Monday, 27 April 2009

Chickens & Eggs & Pancakes, oh my!

I recently saw a news report which said that 'large' and 'very large' egg sizes were uncomfortable and stressful for the hens. Even if you don't worry about animal welfare, you should be interested in this report because the other finding was that larger eggs are more watery and less tasty.

This struck a chord with me; we'd been buying larger eggs because they're cheaper, but I've often noticed that when I try to make fried eggs they come out quite runny and watery. I'd assumed I was doing something wrong.

So, this time we got smaller ones. I made pancakes, and found that using 2 'medium' eggs was just as good as using 2 'very large' eggs, so there seems to be something in the theory that they're more dense. You seem to get the same amount of 'egginess' (I know that's not really a word), but in larger eggs there's extra water to make up the volume. Makes sense when you think about it.

I tend to eat my pancakes just the way nature intended - with a light sprinkling sugar & lemon juice. My husband enjoys a wider variety of toppings including jam, orange juice, cherries & cream... not all at the same time though!

You can also make drop scones (smaller, thicker pancakes) by using about half the quantity of milk, and adding the mixture to the pan in small dollops.

Very Simple Pancakes
Makes about 10

8oz (225g) plain flour
2 eggs
1 pint (560ml) milk
sunflower oil (for frying)
  1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, and break in the eggs.
  2. Mix the egg into the flour, then add milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to ensure a smooth mixture (break up any lumps when you see them).
  3. Once all the milk has been added, whisk the mixture until it's nice and bubbly.
  4. Heat a frying pan with a little oil until the oil begins to smoke. I find that the best way to make sure the pancakes don't stick is to spread the hot oil around the pan with a square of kitchen roll (being careful not to burn fingers).
  5. Add a ladle-full of pancake mixture to the pan, and tilt the pan as necessary to evenly coat the base of the pan with pancake.
  6. Cook until bubbles begin to appear in the top of the pancake, then flip. This is your chance to show off if you're fancy about it, but I just use a spatula! The second side will cook in about thirty seconds.
  7. Add a little more oil and repeat from step 4, until you run out of mixture. I find it helps to give the mixture an extra whisk each time before adding to the pan.


GingerV said...

these look great - I will print and try them one Sunday with Camillo.

Chef E said...

I love it! May I use it for a link to next Monday's 'Monday's Mouthful' challenge? I am planning to make crepes and this would be a great tie in...I laughed when you said dodgy on my post yesterday...yeah that's hubby and I both 'dodgy' body parts all around :) Now I want pancakes...

Nicola said...

I was watching something on tv here a while ago, and they just said smaller eggs come from younger hens. Granted, it was a member of the egg industry that said that! However if the theory you heard is true, then it seems to me they do something 'special' to make them large or very large, which worries me more than whether the chicken is being harmed just at the particular time the egg comes out... I would look into it more, but sometimes you just don't want to know these things! I get small eggs anyway, which works better in halved recipes. I also buy free range because they are much nicer eggs and give a better result for things like omelettes.

Rachel Cotterill said...

GingerV - hope you like them. Blog the result?

ChefE - of course you can link it.

Nicola - I always get organic & free range. I have friends who keep chickens and their eggs all look fairly 'medium'. I may look into it more.

Bells said...

hey that's really interesting about larger eggs. I've been using 800g cartons of eggs for several years since Nigella Lawson got me onto them - she ALWAYS uses large eggs. I wonder if she's wrong....

Lynda said...

I never knew that about the size of the eggs, so now I know - thanks for sharing ! I'm with you ... no fancy toppings for me thanks (although my hubby loves them too) .... just a little (caster) sugar, lemon juice & perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon ... mmmmm - delicious !

Emmie said...

Ooooo Your recipe is so simple! I will have to try it! x

Domestic Executive said...

You can tell the size of the eggs to come by the amount of squarking there is in the hen house!

Savory Experiments said...

I think pancakes should be simple. To often people try to get too fancy. I think this recipe is just perfect!

Nicky Omohundro said...

I have 4 hens, 2 lay large eggs and 2 lay small-medium sized eggs. The size depends on the breed. I don't notice a difference when I add the smaller eggs to a recipe as compared to using the larger eggs.

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