Batter is a flour mixture with liquid and other ingredients like sugar, salt and leavening.
Batter is most often used for pancake
s, light cake
s, and as a coating for fried foods. The word ''batter'' comes from the French word ''battre'' which means ''to beat'',
as many batters require vigorous beating or whisk
ing in their preparation.
Many batters are made by combining dry flours
s such as water
. Batters can also be made by soaking grains in water and grinding them wet. Often a leavening agent
such as baking powder
is included to aerate
and fluff up the batter as it cooks, or the mixture may be naturally fermented
for this purpose as well as to add flavour. Carbonated water
or another carbonated liquid such as beer
may instead be used to aerate the batter in some recipes. Other substitutes for water are wine, or flavored liquors like curacao
, and maraschino
of batter may range from very "heavy" (adhering to an upturned spoon) to "thin" (similar to single cream
, enough to pour or drop from a spoon and sometimes called "drop batter"). Heat is applied to the batter, usually by frying
, in order to cook the ingredients and to "set" the batter into a solid form. Batters may be sweet or savoury
, often with either sugar or salt being added (sometimes both). Many other flavourings such as herb
s or vegetable
s may be added to the mixture.
File:Crepesteig 040.jpg|Crêpe batter
File:Batter spatula.jpg|Batter with a batter spoon
File:Angel food cake batter 1.jpg|Close-up view of angel food cake batter
Beer is a popular ingredient in batters used to coat foods before frying. One reason is that a basic batter can be made from merely flour, beer, and some salt. The purpose of using beer is so the bubbles in the beer will add body and lightness to the batter. Depending on the type and quality of the beer, beer may also add colour or some flavour to the batter. The practice of beer battering is popular in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Iceland and Russia. Some foods that are commonly beer battered and fried are fish, chips
, and onion rings
Cuisine and batters
Batters are used in many cuisines under many names. Tempura
in Japan, pakoda
in India, spoonbread
in the US, and many other examples are all types of batters. All batters work by forming a crisp shell around the food, preventing scorching and retaining flavor and juices. The ideal batter for fried foods is to be thick enough to adhere to the food, but not so thick as to become heavy.
Batters made with wheat flour thicken with every second that passes after mixing because of the development of gluten
. Strategies to reduce this effect include the use of ice water when mixing, alcohol (which does not mix with the flour to produce gluten), and making it at the last possible moment before use.
[The Science of Good Cooking, America's Test Kitchen, 2012]