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I attempted choux pastry eclairs for the first time. The pastry came together after only a few seconds in the saucepan, I allowed it to cool before adding eggs one at a time, and mixture looked at the right consistency and was able to pipe. Yet the dough didn't rise at all in oven. I wondered whether I didn't beat enough air into mixture, and is there a general length of time and speed of mixer for beating; as this has occasionally happened in my sponge baking?

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    Hello Andy, welcome to the site! The generic "how do I get it to rise" question has been asked a lot here, so it would have been closed as a duplicate. I found your detail on wondering on the role of beating interesting, and it got a good answer, so renamed your question to focus on that. For the rising itself, see cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/9901. – rumtscho Mar 15 '17 at 9:49
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You have gotten a fundamental principle of the choux pastry wrong.

The rising and airiness is not caused by beating air bubbles into the batter, unlike with sponge cake and similar, but by trapping steam in the well formed network of gluten and egg in the batter.

The cooking step is not meant to just have the flour-water-fat mix come together, but to have the starch in the flour starting to gelatinize, i.e. develop the properties that bind pudding or roux. So you have to keep cooking and stirring the lump of batter until a white film forms on the bottom of your pot (assuming you are using stainless steel or similar, not a non-stick coated one). Without that, your batter won't be able to trap the steam created during baking, which forms those large holes characteristic of choux pastry.

There is no need to stir vigorously when adding the eggs, add them one at a time and stir only to incorporate them. Do not beat your batter, you would be doing more harm than good.

Apart from that, follow the usual advice and don't open the oven door during baking and you should be fine. You can add some extra steam by splashing some water into the oven, but that's optional.

  • Splashing water into the oven? How would that steam get into the choux? – Beta Mar 15 '17 at 22:44
  • @Beta not into, but it slightly delays the surface drying and thus setting. Like for bread, it can help with the expanding. – Stephie Mar 16 '17 at 5:11

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