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Some very interesting posts, like this one, which has links to some more extensive discussions and websites that I consulted, too, describe some aspects of the method used to prepare and bake the batter, affecting the end result.

However, a sentence in one post:

You can play with the ratio of ingredients every which way and still end up with a batter that rises tall.

left me quite baffled, because I thought: surely the composition of the batter must matter to some extent...

From a little research on the topic, I found that, indeed, the proportions of the ingredients vary widely between different recipes, but I could not find any extensive account of how that impacts the outcome.

See below the links to each recipe I looked at, and the % of ingredients, in order of egg to flour ratio.

Allegra McEvedy Egg = 19%, Flour = 24%, Milk = 57%, Water = 0%, Egg/Flour = 0.80

Tom Kerridge Egg = 26%, Flour = 29%, Milk = 45%, Water = 0%, Egg/Flour = 0.89

BBC food Egg = 22%, Flour = 22%, Milk = 44%, Water = 11%, Egg/Flour = 1.00

Serious Eats Egg = 36%, Flour = 27%, Milk = 32%, Water = 5%, Egg/Flour = 1.33

Mary Berry Egg = 31%, Flour = 21%, Milk = 47%, Water = 0%, Egg/Flour = 1.50

James Martin Egg = 33%, Flour = 18%, Milk = 49%, Water = 0%, Egg/Flour = 1.78

However you look at it, Egg/Flour ratio, (Egg+Flour)/(Milk+Water) ratio, there is a huge variability.

I experimented a bit, although I did not make all of them.
Allegra McEvedy's version is my favourite so far, whereas other recipes (I won't say which ones) gave me stodgy, undercooked puddings, a completely different thing, despite the fact that the method was to all practical purposes the same.

Q As per title of this post, would anyone be able to please point me to posts or websites describing how the batter composition affects the end result, e.g. in terms of shape, texture and taste?

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I take it you didn't read Kenji's Serious Eats column The Science of the Best Yorkshire Puddings which is linked from the recipe column.

It discusses his experiments with various factors affecting Yorkshire puddings addressing some of your points including liquid (eggs + milk + water) to flour ratios and amounts of fats (yolks + milk) as well as technique. The focus is on balancing expansion, crispness, and the hollow with some mention of richness (fats).

[EDIT]

Major points:

  • Let rest overnight ("Resting your batter is the single most important step you can take to improving Yorkshire pudding and popovers.");
  • Starting with colder batter gives denser, more cup shaped; warmer batter gives taller, crispier with a hollow core;
  • Water added to milk gives a crisper pudding (not needed for skim/1% milk);
  • Hydration at least 200% and no more than 300% (266% in his recipe) - higher hydration gives "a pudding shaped cracker", lower gives deeper cupping;
  • Pre-heating muffin/popover tins not required, but essential for cast iron pans;
  • You can open the oven without ruining it;
  • Beef drippings are best.
  • 2
    The trouble with all those exposés & methodologies of 'best' Yorkies, is their version of 'perfect' wouldn't be eaten by anyone in Yorkshire, ever. it's like they took a traditional food away from its owners & made it a 'superstar'… all glitz & glitter, while completely forgetting what it was. btw, Yorkies are made in loaf tins, not muffin tins. – Tetsujin Jan 17 at 19:21
  • @Tetsujin I don't care what the residents of Hamburg think of my hamburgers. – Sneftel Jan 18 at 13:15
  • @Sneftel - yet try to get a Melton Mowbray pie from anywhere other than Leicestershire; Parmesan cheese, a Cornish Pasty etc… Sometimes, the natives of a region would like to hang onto their traditions, thank you very much, & not have them bastardised by "foreigners" [ie, anyone from Lancashire or beyond] ;) [In the past few years, all kinds of "It's not Cornish, honest guv, it's 'Country'" pasties have sprung up, since the name was protected.] – Tetsujin Jan 18 at 13:27
  • @Sneftel More details added (I was on a tight schedule when I answered). – wumpus D'00m Jan 19 at 14:47
  • @Tetsujin I don't necessarily disagree (just think of Caesar salads - no anchovy, cooked eggs, and effin' bacon bits). However, with traditional recipes, it seems there is often more variation and in-fighting amongst the traditional practitioners than adopting outsiders! – wumpus D'00m Jan 19 at 14:54
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I've been making Yorkies, as a 'true-born native Yorkshireman' * for 40 years & often think "dammit, I've only got extra-large eggs this week… wonder how the Yorkies will turn out".

Oddly, they almost always turn out the same.

As a joke, maybe 20 years ago I actually wrote my Yorkie recipe on the inside of the cupboard door. It's still there, though a bit smudged these days.

enter image description here
I'm aware this isn't really 'evidence', I could have written it 5 minutes ago & smudged it ;)
…though note it's in fl oz, which I haven't actually used in decades.

  • 3oz flour
  • 3fl oz milk
  • 2fl oz water
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

It's been commented on by the family so many times it's become a joke in itself - "How big is the egg?"

So far, it's never really mattered. The egg is as big as an egg, the Yorkies come out the same almost every time. If they don't, I will blame my oven temperatures.

To counter-flag some points made by wumpus

  • Let it rest - I usually find 2-4 hours enough, never made them the day before, ever.

  • I leave it at room temperature, not refrigerated

  • Never tried varying the mixture, except for the 'how big an egg' joke.

  • always pre-heat as hot as the oven will go, until the oil smokes [have to have finished everything else & just have an empty oven plus tins. Pre-heat tins, add the oil & leave another 5 mins til it smokes].

  • Never open the oven before they're ready - they will slump. This is probably more important in traditional loaf tins rather than weeny bun-trays.

  • Used to use beef dripping, it was best. Now use some kind of veg oil [even olive oil though it smokes earlier], still OK. Changes flavour but not texture.

*This does not imbue mystical powers, it only feels like it should ;)

  • I still have my granny's [Hutton Rudby], tin blue-n-white enamel pie-dish, for mine.. doesn't quite work in anything else.. – Robin Betts Jan 20 at 10:57
  • Thanks @Tetsujin ! Your recipe would be the one with the lowest 'hydration' and lowest Egg/Flour ratio among the ones I looked at. Egg = 18%, Flour = 31%, Milk = 31%, Water = 21%, Egg/Flour = 0.59. There's a post from a guy who used DOE (!) to study this, but he only reported the design, not the results, as far as I could see. – user6376297 Jan 21 at 19:30
  • How big is the egg? – Tetsujin Jan 22 at 7:24
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    @Tetsujin I find somehow amazingly the mixed sized boxes never have any large ones in them, puzzling hey – WendyG Jan 23 at 15:26
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    @WendyG - yeah, marketing speak won't let them say 'mixed, but all on the small side' ;-) – Tetsujin Jan 23 at 15:36

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