Do not be afraid: you are not alone … it is one of the most common problems: flat, hard Johnny Cakes! Impossible to cut open and just not the way you want them.
Quickly read our checklist with 5 tips to bake your next ‘batch’ of Johnny Cakes PERFECTLY!
1. Do not knead the dough too long
Often we think ‘the longer the better’ when it comes to kneading dough, but nothing can be further from the truth: it is best not to knead dough with baking powder too long. Bread dough (with yeast) must be kneaded as long as possible to develop the gluten in the flour. Soda-dough becomes tough when you knead too much. It is best to knead the dough until it is smooth – especially no longer.
2. Let the dough rest for a while
After kneading it is wise to leave your dough for 15 minutes. It can then cool down somewhat (the warmth of your hands really influences your results) and will soon be easier to roll out. Which brings us to point three:
3. Roll the Johnny Cakes to the correct thickness
When you roll out the dough, you can make the best Johnny Cakes with circles that are about 1.5 centimeters thick. This way, you’ll ensure that the dough will still be thin enough to be ‘done all the way’ in the hot oil, but still has enough ‘body’ to expand and create an airy sandwich. If your slices are too thin, the Johnny Cakes are guaranteed to stay flat … and vice versa: if you leave the dough too thick, the rolls will not be cooked on the inside.
4. The right temperature
It is important that the oil is really hot. Between 170 and 175 degrees Centigrade is optimal. When you use a deep fryer, you can choose this as a setting on the pan. Do you use a ‘normal’ pan? Then make a few small balls of dough that you hold back to test. Put the balls in the hot oil. You have the right temperature when the balls start to fizz immediately and float up. A trained ear will recognize the sound of this at a given moment.
5. The right raising agents
Do you use enough baking powder? Is not it too old? Hasn’t the package been open too long? …baking powder consists (among other things) of a basic and an acidic ingredient. These two ingredients form a reaction when they come into contact with moisture or heat. They will start to fizzle and create small air bubbles that turn the dough into a nice, fluffy bun.
You can also mix your own baking powder by mixing 1 part of citric acid (powder) with 2 parts of baking soda (soda bicarbonate) – in dry form you can mix and store these ingredients together. When water is added, they will start to fizz and create a reaction that causes dough or batter to rise.
Good luck! You can find our recipe for the tastiest Johnny Cakes here: RECIPE
Interested in cooking videos (in Dutch)? Try our YOUTUBE channel.