A. Prepare Pop-overs.
Use one-fourth of the following proportions:
(Bread flour sifted)
Mix as follows:
1. Beat white and yolk separately. Add the milk to the beaten yolk and add to the flour and salt. Stir in the melted butter and finally fold in the beaten white.
2. Add the milk to the flour and salt. Add unbeaten egg and melted butter and beat with a Dover egg beater until there are no lumps.
Pour each pop-over batter into hot, buttered, earthen molds or iron muffin pans, but do not fill molds more than quarter full. Bake in a hot oven l (482° F.) until the pop-overs are puffed and beginning to brown, then reduce the heat and finish baking. Allow thirty to thirty-five minutes for the whole baking. Compare results.
B. Class Experiments. 1. Fill a cup with unsifted flour. Sift the flour and refill the cup, being careful not to pack the flour. Recipes always call for flour measured after one sifting. Why ? 2. Drop a teaspoon of unbeaten white of egg into hot fat. What immediately happens to the water in the white of egg ? What makes pop-overs pop ? Why is so hot an oven used ?
Flour Mixtures enough to pour is called a "pour-batter"; it is about as thick as thin cream. Then comes a "drop-batter", thicker than a pour-batter but still liquid enough to drop from a spoon, "breaking" when it is poured. It has the consistency of thick cream. Thicker than this is "soft dough"; then, still thicker, is "dough." Obviously pop-overs are a pour-batter; so are griddle-cakes. Muffins are drop-batter, baking-powder biscuits are soft dough, and bread is dough. Cookies and pastry are still stiffer mixtures. But none of these terms are exact, because the proportions of flour and liquid in any one may vary a good deal. Also, it will readily be seen that eggs act as a liquid until they are cooked, and that fat is liquid while it is melted. All these things, therefore, must be taken into consideration. Then, one flour differs from another in its gluten content, so, therefore, in the amount of liquid it can absorb. But in spite of all this, quite accurate results can be obtained with definite proportions, until one comes to a mixture like bread which must be handled.
Cream soup and white sauce are made with comparatively little flour for the liquid used, and without the use of eggs. Beginning with pop-overs come a series of thickened mixtures, usually with more or less egg. Of these the more liquid are termed batters. A mixture thin
1Test the heat of the oven at 482° F. with your hand. An "educated" hand is of the greatest help when trying to bake without a thermometer. Also test by putting a piece of white paper in the oven for five minutes.
In considering the whole question of proportions, think of the liquid as fixed in amount, one cup, and then the proportion of flour used with it. In pop-overs equal amounts are used, one cup of each. Therefore, pop-over batter is said to be 1:1, - one cup of liquid to one cup of flour. As griddle-cakes, fritter-batter, muffins, and bread vary mainly in the amount of flour used, this is an easy way to remember proportions. Cake ordinarily contains so much fat or so many eggs that these must be taken into consideration in counting liquid.
The method of mixing depends upon the leavening agent and the result to be accomplished. If the leavening is steam, as in pop-overs, beating in air is evidently unnecessary. Therefore the separate beating of the egg, folding in the white, gives no better pop-overs than are obtained by the shorter method. Beating the flour with the liquid develops the gluten in it, which is necessary to retain the steam which expands and so makes the pop-overs hollow. Notice in each mixture exactly how you combine the in-gredients and see the reasons in every case.
Baking is much easier if a thermometer can be used in the oven, because then the temperature can readily be measured and not guessed at. Many home ovens can quite easily have a hole bored, so that a thermometer can be inserted. The result is more accurate than the results obtained from oven thermometers. With gas ovens, it is possible to tell with a little practice how hot a given oven is by the length of time the gas has been lighted and the degree to which it is turned on. Many ovens bake unevenly. This is especially liable to be true of small ovens. In these, care must be taken not to put pans too near the sides. It is impossible to fill such an oven too full and get good results. A pan of water will help cool an oven; an asbestos mat placed under a pan will keep the bottom from baking as fast; paper put over the top will keep the top from browning as rapidly. But all these ought to be unnecessary with a good oven and sufficient skill in baking.
1. Is pour-batter an appropriate name for batters of the type of pop-overs ?
2. Look up a recipe for cream puffs. Cream cakes. Eclairs. How do these compare in proportions with the pop-over recipe ?
3. If you mixed cream puffs as pop-overs and attempted to bake them on a flat surface what would happen ? Account, then, for the partial cooking of the flour during the mixing.
4. Compare the proportions of flour to liquid in cream soups, white sauces, and pop-overs. Also with the amount of flour you would have to substitute for cornstarch to make a mold. Compare the textures when cooked.