Consisting essentially of flour, milk and eggs, batter is a thick liquid mixture of a consistency that can be stirred, beaten or ‘battered’. Batter forms a basis for pancakes, waffles, cakes and Yorkshire puddings. It is also used for coating fish or meat for frying or for making fritters.
When making batter, the proportion of liquid and oil or butter varies from recipe to recipe depending on how thick or thin the batter is required to be. The method, however, remains the same.
The flour, salt and sugar (if a sweet batter is being made) are sifted into a bowl. A well is made in the flour, exposing the bottom of the bowl. The eggs are then broken into the well and half the milk is poured in.
A wooden spoon or wire whisk are considered best for stirring. Only the eggs and milk are stirred at first and the flour is slowly incorporated, a little at a time. More milk is gradually added and the stirring is continued until the batter has a thick and creamy consistency.
When the batter has reached this stage, the mixture should be thoroughly beaten with a whisk. Oil, or cooled melted butter, and any remaining ingredients required by the recipe may then be added. The batter should be beaten for a few more minutes and then left to rest.
I preferably in a refrigerator, for at least one hour before use. If the recipe calls for a stiffly beaten egg white, this is folded into the batter just before it is used.
Batter for puddings and thick pancakes requires less liquid than batter for crepes or light pancakes. Thicker batters are usually required for coating fish or meat for frying.
Pancake batters are best when cooled, melted butter is used, although oil may be substituted for savoury pancakes. For a lighter batter, water may sometimes replace a proportion of the milk. Stiffly beaten egg whites, added at the last moment, give pancakes a light and fluffy texture.
If a dry pancake is required the butter or oil may be omitted from the batter, but in this case the pan should be well greased. If the batter does contain oil or butter, the pan will require a little greasing.