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You may have noticed that the typical popover recipe contains no baking powder, baking soda, or yeast to make the popovers rise. So, what makes them "pop over"?
Basic popovers are made with eggs, milk, and flour. The batter is thin enough to be pourable, about as thick as heavy cream.
The high proportion of liquid in the batter creates steam that causes the popovers to puff up like the popover pictured below. The conversion of the liquid in the batter to steam is dramatic. One part liquid converts to 1600 parts steam. The egg protein causes the popover batter to stretch, hold the steam and solidify to form crusty walls.
The popover pictured below has been split open. You can see that it is hollow inside.
Note: You may notice that some recipes called 'popover' still have baking powder or baking soda. These recipes sometimes have more egg in the recipe than will rise well without additional leavening. You can also fill the popover cups fuller if you use baking powder or baking soda.
Click here for more information about popovers.
Knowing this helps the cook understand how to bake popovers successfully. Click here to find out what you need to get started.
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