Mixing Batters And Fritters
( Originally Published 1904 )
FLOUR and a liquid are mixed in the proportion of rather more of the flour than of the liquid. If a cup is used as the basis of measurement, a cup full of flour would be used to rather less than a cup full of liquid. It is not sufficient to merely put the flour and the liquid together. If baked in this way, the product would be heavy and solid and hard. It is necessary to make it light; and this is done either by stirring or beating. The effect of this treatment is to mix in bubbles of air. Sometimes soda is used to generate bubbles of gas. The mixture then must be cooked quickly before the air or gas has time to escape. In a cooked mixture the air or gas spaces are larger than when it was in the state of batter. This is because the air at the ordinary temperature occupies about one-third the space to which it will expand when heated in the oven while the mixture is cooking.
It is of the greatest importance to see, before the batter is mixed, that the fire is in a sufficiently good condition to bake the batter quickly, else it will be heavy and unfit for food. It is also necessary to have the pans ready, so that no fatal delay occurs. Have this all seen to before beginning to mix.
We stir to mix intimately two or more materials. if the matter used be dry, stir round and round in the mixing bowl until the ingredients cannot be distinguished from each other. If a liquid is stirred into a dry ingredient, do not put all' the liquid in at once, but add it slowly and at intervals,. stirring slowly so as to avoid spattering. Slow addition of the liquid will prevent the mixture front being too thin. Do not stir with the edge or the tip of the spoon alone; the bowl of the spoon is most effective in stirring, because it mashes the lumps and makes an even batter, which is the desired result. A mixture of flour and water makes a thickening for sauces or gravies. Flour, butter, and milk form a sauce when stirred.
Eggs, doughs, and batters are beaten, not stirred. The object is to make them light, and to introduce bubbles of air; these are held more firmly by the albumen of the egg and the gluten of the flour, which are sticky substances. So long as we beat rapidly the bubbles form and remain; but if, we beat and stir together, the stirring motion breaks down all of the bubbles formed by the beating. The mixing bowl is tipped over to the side and the spoon is carried through the mixture from side to side and reaching the bottom of the bowl at each stroke.
It has been said before that the fire must be hot for cooking batters. But if it is too hot, the bubbles of air are too suddenly and violently expanded so as to break through the mixture and escape. As a consequence the mixture falls and becomes heavy.
Batters are cooked in wellgreased vessels. The fat heats very quickly and rapidly cooks the outside, forming a crust. By a wellgreased griddle is, meant one in which the fat is evenly distributed over the surface. It does not mean the use of a great quantity of fat. Care should be taken not to use more fat than is required. I1 eggs and butter are used in a thin batter, much fat will be needed. If more fat than is necessary be used it is absorbed by the food, which is thereby rendered unwholesome.
LESSON RECIPES FOR MIXING
1 teaspoonful baking-powder; 1 cupful flour; teaspoonfuL salt; 1 cupful milk, scant; 1 egg; 1/2 teaspoonful butter, melted.
Sift the baking powder, salt,' and flour together into a bowl. Beat the egg, add the milk to it, and stir it gradually into the dry ingredients, to make a smooth batter. If the butter is used, melt it, cool it, and stir it into the batter. Scrape it into a pitcher, or dip it from the bowl with a tablespoon, to form round cakes. Place an iron or soapstone griddle over the fire, grease it with a little dripping. When the fat begins to smoke, pour on a little of the batter from the pitcher or dip it out with a tablespoon. Put on the griddle about seven cakes, if the utensil is large enough; When the cakes are full of bubbles, turn them over with a broad knife, so that both sides may be brown. Serve on hot plates with syrup, or but-ter and sugar, or place them in layers with but-ter, sugar, and cinnamon between, and cut like a pie.
By using 1/2 cupful of corn meal, rye, Graham, or bread crumbs, instead of 1/2 cup of the flour, in this recipe, varieties of griddle cakes may be made. By adding to this recipe, 1/2 cup cold boiled rice, hominy, wheatena, oatmeal, or canned corn, still farther variations may be developed.
1/4 teaspoonful salt; 1 cupful flour; 1 cupful milk; 1 egg.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Beat the egg, add the milk to it, and stir gradually into the flour to make a smooth batter. Beat with an egg-beater until full of air-bubbles. Fill hot, grease gem-pans two-thirds full. Bake on the floor of a quick oven, until brown and popped over. Break one open to see if it is firm, and not doughy. Serve hot with butter, as a break-fast muffin. By adding teaspoonful butter, 1 tablespoonful sugar, and a sprinkle of grated nutmeg, the popovers are eaten as sweetened tea-muffins. They can be served with a hot pudding sauce, as a dessert, and are then called German puffs. When they puff up, a hollow space is usually left in the centre. This may be filled with a thickened custard, and they will make very good cream puffs.
1 cupful milk, scalded; 1 egg; 1 tablespoonful sugar, sprinkle salt; 1 tablespoonful corn starch; sprinkle nutmeg, or 1/4 teaspoonful flavoring.
Beat the egg, add the sugar and salt, pour into the mixture 1 tablespoonful of cold milk. Stir in the corn starch to make a smooth paste. Pour in the scalded milk, and stir it well. Cook the mixture in the double boiler, stirring constantly for ten minutes. -Put the custard (when cold) into the popovers, or into cream puffs.
Put 1 cupful granulated sugar into a- frying-pan. Stir it over a moderate fire until it is melted into a light-brown liquid. Remove from the fire and pour into it cupful of boiling water. Heat and stir until the water melts the clear, hard candy. Pour into a pitcher, and serve hot or cold with griddle cakes.