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Apr 15, 2009 02:30 AM

Does putting butter directly in the food keep it from sticking?

When frying foods such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc, I always put the butter in the hot pan before adding the food. However, I've noticed recently a few chefs saying that putting the butter directly in the mix helps to keep it from sticking. For example, was watching a Nigella programme the other night and she put a big slab of butter right into her pancake mix saying it would keep them from sticking. Gordon Ramsey does the same thing with scrambled eggs. Does this actually work? And do you still need butter in the pan as well?

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  1. Well, adding ice cold butter to eggs that are being scrambled the French way helps to retard curd development, which is the real point of that technique.

    1. crepe recipes call for butter in the batter,does make a difference regarding sticking

      1. Famed Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme mixes his mirepoix and other diced ingredients with oil, then puts them in a preheated, dry pan. He says this uses way less oil and does a better job preventing sticking. He appears to be using carbon steel pans. Having read Harold McGee's writings in regard to the way oil migrates to the sides of a hot pan, leaving the center bare, I can see why Prudhomme pre-mixes oil and food. But I don't think putting a knob of butter into cold pancake mix would work; scrambled eggs yes, because stirring distributes the melting butter. I put oil in my pancake batter rather than the pan, since I don't want crusty pancakes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Ooooh, I sometimes love those crusty pancakes... with a little powdered sugar, just like a funnel cake. But that's off topic... sorry. :)

          1. re: greygarious

            I believe in the Nigella video I saw, she put melted butter into the pancake mix to keep them from sticking. Same principal as the eggs I guess but I would have thought that adding butter to the actual mix would change the taste of the pancakes more than simply greasing the pan with the butter would have.

          2. This calls for further investigation!

            I have been known to throw more butter into the eggs if they start to stick, but I usually start out with a tiny bit of butter anyway. Pancakes I have an electric griddle that works butter-free but they don't brown up that way, so I rub the surface with a buttered paper towel and they come out just how we like them.