Batter - Defined, Recipes and Types

Batter—A consistency of flour and liquids used to dip foods in before frying; also a pancake and pudding mixture. The following fritter batter is used for frying any foods of a plain nature: a pound of flour is gradually moistened with a half pint each of milk and water, added to which is the whipped whites of four eggs and half a cup of melted butter.

Batters, like the doughs, are cross-classified, and these subdivisions are again divided into various forms and types; but no matter how many nor how varied these are, the foundation for them is always the same.

A batter is always a batter, whether it be thick or thin, baked on a griddle or in muffin pans, and made of flour alone, or mixed with rice or corn meal or some other product. The delicate angel cake and the crisp, substantial waffle belong to the same division in cookery, for all their dissimilarity.

The principles that underlie the making of one form of batter are the same basic principles which control them all, so when one has learned the foundation formula for each type of batter, the matter of suiting it to various purposes becomes very simple.

Batters are either thin or thick, according to the use to which they are to be put. Thin batters are used in making waffles, griddlecakes, and fritters; muffins, gems, and sweet cakes require a somewhat thicker, but by no means a stiff, batter.

Some writers define these classes of batters as pour batters and drop batters, and these terms describe them very well.

The thin batter, such as is used in pancakes and waffles, might, with slight changes and additions, answer quite as well in making some of the products which require a thick or drop batter.

Gems and muffins are only another type of the same batter which is used for pancakes, waffles, and fritters. It is merely made slightly thicker and baked in the oven instead of on a griddle or waffle iron.

When this fact is thoroughly understood, it will easily be seen that all that is required for making all of the hot cakes and breads I have just named is one satisfactory foundation formula. From her one good batter, the housewife may make any number of good things.

Let us take the waffle batter, for instance, for waffles require the very thinnest of pour batters. The foundation formula which I am giving will make waffles that will be most satisfactory :

Foundation Formula for Batter

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter


Method of Preparation

The most simple and efficient way of putting a batter together is to mix and sift all of the dry ingredients first, then to mix the liquids, and finally to combine the two mixtures.

For a very light batter, the eggs should be beaten separately, the yolks mixed with the milk, and added to the dry ingredients, then the melted butter is beaten in, and lastly the stiffly whipped whites of the eggs are whipped in very lightly. If time is limited, the yolks and whites of the eggs may be beaten together. The waffles will be just as rich and fine, if not quite so airy.

The waffle iron should be well heated and brushed on both sides with melted fat or vegetable oil. The latter will produce a deliciously crisp brown waffle that will never stick to the iron.

After preparing this batter several times, the housewife will have its proportions and the method of putting it together as firmly fixed in her mind as the alphabet, and will not find it necessary to consult her recipe book every time that she wishes to use this foundation formula.

If it is more convenient to use sour milk and soda, her formula is not materially different, as will be seen :

Formula for Batter

1 1/2 cups flour
I teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sour milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

One fourth of a teaspoon of soda will neutralize the acidity in one cup of sour milk, therefore in any recipe of which sweet milk forms a part, sour milk may be used if one simply remembers to allow one fourth of a teaspoon of soda for each cup of sour milk and one teaspoon of baking powder to one or two cups of flour for additional lightness. Always, however, sift both baking powder and soda with the flour and then proceed as though the recipe had been left unchanged.

In making pancakes, the foundation formula will again be used, adding one tablespoon more of flour or one fourth of a cup less milk. A pancake batter must be a thin batter also, it must be understood, only not quite so thin a batter as that for waffles.

The pancake griddle, like the waffle iron, should be smoking hot and rubbed with fat or oil. The cakes should be placed on the griddle from the point of a large spoon, and should be baked quickly and turned but once.

Do not wash the griddle or the waffle iron after using, but rub them clean with a piece of soft paper, and place them on the back of the range or in the oven to dry. Scrubbing or washing them with soap or powder will cause the batter to stick each time they are used.

Rice, Hominy, or other left-over cereals may be added to this thin batter as one wishes. To the ingredients given, add one half a cup of cold cooked cereal mashed well and mixed with the batter until perfectly smooth.

Corn Meal may be used also ; in this case omit half the quantity of flour designated and substitute the same quantity of corn meal. Scald the corn meal with a cup of boiling water before mixing it with the other ingredients, as corn meal must be well cooked to make it thoroughly digestible.

Entire wheat Flour or Graham Flour may be used in making the foundation formula also, though it is well to use one half white flour with either of these coarser flours, in order that the batter may be smooth, and the waffles or cakes of good texture.

Bacon Griddlecakes are very good for a cool weather breakfast. To make them add one eighth of a pound of sliced bacon, cut in dice and crisply fried, to the foundation formula. Omit the butter and add a tablespoon of the bacon fat in its stead.

Fritters are always popular and form an excellent way of using many a bit of left-over fruit or vegetable, or pieces of meat too small to be of use in any other way.

The same foundation formula, made as for pancakes, will be quite the thing for fritters, and if you wish to make them slightly sweet, you will add a tablespoon of powdered or granulated sugar to the batter.

Pineapple, peaches, apples, oranges, or any of the larger fruits make excellent fritters. They should be cut in pieces of a convenient size and stirred into the batter; a cup and a half of fruit to the foundation batter formula will be sufficient.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls into deep boiling fat and cook about five minutes, or deep boiling fat and cook about five minutes, or until the fritters are thoroughly done in the center. Then skim out and drain on soft paper, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with or without sauce.

Honey or maple syrup is excellent with apple fritters. Pudding sauces of various kinds are served with other fruit fritters. Strawberries, cherries, or other small fruits are dropped into the batter whole, and cooked in the same way as in making fritters of larger fruits.

Corn, peas, asparagus, or any left-over vegetable may be put to use in the same way, leaving the batter unsweetened, of course; cauliflower, parsnips, and oyster plant make very fine fritters and are often served with tomato sauce. Cheese fritters are made by adding half a cup of cheese, grated or cut in very small pieces, to the batter, then proceeding as in making fruit fritters.

Oysters, clams, and left-over fish are also used in making them. If fresh oysters or clams are to be used, they should be chopped slightly before being added to the batter. Should a few slices of cold meat remain from dinner, transform them into a delectable luncheon dish by chopping coarsely and adding them to the fritter batter. Fry as usual and serve with tomato catsup or chili sauce.

Fritters are very good and economical as a luncheon dish, as they afford an excellent and appetizing way in which many a remnant of food may be put to use, and if waffles or griddle cakes have formed a breakfast dish, and some of the batter remains when the meal is finished, a double economy is possible.

Pop-overs, while belonging to the thin batter class, form one of those exceptions to the general rule of which I spoke in the first chapter. They contain but two of the four ingredients which form the foundation formula, viz.: flour and liquid.

The formula for pop-overs is as follows:

Popovers Foundation Formula

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 scant cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon melted butter


Method of Preparation

Sift together the flour and the salt, beat the eggs without separating them, and add the milk; then combine the mixtures, and beat very hard with an egg beater for two minutes.

Pour into hot greased gem pans (iron or earthenware if possible) and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.

The baking must be slow or the pop-overs will not rise to their fullest extent. When finished, they should be hollow.

Pop-overs may be served with hard sauce as a pudding, with maple syrup or honey for breakfast, luncheon, or Sunday evening supper, or they may be served with marmalade for afternoon tea. If they are well made and baked, they will be welcome upon any occasion.

This same recipe will be used in making Yorkshire pudding for serving with roast beef, or for a baked batter pudding to be served as a dessert with any desired pudding sauce.

When muffins or gems are to be made, we leave the thin or pour batter for the thick or drop batter, though the same foundation formula may be used, if it is thickened slightly with flour; with each half cup of flour an additional half teaspoon of baking powder must also be used, and if the muffins are desired slightly sweet, sugar must also be introduced into the recipe.

Therefore, although an experienced cook will very easily transfer the waffle batter into one suitable for muffins, it may perhaps be a wiser plan to adopt an entirely new foundation formula for muffins and gems.

Foundation Formula for Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs


Method of Preparation

Mix this batter in the same method as directed in making the thin batter, mixing and sifting all of the dry ingredients together, then the liquid, and finally combining the two mixtures. Bake in well- greased muffin pans for twenty-five minutes.

If gems are desired, use the same batter, baking it in hot greased iron gem pans.

This thick batter is capable of much variation. It may be transformed into almost any kind of muffin or gem that one desires.

Entire-wheat Muffins are made by substituting entire-wheat flour for the white flour.

Graham Muffins. Substitute one cup of graham flour for one cup of white flour, then proceed as in the foundation formula.

Berry Muffins. Add a cup of blueberries or blackberries, — washed, drained, and dredged with flour, — to the batter just before placing it in the pans.

Rice Muffins. Add one half a cup of cold boiled rice, mashed and mixed with the egg, to the foundation recipe. Hominy muffins are made in the same way.

Oatmeal Muffins. Proceed as in the rice muffins, substituting cooked oatmeal for the rice.

Rye Muffins. Use one half rye and one half wheat flour, and add also two tablespoons of molasses to the foundation recipe.

Corn-meal Muffins. Use one cup of corn meal and one of white flour in making the batter, otherwise the foundation formula is unchanged.

Fruit Muffins. Add one fourth of a cup of chopped raisins or cleaned currants to the foundation formula ; bake in muffin pans as usual.

Figs or dates, well chopped, may also be added to the thick batter. Chopped nuts of any kind added to the entire-wheat or graham muffins make them very tempting and wholesome.

Remember when adding fresh fruits to the batter to have them as dry as possible and merely to fold them into it, in order to avoid breaking them, as the juices would mingle with the batter and make it too thin for good results.

Bacon Muffins make a very tempting breakfast dish. The bacon is cut in dice and fried, then added to the batter, to which may be substituted the bacon fat for the usual amount of butter.

Sour milk may be substituted for sweet milk in any of the foregoing muffins by following the rule for the use of sour milk given in connection with the thin batter.

Batter for frying sweet foods and fruits is made of a pound of flour, a heaping teaspoonful of baking powder and half cup of sugar mixed together dry, then moistened with a cup and a half of milk and two beaten eggs.

Batter for frying vegetables is made of a pound of flour seasoned with salt, moistened with a pint of milk, one beaten egg, and a spoonful of olive oil.

Batter for French pancakes is made of a pound of flour very gradually moistened with a quart of milk and sixteen beaten eggs, the grated rind and juice of one lemon and a seasoning of salt. This batter is fried in small HOT frying pans, very thin, tossed over, spread with preserves, rolled up and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are also called JENNY LIND PANCAKES.

Batter for Swiss pancakes is made of six ounces of, flour gradually moistened with six beaten, eggs and a quart of milk with a seasoning of salt; they are fried like the preceding, but prior to tossing them over they are strewn with steamed currants. Served currant side up with powdered sugar, not rolled.

Batter for Yorkshire pudding is made of three quarters of a pound of flour gradually moistened with three pints of milk, nine beaten eggs, and half a cup of melted butter; one teaspoonful of salt and two of baking powder is beaten in just before putting into oven.

Batter for wheat griddle cakes is made of a pound of flour, one ounce of baking powder, two beaten eggs, three cups of milk, a little melted butter, sugar and salt.

Batter for corn griddle cakes is made of half a pound each of wheat flour and corn meal mixed dry with a little salt and one ounce of baking powder, then moistened with a pint each of milk and water, two beaten eggs, a little syrup and two table-spoonfuls of melted butter.

Batter for flannel griddle cakes is made of a pound of flour, a quart of water and a small cake of yeast, this is set to rise; when risen, two eggs, two ounces of melted lard, a little salt and syrup are beaten in, allowed to rise again before baking.

Batter for graham griddle cakes is made the same as for corn, except using graham flour for the corn meal.

Batter for rice griddle cakes is made of a pint each of sifted flour and dry boiled rice mixed together with a little salt, one teaspoonful of baking powder, moistened with half a pint of milk, three eggs and a little syrup.

Batter for buckwheat cakes is made of self-raising buckwheat flour prepared according to the directions given on the package; or one pound of buckwheat flour moistened with a pint and a half of warm water with enough yeast added to raise it; when risen, a little salt, syrup and melted lard or butter is beaten into it, and sometimes a little corn meal is appreciated.

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