkshire are great with any sort of roast. Or by themselves by the dozen, but that’s just me.

        My Nana also does German potato pancakes. Mmm!

    1. Yorkshire puddings done the uber-traditional way are savoury because they were done by pouring the batter into the pan under a roast joint of beef for the last 1/2 hour or so of cooking. But the savouriness of ones cooked more conventionally comes from beef dripping, at least in the ones my mother – who hailed from near Whitby, Yorkshire – taught me to make.

      1. Nah vegetarian ones are still savoury, I think it’s from the sides touching the hot sides of the tin, makes them crispy and savoury. Pancakes are much lighter in colour, much softer. I’m a Yorkshireman myself, Gods’ own country. Viking gods, of course.

        The pre-baked ones you can buy never have any stodge at the bottom. They’re too crispy. Makes you wonder if the people who make them even have mothers. Aunt Bessie has pretty much cracked it though, the ones that come in little foil tins you bake yourself are very good. Of course it takes my Mum or little sister to achieve perfection. S’what I have for Xmas dinner. Either individual ones cooked in bun tins (or cupcake tin if you’re American), or a bloody great enormous one in a roasting pan. Manna from heaven.

  4. Hmmmm….just need a butter and syrup applicator as soon as it rolls off the last wheel.

    “You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get it to float on its back, then you’ve got something.”

    Nice work guys. Awesome!

    1. Long as they’ve washed their hands or wear gloves. And the temperature should kill any actual germs, though it still doesn’t get rid of finger grossness. I wonder though how they keep the hot bits oiled, oil’s not going to sink to the bottom if they added it to the recipe. Maybe an oil roller?

      The video led to another with a guy trying “pancake art”, I didn’t know that even existed. And there’s tons of it! Some really great looking stuff. I dunno much about pancake art but I know I like pancakes.

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