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Jan 11, 2010 05:06 PM

Question about batter

This is probably a silly question, but when making a batter for pancakes (in this case I am making ricotta pancakes) the instructions usually say to refrigerate the batter for a while (let it rest) before actually cooking the pancakes. Here's my question... After the batter has been refrigerated do I immediately pour it into the hot oil, or do I let it sit out a while to come to room temperature?
Also, if someone can explain to me the purpose of refrigerating the batter, that may help me understand this better.

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  1. The batter can sit either at room temperature or chilled. The purpose is to allow the flour to fully hydrate, so there are no remaining lumps once you give it a final stir, and to allow the leavening to start working - hence the bubbling of batters that have rested. This makes for lighter pancakes. You CAN use chilled rested batter without letting it warm up, but you'll have better temperature control if you take the chill off. I let batter rest at room temp for 20-30 minutes, and occasionally longer if I forget. I do not chill it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Yes, I don't bother chilling batter after making it, unless I'm not going to use it for a few hours. If I am going to use it right away, I let it rest for 20 minutes or so before using. I don't make pancake batter more than a few hours in advance, however, and never overnight.

      The leavening process starts as soon as the batter is mixed and the chilling slows that process down. Ideally, batters should be rested under refrigeration for that reason but I just don't bother. The batter will be better if it's not chilled when you cook with it.

      20-30 minutes is not going to make a big difference for leavening but will for hydrating the flour, as Grey points out, and will make a lighter pancake.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Thank you grey and bushwick SO much. It makes much more sense to me when I know WHY I am doing something.
        The suggestion that I don't even have to chill the batter in the refig is great news, as I live in a typical Manahattan apartment with an average-size refrig, and I often have to re-arrange the entire refrig to make room for a bowl with batter!!
        Thank you both!!

        1. re: bxgirl

          It's the same refrigerator situation in Brooklyn.
          Glad we (Grey and me) could help.