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My question is about the sequence/timing of adding the ingredients.

In all crepes recipes I have seen, eggs are added before the batter is mixed. I wonder if it would make sense to add them after.

Two possible advantages:

  1. I believe if eggs are mixed too much, whites can get a rubber-like texture. This is especially true when an electric mixer is used. Is this correct? Incorporating eggs at the last moment will allow using electric mixer (on milk and flour) without compromising the texture.
  2. Eggs are fresher when they are in their shell. I guess if the batter is left for 2-24h so that flour can absorb liquid, it does not gain much by absorbing egg, right? In this case, adding eggs shortly before baking will only have advantages (like increased food safety) and no disadvantages.

Yet, in all recipes, eggs are added in advance. What am I missing?

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  • Egg whites do get a foamy texture, but only if beaten without any yolk, like in a chocolate mousse May 19, 2021 at 14:12
  • While I think this is a nice and interesting question, I'm wondering why you don't just perform an experiment and try both at the same time? Don't you feel excited to see the results for yourself? With questions like this, I think that people will provide their best educated guesses which may be correct, but wouldn't it be great to find out for yourself? Cooking is an adventure and when it's as low-stakes as risking a couple of weird crepes, I would suggest trying it out and sharing the results in an edit or a separate answer ;-)
    – JohnEye
    May 19, 2021 at 21:53
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    Try it. What ingredients are in your crépe recipe and in how many different places might you add the eggs? Try them all and compare the results… May 19, 2021 at 23:30

2 Answers 2

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Your supposed advantages are not correct.

I believe if eggs are mixed too much, whites can get a rubber-like texture.

No, this is not correct. Are you thinking of gluten? That is the ingredient that gets tough with overmixing. So by that logic, you should be adding the flour last - but the whole point of recipes which are being held for a long time is to allow time for the starch in the flour to hydrate, and with the longer periods (you mention 24 hours), to allow for the building of slight sourdough flavors. So you cannot add flour last either - or you can, but then you don't need to keep the batter around. Anyhow, there is no change in toughness when you add eggs first.

Eggs are fresher when they are in their shell

They may be "fresher" by common sense understanding of the word, but by food safety rules, the two batters (the one with the eggs added before a rest, and the other with eggs after the rest) are equally safe. The food safety is not increased.

On the other side, if your suggestion is followed, there may be some slight disadvantages in handling. They are not so terrible as to make your suggestion unworkable, but together with the lack of advantages, they provide a good reason for recipes preferring early mixing.

A list of some of the disadvantages:

  1. Not only is it more convenient to only get out a whisk once, but there are also people who prefer to mix the eggs with the flour first because this is their preferred method against getting lumps,
  2. There are the recipes which require you to start with an egg and then adjust the consistency with incremental additions of flour and milk
  3. There is the slight effect of possibly less-well beaten egg diffunding better into the mixture during the resting period. Basically, if you want to go to the trouble of doing a resting period, whose purpose it is to get everything to settle together, you'd better add everything before you rest it.

I must say that personally, I actually do add "egg last", but that's more of a side effect of my method. I use a very simple recipe (only eggs, flour and milk) measured by weight. I whisk by hand, and I have noticed that I get the least lumps when I first whisk the flour with the milk. This automatically means that the eggs (separately stirred, without whipping) come in last. I don't rest my batter, so there is no question of adding it after the rest (and if I did rest, I would add it before the rest). So you see, egg last is not impossible, just like Willeke said, it just has no special advantages, and in some cases it comes with disadvantages.

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    To the point of gluten. Gluten "relaxes" during a rest, so stirring enough to incorporate the eggs just before making the crepes would likely add to the toughness by "re-activating" the gluten, so to speak. May 17, 2021 at 19:44
  • @Quasi_Stomach oh yes, the resting effect will go into that direction. I am not sure I would be able to spot the difference as an eater - crepe batter doesn't have much gluten development anyway, and the effect of slightly-stiffened gluten will be very modest. If the OP finds that her crepes are too tough due to too much gluten development, she would gain much more by not resting the batter than by paying attention to not stirring in the last moment.
    – rumtscho
    May 17, 2021 at 19:56
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    the remark about the food safety status of eggs is likely specific to the US, due to the practice of washing eggs, which removes their protective waxy coating. The fact this is not done elsewhere means eggs can be safely stored at room temperature in most of the world
    – Tristan
    May 18, 2021 at 9:08
  • @Tristan actually, that part doesn't matter. For the question, it is sufficient to compare the safety of a safely stored whole egg compared to safely stored batter made with egg, which is equivalent (=both are safe). The fact that "safely stored egg" entails different temperature in different contexts doesn't change the comparison or its conclusions.
    – rumtscho
    May 18, 2021 at 9:16
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    @KonradRudolph thanks, I simplified it now.
    – rumtscho
    May 18, 2021 at 16:14
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I have started to make pancakes, and we use a crepe recipe, only to notice I had forgotten to add the egg.

I next added the egg and made the pancakes.

It can be done, eggs last, but I see no advantage.

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