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How to make the batter?

One of the secrets to preparing excellent fried food, especially with vegetables (but not only), is finding the proper batter for every occasion.

But what exactly is meant by batter? It is an essential preparation widely used in cooking in gastronomic cultures around the world. The primary purpose of the batter is to wrap and therefore protect the foods that are sprinkled with it during cooking, which consists of deep-frying while creating a truly delicious external crust.

There are many batter verses: with or without eggs, milk, water, or even beer, leavened or not… There are many variables, but what are the differences? And, essentially, how do you make the batter? Let’s find out together!

How to make the batter

As I have already mentioned, there are different recipes for preparing the batter: the ingredients change, and even the consistency can change, which can be more or less fluid. The only constant is the presence of a substantial part, usually given by wheat flour (usually 00, but other degrees of refining can also be used, up to the integral one), sometimes replaced with potato starch or other starch.

The liquid part, on the other hand, can vary, and even a lot! Here are the most common:

  • water
  • cold water from the fridge
  • cold sparkling water from the fridge
  • beer (usually cold from the fridge)
  • milk
  • eggs and milk (or eggs and water)

See what variety? Each of these will create a slightly different batter.

  • The carbon dioxide contained in beer and sparkling water will cause the battery to swell more.
  • Adding cold water or beer from the fridge will cause a thermal shock in contact with the hot oil, which will result in delicate and light frying.
    For example, you can appreciate this frying with Japanese-style fried vegetables, better known as tempura, which includes a batter cooled even with ice cubes!
  • The batter made with beer will have a less neutral flavor but more full-bodied and tendentially bitter (but this also depends on the beer chosen for the preparation).
  • Adding eggs will give the batter, usually ashen, pleasant color and richer flavor.

Another element that can make a difference is the brewer’s yeast’s presence (or absence) in the compound. The recipes that provide it, of course, also provide a time interval necessary for leavening.

Types of batter

So let’s try to put the ideas back in order: I have developed a practical diagram for you including the various types of batter:

  • Simple batter. Prepared with water and flour in variable proportions (150-300 ml of water for every 200 g of flour); the water should preferably be icy, sometimes even sparkling. Suitable for fish, meat, and tasty vegetables (such as aubergines, mushrooms, and peppers). If it has a light consistency, it can also be used with more delicate vegetables (such as courgettes and courgette flowers) and fruit.
  • Beer batter. A variant of the simple batter replaces water with beer, giving it a more particular flavor and, like sparkling water, a more extraordinary lightness. Perfect with meat, fish, and, if you like, tasty vegetables (for example, it can be used to make onion rings).
  • Wine batter. With a more delicate and light flavor, a variant of the beer batter is also suitable for sweet preparations.
  • Battering with yeast

For every 200 g of flour, 5-10 g of fresh brewer’s yeast are used (depending on the quantity, the leavening times will vary) and 2-3 glasses of water or, sometimes, milk; to taste, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and 1-2 egg whites whipped until stiff. It can be used for delicate vegetables and fruit .

  • Batter with egg . Every 200 g of flour requires the addition of 2 eggs and 200 ml of milk or water. It goes well with meat, fish, and vegetables.
  • Batter with oil . For every 200-250 g of flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2-3 glasses of water and 2 whipped egg whites are used. Suitable for meat , fish and vegetables
  • Tempura batter . For every 200 g of flour, add 1 egg (or, sometimes, 2 yolks) and 200-300 ml of cold water. Typically used for all kinds of vegetables and fish (especially shellfish).

So how to choose which Batter to use?

  1. Well, I would say that a lot depends on personal taste first of all . Both the combination of flavors and the thickness of the batter can vary.
  2. The time factor could also be an important determinant (if I’m in a hurry I may not make a leavened battering, but I will rather opt for a simpler battering).
  3. The combination with the ingredients to fried another factor to consider: if I don’t like beer, or if I have to make apple fritters, better not opt ​​for a beer battering. As well as, if I have to fry an ingredient with a delicate and light taste, it is better to avoid leavened batters or with egg, certainly heavier.

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