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I tried making funnel cakes this weekend.

The recipes I looked at were all very similar, basically pancake batter that is deep fried. I used this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/funnel-cakes-recipe-1947494

Instead of AP flour I used whole wheat.

I expected that the stream of batter would fry into a mass of crispy snakes as I recognize a funnel cake to be. Instead, when the batter was drizzled into the oil, it fractured into a million tiny drips. The result was more like crispy rice than funnel cake.

I tried cooler oil at 300F and hotter oil at 365F. I tried drizzling through thicker or thinner orifices. I tried letting it stream longer and shorter (more and less batter). In every case the result was the same. The batter practically exploded.

I realize that whole wheat flour has more fiber and less available protein than AP. In other recipes, I've only ever had that make minor differences in texture.

Was the flour substitution enough to precipitate this calamity or is there some other factor I should consider?

I will try again someday. At the moment I'm kind of put off the whole experiment.

  • I should have taken a picture but I was, in the moment, preoccupied with my frustration. – Sobachatina Jan 31 '18 at 2:10
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    On the bright side, you might've found an easy way to make whole wheat spaetzle (well, really, really small ones) – Joe Sep 24 '18 at 17:23
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The whole wheat may be your issue. Try adding at least half AP flour or bread flour, which are both better at forming glutinous strands that will keep everything sticking together. If you want to stick to 100% whole wheat flour you could try adding an extra egg to help bing everything together.

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    My thought was gluten development, too. It's possible that letting it sit longer might help (like in no-knead breads), but I suspect the shards of bran are going to mess things up. – Joe Sep 24 '18 at 17:22
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Your recipe has 3 cups or 375g of flour to one egg. The batter is a complex mixture of protein and starch (from the flour), fat and water (from the butter and milk) and sugar. The egg acts as an emulsifier. My guess is that after the change to wholewheat flour, which has more protein and absorbs more water than white flour, one egg is not sufficient to form an emulsion that remains stable in the deep fat fryer.

Other recipes on the web, for example allrecipes, bbcgoodfood and youtube, have ratios around 300g flour to two eggs.

Finally, measuring flour by volume is very hit-and-miss, because the act of scooping compacts the flour. So you might simply have had too much. It is much more accurate to weigh all the dry ingredients.

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    This is a good point that I hadn't thought of. A dryer batter will certainly tend to clump into small pieces more than sticky threads. – Sdarb Sep 24 '18 at 18:48

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