Whether you’re using it to make a delectable stack of pancakes, a homemade batch of cookies or something deep fried and delicious, batter is the key to making the recipe perfect!
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What is Batter in Cooking?
Batter is translated from the French term “battre” which means beating ingredients together, usually by vigorous whisking. In terms of ingredients, most batter consists of sugar, salt, flour and as well as other dry ingredients.
The finished result is a somewhat thin liquid that can be poured, or spooned but not kneaded (as is the case with dough). Batter can be used to coat foods or as an ingredient in preparing foods like waffles, pancakes, muffins, cakes and more.
Three Types of Batter That Are Most Common
Batter most often falls into three common categories – coating batter, drop batter and pour batter. Let’s talk a little bit more about each type in detail.
A batter is considered a “coating” batter when it covers foods with edible substances like egg wash, bread crumbs, oils and more prior to be fried. Coatings are usually flavored with various spices, herbs, sauces, and so on to add additional flavors to the dish.
Coating batter serves two purposes. The first is that it keeps the food from sticking while it’s being fried and the second is that it acts to keep the food moist while it’s being cooked.
Additionally, coatings can be flavored with spices, herbs, sauces, condiments, etc. However, these ingredients should not interfere with the ability of the batter to adhere properly to the food item.
Once the food is finished frying, foods that are coated are usually consumed soon after. The reason is that the moisture that remains trapped within the coating tends to turn soggy if it remains at room temperature for too long.
To keep fried foods as fresh as possible, it’s a good idea to store it in an airtight container to lock in the food’s crispiness that makes coating batter so appealing.
Common Examples of Coating Batter
Coating batter is used a variety of different cuisines and recipes but some of the most popular and well-known types include beer batter and tempura batter, which we’ll discuss in a bit more detail below.
A popular type of coating batter makes use of a widely beloved beverage, beer.
It’s believed that the earliest known use of beer as an ingredient to coat food stretches back to Roman times. The food wasn’t fried but dipped in the alcohol, usually ale or wine, as part of religious ceremonies.
Although today’s beer batter is different in form and function, it’s one of the most popular types of coating batter. It’s easy to make and absolutely delicious. To make the batter, beer is usually combined with eggs, flour and either milk or buttermilk. Sometimes the beer can be added to the oil mix during frying which minimizes the buildup of foam.
For fans of Japanese cuisine, few things come close to matching the delicious taste of tempura batter. The term “tempura” is not originally Japanese but is a derivative of the Latin term, “tempora” which loosely refers to Christian holidays during which the consumption of red meat is avoided by Catholics. Instead, they opted to eat fish or vegetables as substitutes.
Tempura, as it’s known today, became associated with Japanese culture thanks to the introduction of a batter using flour and eggs by Portuguese missionaries during the 16th century. Prior to this, foods were traditionally fried in Japan using rice flour or with no coating at all.
Once introduced though, the mixture became extremely popular and quickly became a staple of Japanese cuisine as we know it today.
Pour batters are designed to be fluid so that they pour and spread easily. Of all the types of batters, pour batter is the most runny because the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. These range from two-thirds of a cup of water to one cup with equivalent amounts of flour depending on what’s being made.
Common Examples of Pour Batter
While many might not realize it, waffles are related to pancakes. Of all the pour batters, it is usually the thickest.
Pancakes are probably the most well known of all pour batters. In terms of consistency, they fall between crepes and waffles.
Crepes are more runny than pancakes but less than popovers. Crepes achieve their thinness thanks to including eggs which results in a batter with the consistency of heavy cream.
Of all pour batters, popovers are the thinnest and most runny with a ratio of one part liquid to one part flour.
Drop batters are not as runny as pour batters because the ratio of liquids to flour is smaller. Rather than being close to a one-to-one ratio, drop batters contain anywhere from 1/2 cup of water to 3/4 cups of water for each cup of flour or put another way, twice as much flour as liquid.
The result is a batter which is much thicker and can be handled and molded, most often with the use of a spoon.
Common Examples of Drop Batter
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!