Has anyone got a foolproof method for Yorkshire Puddings? With the recipe I have they never seem to rise properly.
While using a hot oven and keeping the tin hot while filling are both critical elements, equal concern needs to be taken with making sure that your batter is at room temperature. If the eggs and milk aren't room temp to even slightly warm, then it will take a significant amount of heat to simply warm the batter in the pan before significant steam can build for their expansion.
You can warm eggs quickly by placing the whole egg (in shell) in a bowl and covering with hot water from the tap. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and you'll have room temperature/warm egg. Milk can simply be microwaved to only slightly warm (not hot, or you'll cook the eggs).
You might also try using bread flour. Here in the south all-purpose flour has a lower gluten content than most other all-purpose flour in the US and it's also bleached to weaken the gluten content that's there. I've recommended to guests of mine that have had issues with popovers not rising that they try bread flour and I've heard positive responses following the use of bread flour. Bread flour will also have a bit more flavor and produce more browning from the additional protein.
The key to making Yorkshire puddings rise is immediate heat. To achieve this you need to use a preheated oven at around 220 C (425f) and the oil in the Yorkshire pudding tin needs to be at almost smoke point, Around 180c.
Don't hang about getting the baking tin into the oven, as soon as each well is filled, quickly place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
The fact is that one amazing person has actually tested all of the various variables for what makes the best Yorkshire puddings and wrote it all up... and the reality is, most of the advice in the other answers doesn't matter one jot... and even if none of it is followed, one still gets "passable" Yorkies.
After dozens of tests and hundreds of puddings, I have some good news for you: It's nearly impossible to mess up a Yorkshire pudding (despite the fact that I managed to back in my fraternity chef days). You can play with the ratio of ingredients every which way and still end up with a batter that rises tall. You can bake it in any type of pan you'd like. You can rest the batter or bake it fresh. You can chill it or leave it out at room temperature. Heck, you can even break the cardinal rule of Yorkshire puddings and pour the batter directly into a cold tin [provided it's not a cast iron skillet]. Break every one of these rules and your puddings will still puff and turn out light and crisp.
It's certainly too long to include here but the overall results for various testing categories:
- Warmer batter will create taller, crisper puddings with a more hollow core
- Colder batter will create denser puddings with a more distinct cup.
Your puddings will come out slightly higher and better-shaped with a hot tin, but it's not the end of the world if you forget to preheat it. (Just don't try it in a full-sized skillet.)
This was what the tester determined made the largest difference in the quality of the finished product:
I'm going to say this: Resting your batter is the single most important step you can take to improving Yorkshire pudding and popovers. Not only do they come out taller, they also come out much tastier, with a more complex, toasty flavor. Non-rested-batter puddings taste positively flat (literally and figuratively) next to rested-batter puddings.
I'd go so far as to say that resting at least overnight is essential if you are really after the best.
Ratio of Yolks to Whites
He does admit that adding extra yolks makes richer Yorkshire Puddings... but he's not sure that's what he really wants:
The more yolks you add to your puddings, the more rich, tender, and custardy they become. The more whites you add, the taller and crisper they puff.
Thankfully, I found that whole eggs gave the most desirable results. Still plenty tall, but not so lean that they become dry.
Is it OK to open the oven?
Yes. Opening the oven does not in any way harm your puddings.
I baked batches of puddings side by side in two identical ovens. One I monitored carefully through the glass door in the soft orange glow of the oven light. The other I opened up every few minutes to peek along at its progress. (I have two ovens and only one working oven light, so this actually worked out quite well for me.) With the latter, I even took the risk of rotating the tray a few times during baking.
Both batches rose just fine and equally tall.
There are a ton of other factors that he tested but these seemed to be the most commonly addressed. I strongly encourage anyone interested to take a look at the rest of the article. And, if you want to know what his "ultimate" method and recipe is, it can be found here.
The key to getting them to rise I think is having very hot oil and a very hot oven.
I tend to heat the oil in the oven first, but whilst I am pouring the mix in I put the tray on the heat on the hob to ensure the oil stays hot, otherwise it can tend to go cool in the first ones whilst I'm filling the other ones.
The most important part of getting a good rise is the way that you pour the batter in the the tray. You must pour a thin stream directly in to the middle of the tray circle.
Heat the oil
1) Turn the oven on to 200 degrees centigrade and place a rack in the top half of the oven
2) Put oil in to the Yorkshire pudding trays circles and place in the oven
Make the batter
1) To a bowl add 140g of plain flour and 4 medium eggs and whisk by hand for 30 seconds
2) Add 200g of milk to the same bowl and whisk by hand for 1 minute
4) 10 minutes later whisk by hand for 1 minute
5) 10 minutes later whisk by hand for 1 minute
Filling the tray
1) Remove the hot tray of oil from the oven, place on a flat surface and close the oven door.
2) Pouring the batter THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP - Ladle 60g of batter in to a small cup because its easier control the batter flow with a small cup. Then very gently pour the batter exactly in the middle of the circle in a thin stream. If you slosh the batter in then you will not get the Yorkie crowns that you desire.
3) Open the oven door and very very gently pick up the tray and place it on the rack. You do not want to ruin the structure of the batter that you have just carefully poured in.
4) Close the oven door and DO NOT OPEN IT for 18 minutes.
I've done quite a few experiments (statistically designed using DoE software, in case you're interested) on optimizing rise in yorkshire puddings now and I can tell you it's not necessary to preheat anything.
I know this because it was not possible to guarantee uniformity across my trial puddings this way without the whole thing taking ages. So I just put the mixture into the pan cold and everything rose perfectly well.
The recipe I ended up with which has yet to let me down is to have equal quantities (by weight) of flour, egg, water and milk. I therefore start by weighing the egg then adjusting the other quantities to match. With an electric whisk it's possible to mix everything together although I tend to do eggs, flour then liquid.
A little fry spray in the tin should be sufficient to prevent sticking. Then it's 15-30 mins at 200C according to your preference and the overall volume - one big one will of course need longer.
I'm actually about to do another round (definitive screening design rather than the more traditional response surface model) so we'll see how that works. I can say quite categorically that pre-heating tins, warming ingredients and sifting flour are not necessary for good rise and I (plus various others) find the taste and texture of puddings made this way to be quite satisfactory although I can imagine some people may have more specific requirements which are not catered for by this particular recipe.
Next round will involve more assays - I only measured height in the first set, this time I'm planning to measure height, mass and absorption of a standardised gravy in a set time as possible responses of interest.
I mix 4-5 heaped table spoons of plain flour with 2 large eggs. I mix these together in the hope I get a thick mixture that's quite stiff, if it's still a bit runny I'll add some more flour. Then I add whole milk to get a batter. The aim here is to keep adding milk so that I can use a hand whisk to get air into the batter, without the air bubbles quickly rising to the top and leaving the batter. If you use a hand whisk rather than a fork you'll do a better job of finding how much milk you need.
Once all that's done I oil the pudding tray and place it on a hob until the oil is smoking. Because the heat won't have distributed evenly, I then turn the hob off for 20 seconds or so, and then give it another blast.
The oven is usually pretty warm by this point as the chances are I've just removed a roast chicken from it. I turn it to 200C.
I quickly give the batter one more whisk to try and get more air into it, and then I pour the mixture in the tray, place it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.
Don't open the oven during this time.
They always rise.
They also always stick to the tray, so I'm going to try greasing with something other than vegetable oil, I may skip the heating the tray step as well to see the effect that has.
With all due respect, I wonder how much experimentation folks here have done with getting the oil/oven very hot and the ingredients not too cold.
The problem I've had historically is the stuff sticking to the pan when cooked (I always make big ones, can't be doing with those small ones made in fairy cake tins!). So in recent times I've switched from a metal baking tray to silicone cake pans.
For example, I made toad in the hole this week. Basic pancake batter (3 eggs, 90g flour, half pint of milk, two pinches of salt), whisked until the lumps disappear (i.e. no attempt to make it 'voluminous'). Batter is in the oven perhaps 10 minutes after the milk had come out of the fridge (i.e. not exactly room temperature, I imagine). Two silicone cake pans (one per greedy person!), each with a dash of olive oil and a small knob of butter, on a metal baking tray into a fan oven set at 160 C (don't know the actual internal temperature). After three minutes, put the tray on a (unheated) surface, add the browned sausages, pour in the batter (by this time the oil has cooled somewhat, right?), then back in the oven. Stays in the oven for about 20 minutes, during which time I've opened the oven to retrieve the squash that is starting to burn and again to return the squash to the oven to warm (i.e. the oven door has not been closed throughout). Pudding has risen and the risen bits are brown and crisp, the bottom is somewhat less crisp. Situation normal, results just how I like it.
It seems from other answers here I'm doing a lot 'wrong'. Yet my results are always to my satisfaction. Now, it could be that I haven't had the 'real stuff' so don't know what I'm missing or I have bad taste etc. But I don't think anyone can say that mine do not "rise reliably" (which is what the question asks)!
Ok, I'm and ex chef and I cheat. I use batter that has been electrically whisked with one egg and to a consistency of single cream and, here's the cheat, half a teaspoon of baking powder! I leave the batter covered in the kitchen to get lose its fridge-milk chill and develop the gluten for about an hour before use. Also its critical to use generous amounts of oil in the pan (whether for yorkshire puddings or toad in the hole or just batter pudding) and get it just smoking hot before you add the batter max. This will 'seal' a thin layer of batter mix before it has a chance to stick to the pan! Leave enough space above the pan because you might get a surprise on the rise!
I use a heavy oven safe ceramic pan which I preheat at 220 C / 425 F. I also allow the pudding batter to come to room temperature. This preheating of the ceramic works every time. Preheat a pyrex or corningware shallow pan. Once it is preheated pour in the oil or drippings, they will start smoking, the immediately pour in the batter and put it in the oven. After 15 minutes, turn down the heat to 160 C 325 F for another half hour. You will be very pleased by the result.
You need equal amounts (volume) eggs (yes eggs) milk and plain flour. If you wish to make them a little lighter use 3/4 milk then a quarter water to the equal volume. I use on average 4 to 5 eggs, depending on how many I am catering for but a 12 hole bun tin I use a mug of eggs, mug of milk/water and a mug of plain flour plus a good pinch of salt. I use trex as my fat and get it smoking hot in an oven at 230c at least. I would put the shelve down from the highest as I have trouble getting the at least 5 inch risen puddings out of the oven. It must be plain flour (no baking powder).
There are 3 keys to successful yorkshire puddings -
1/ High temperature oven.
Yorkshire puddings rise due to quick cooking of the flour and steam being formed in the batter mixture, hence the requirement of a very hot oven and hot oil as you pour the batter into the yorkshire pudding tin. Once the yorkshire pudding has risen and is nearly done you can move it to the lower shelf to finish.
2/ Light mixing hand
Use a light hand when mixing the batter. Don't beat it into oblivion! Allow some air to remain within the mixture and ensure the flour is sifted first, this isn't a pancake mix.
3/ Let it rest
Let the batter rest for 30 mins or so before adding it to the pan and into the oven.
I have tried to get my puddings to be fail proof and now I'm almost there. I agree with the above answer.
I use 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of eggs (4/5 depending on size), 1 cup low fat milk, and a pinch of salt. I do not use oil, I use drippings like my grandad use to use, or the fat off the meat in the baking dish. I heat the oven full blast (I have fan forced). When the fat is smoking hot, I pull the shelf out but don't take the pan out and I fill the muffin tin with the batter from a plastic jug, then I close the door. They begin to rise quite quickly. When they are golden colour, I turn the oven down to about 200deg and cook till a nice brownish golden. It takes about 20 mins. Also. I open the oven during cooking and turn the pan as my daft oven browns on one side quicker than the other. This does not affect them at all. Also, I leave my batter for about 2 hrs or even overnight, but take it out of the fridge a few hours before I need it so its room temp. I do not sift flour either, it makes no difference. I put the flour in a bowl with eggs and mix to a smooth paste, then I add the milk and use a hand electric beater for about 1 min. Also, I give it another blast with the beater just before I put them in the tins to get some air into the mix. You must have a hot oven and smoking fat almost.
The part of the method which most answers sidle up to but never fully address is, I believe, the key to a good rise, assuming that your recipe is reasonably standard, the baking tray hot etc.
The fat in the tray/pan doesn't just need to be hot, it also needs to be of generous depth and to be swirled up the sides of the pan.
A properly risen Yorkshire Pudding or Toad in the Hole is high at the edges and leaving a depression in the centre which is crispy on the outside but with a softer upper layers which is closer, for the lack of a better description, to the consistency of an English pancake/crepe.
If the sides of the baking pan are not thoroughly and liberally coated with the fat, the outer edges of the pudding seem to 'catch at the edge and be held down by that friction, which pushes the rise to the centre of the pudding, resulting in a more cake-like domed shape. (on a Toad in the Hole, this is why they occasionally rise like a slightly enthusiastic focaccia and eject the sausages.
And the reason you need a lot of fat is because that helps the it to keep its heat instead of being cooled by the batter.
So, plenty of fat (lard or goosefat for preference due to high smoke point) and swirl the pan before you pour the batter.
I use the 200 ml method....2-3 eggs depending on size...that usually gives me 200 ml or 2 dl...then the same amount of milk and flour...mix the egg and milk first, (best if both are room temp not straight from the fridge) then sift in the flour whilst whisking. I never salt mine as I have found they tend not to rise as well if you do. I butter my yorkie tray, the whole cups not just the bottom....a knob of butter rubbed into each cup (yes I use real butter in mine)and put it in the oven usually at about 220 then pour the batter into the cups once it is smoking hot and stick it back in for 15-20 min or until they have risen and are golden. Never open the oven door whilst they are cooking as they may collapse on you. One hack to making your puddings really rise is to add another extra egg white when you wisk. I have also found that preparing the batter an hour or so in advance and leaving it to sit (room temp again) until it goes in the trays work really well. My friend always adds a dash of baking powder to hers and they rise very well but I have not tried this myself..
I use one cup plain flour, 3/4 cup of milk, 2 eggs, salt & pepper, then approx 3/4 cup water depends consistency of batter, use hand whisk, leave to stand at least hour, heat tin with lard until smoking (I use 12 tray but works bigger tins too) this recipe works brilliant everybody loves them, about 200 oven approx 20 mins.