Batter. Dough. Both are stages in the baking process, and both tend to yield tasty treats. But what exactly is the difference between batter and dough?
Anecdotally, most people tend to refer to more liquid concoctions as "batter" and more solid mixtures as "dough". We tend to refer to each for certain dishes: cookies and pie crust are made from dough, whereas cakes are made from batter. But when does batter become dough, exactly? Is there a rule which governs baking mixtures?
Could a cookie ever be made from batter, or could cake ever be made from a dough?
As it turns out, a bit of internet research and delving into baking reference books reveals that yes, batter and dough are different. And as you might suspect, it has to do with moisture content.
If you're a professional baker, you might already be aware that there are official ratios. This document I found online detailed them:
See? It's a ratio thing. According to this, the more flour that is added, the more firmly planted a recipe is in "dough" territory. 1 part liquid to one part flour is definitely batter; 1 part liquid to 2 parts flour is a firmer batter, but definitely still batter; once you start adding more flour, it transcends the barrier into dough territory.
Well, that answers that--there are rules!
Still, this document doesn't answer every batter versus dough question. Can we assume that the "flour" here can be translated as "dry ingredient" for other, harder to classify recipes? For instance, coconut macaroons (some types are made with coconut, condensed milk, and eggs, no flour in sight)...or what about homemade candy corn (confectioners' sugar gives it a sturdy, dry texture that I refer to as "dough" in my recipe).
And what of recipes for confections such as meringues? Is that just a "mixture", or would it be ok to call it a "batter"?
Also, here's one final one for thought: though bread is definitely made with dough, what about the brief phase when you're adding wet ingredients...is it, for a few minutes, batter?
I don't have the answers to the above, but welcome your comments, my sweet readers!
Can batter and dough ever be combined?
Well, duh. Of course. Stuff your cupcakes with cookie dough and you'll find out how wonderful the combination can be! I helpfully have a recipe right here for you (what can I say, I live to give). If you like the idea of that recipe, I should say that I also have a recipe for cinnamon rolls (dough) stuffed with cookie dough. That's a double dose of dough, but it's good for what ails you.