Monday, October 24, 2011


In this age of cutting down on salt, it's very easy to forget adding the salt, especially since we think salt is only a flavor enhancer, added as a taste treat.  Little did Marash Girl know that salt was used for anything else, until her popovers didn't pop.  Here's what happened.  Visiting Staten Island Baby for the weekend, Marash Girl brought along her vintage popover pan (difficult to find them made of steel or cast iron, without the required by industry standard non-stick) and promised her cousin to make popovers for Sunday Breakfast.  And popovers she made.  In abundance.  She preheated the oven to 450 and began.

Batch #1. 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup unbleached white (wheat) flour, 2 eggs.  Ah . . . let's see . . . . . whoops!  It barely popped.  Why?  The eggs were fresh from the hen, and jumbo in size, eggs that Staten Island Baby had bought from the Farmer's Market the day before.  

Let's just make another batch, suggested Staten Island Baby.

Batch #2.  1 cup whole milk, 1 cup unbleached white (wheat) flour, 2 large eggs.  The popover pan was still hot from the previous batch.  Stir it up, divide the batter into 6 popover cups, and pop the pan into the 450 degree oven (which we reduced to 400 after 15 minutes, turning the pan around so that both sides got browned evenly).  Pop they did, a bit more, but still disappointing.  

Whatever could be the problem?  Could it be the altitude?  We were in Pittsfield, after all.  Oh, oh!  Marash Girl forgot to add the salt.  Could that have made the difference?  Oh,  yes, exclaimed Staten Island Baby.  Salt is a leavening agent!  Marash Girl had never heard that, and thought that salt was only for savor, but her cousin was definite about the matter.  Salt is a leavening agent.  Let's try it again with the salt, and with an already hot popover pan!!!

Popover experiment #3, this time with a dash of salt and a hot pan.  The result? Perfect popovers popped two times higher than the popover pan.  It always helps to have a scientist in the family!

By the way, if any of you have a cast iron popover pan for sale, or know of one, please let Marash Girl know.  She needs another one.  In keeping with the green movement, Marash Girl will save electricity and bake 12 popovers at a time rather than only 6, and everyone will be twice as happy!


  1. salt-rising bread was pioneered by American women in the early nineteenth century. due to its unique properties of fermentation, it imparted a cheesy like taste to the bread, and allowed for bread to be made without the use of yeast.

  2. Here are a few links to websites that talk about salt-rising bread.