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I've always made Yorkshire puddings and pancakes using a stick blender. I'll typically make the batter, leave it to stand for an hour or so and give it one last whizz about 5 minutes before pouring it into the tins/pan as appropriate.

My flatmate saw me making them for the first time, and was horrified. He thinks I should use a wooden spoon so I don't 'chop up' the gluten and affect the rise. My Yorkshire puddings always rise well and are light, so I'm tempted to stick to my easy speedy method.

My thoughts are that the gluten won't really have formed into chains when I first blend it, so there's nothing to chop up. I'm prepared to concede that it might in the second, but because it's a wet batter you don't really have the same sort of network as you would in a dough. I've looked at recipes and have found a few people (including Mary Berry and Delia Smith) who use an electric whisk, which I would think would also be quite robust, but I suppose it doesn't have blades in the same way.

So, is there any evidence that using a stick blender would

  1. Chop up the gluten?
  2. Make any difference to the final Yorkshire pudding/pancake?
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    He refuses to have a Yorkshire pudding competition to see whose are better, so if you have a good answer that agrees with me I'll use it next time he raises his eyebrows when I get the stick blender out! Aug 2 at 15:01
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    As a native Yorkshireman, i've always considered many of the recipe variants to be little more than voodoo. I make mine to the same recipe my dad used back in the 60's, which he got from his mum [+ as much recursion as is unnecessary, back towards the dawn of time;) Mine rise, his never did. He used a fork as a whisk. I got bored of that 40 years ago & have used a stick ever since. I see no practical difference, but I no longer need arms like Popeye. incidentally, I give mine 4 hours.
    – unlisted
    Aug 2 at 15:17
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    Chop up the gluten? I'm really not sure where he came up with that idea, but it's nonsense. Yorkshire pudding is an egg batter, gluten formation has almost nothing to do with it rising.
    – GdD
    Aug 2 at 15:24
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    @Tetsujin When I say "an hour or so", I really mean "arbitrary time from having time to make the batter to the time it needs to go into the oven"! But it is always at least an hour. Aug 2 at 15:27
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    Begin - Re @GdD 's comment. I'd consider gluten to be more like BluTack than a cardigan… or a lettuce. You can pull, squish, slice, cut, stamp on, or do whatever you like to BluTack… then it will just all stick back together again. A jumper or a Cos, on the other hand… maybe not. Water plus flour makes gluten, but I don't think you can cut it with scissors really;)
    – unlisted
    Aug 2 at 15:39
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As GdD and Tetsujin alluded to in the comments, Yorkshire pudding is an eggy, high-hydration batter that relies on steam for its rise - so gluten is not the main factor here.

From what I can tell, using a stick blender would not 'chop up' the gluten (and anecdotally I can think of recipes such as making seitan, where food processors and blenders are very commonly used at the start of a process to start developing gluten bonds). When it comes to gluten development, it seems like the most important factor with Yorkshire puddings is simply your rest time, as outlined here (also generally just a great article on the science of Yorkies). A long rest equals stronger gluten bonds. So if you were to alter any part of your recipe I would maybe suggest not whisking again after you rest your batter - or perhaps using something gentler like a hand whisk or even just a wooden spoon at that point if you really want to give the mix a stir.

Using a wooden spoon for the whole process seems like a poor substitution, because something that is important to a good Yorkshire pudding is to have a lump-free batter (I'm guessing this is because the batter is so light that lumps could inhibit the rise, or could form unwanted air pockets in the wrong places). So all things considered, I think switching to a wooden spoon would likely hurt your final product.

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    Totally agree. I use stick blenders myself for that as does my wife who makes an excellent yorkie. A quick stir before pouring is all you need, no second blast with a stick required.
    – GdD
    Aug 3 at 7:21

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