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I recently made popovers and I knew they would 'pop over'. Yet, I was surprised they came that high. I'm curious how this is possible, since there is no yeast, baking powder, self-rising flour, beaten egg whites...

I think it's because of the egg, but I'm not sure. So, can somebody explain this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is a lot of water in the milk. The high heat turns the water into steam. The egg and flour contains proteins and gluten that forms a "net". The steam can't escape without pushing the net upwards. This makes the dough rise.

It helps that the container is a narrow cylinder.

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Commonly called oven spring, I think... Also positive when making leavened bread. Just for reference. – Max Jan 19 '12 at 11:20
Ha, possibly, yes. I thought of a soufflé, there the steam works in combination of whipped egg whites. I was thinking of how the air gets inside, but it sounds logical now :) thanks. – Mien Jan 19 '12 at 14:25

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