Sammy the Seal

Attempted popovers, mostly successful

In delicious on Monday, 19 December, 2011 at 23:58

So I’d never heard of a popover before, but I wanted a quick roll-type bread product to go with soup,  as yeast baking is too time-consuming to attempt at 11 at night. Having read my science book, I thought it pretty interesting too, as these things are leavened entirely with steam, as you can see by the ingredients (the recipe is lifted from James Peterson’s Baking):

2 c flour
3/4 t salt
4 eggs
2 2/3 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
a few T vegetable oil

As far as pans go, I don’t have a popover pan (which are heavy, from what I understand), so I used to muffin pans nestled together. Combine flour, salt, eggs, and about half the milk, whisking until smooth, then whisk in the butter and the rest of the milk. The batter will be very thin. Pour into a pitcher, as filling the molds on the pan will require efficiency, and let the batter sit at room temperature about half an hour. While waiting, heat the oven to 500º (yes, that’s right). Put the pan(s) in the oven to heat for ten minutes before pouring in the batter. Not surprisingly, chunks of butter float to the top, so just stir before use. After the ten minutes, quickly (to keep the oven hot) take out the pan(s) and brush the molds with oil, let the oil heat before pouring in the batter to 3/4 full in each cup. Then bake for 20 minutes or until desired brownness is reached, then turn down heat to 300º for ten minutes. (Note: beware of fire alarms, as this produces lots of steam. My alarm went off several times, even with the vent running high.)

The “rolls” or whatever are light, tender, moist, and flaky, with a big poofy, amorphous shape for fun.  Since a popover is somewhat hollow, it doesn’t retain heat well, and can be eaten hot, and are best that way. (I ate three just before bed.). However, it’s fine cold. I nixed the soup idea, as it was fairly egg-y (and therefore breakfast-y), as you can see by the recipe, but if I’m ever someplace more well-ventilated or devoid of fire alarms, I’d like to try adding cheese, possibly some kind of breakfast meat. Honestly, it’s fine on its own, for something with no sugar nor flavoring, and barely any salt. But jam goes without saying, of course.

I thought it was kinda cool, as all leavening is due to steam/evaporation, which is why the batter is thin (lots of water = lots of steam) and the temperature is so high and the pans are heated before filling– to get all that water into vapor quickly, which expands the dough and helps it give it shape before escaping, leaving it somewhat hollow inside. (From what I understand, choux pastry works similarly.) Aside from going by time rather than the color of the bread (tsk tsk, shame on me, though in my defense, I was busy guarding the detector from going off), I overcooked them slightly, as you will see. Also, I filled the muffin cups nearly full, instead of 3/4, leaving me to clean out the oven floor afterwards. If I hadn’t filled them so full, I could’ve made maybe a half dozen more. Even after erring, I had enough batter left for say, three more. Though, I wasn’t about to go through this again for a mere three more, as it was already midnight.

Anyway, here they are, plus a close up of one, showcasing a neato, cavern-like tunnel, not unlike a seashell, in one of them. (You can actually see the holes in others too, in the wide shot.) They tasted great, though if only I had kept an eye on the color, they could’ve been visually as well as gustatorily satisfying, though I see this as far from failure. Sure, I was disappointed, but considering my lady likes breads that are dark/overly carbonized, I quickly mellowed and refrained from beating myself up:


I ate one.

popover inner sanctum 1

popover inner sanctum 2


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