Frying batters require aeration to create a light crisp texture, this can be achieved in different ways by the use chemical aeration (Baking Powder) mechanical aeration (Beaten Eggs) or fermentation (Usually Yeast or Beer)
This recipe is a fermented batter using yeast, which does not seem to be used by many chefs these days. but provides a superior aeration that you won’t find in any other batter, modern-day dried yeast is excellent, and I never carry fresh yeast on-board any more.
This batter has a good flavour and crisp texture and retains its crispness well on the counter providing it is cooked at a suitably high temperature. An important factor with any batter is ensuring that the batter is cooked at the right temperature, which is at around 180⁰C, in order to seal the outside of the batter. Failure to fry at a suitably high temperature will result in a greasy oily batter. So, don’t overload the fryer as this will cool the oil down too much.
Another key point is that your fish should be fried to meet the flow of the crew entering the messroom, you can’t fry 50 portion of fish and expect the batter to stay crisp for a prolonged period in a hot cupboard.
Different vessels with different numbers of crew and the size of your fryer, I have fried fish for just 12 crew on a supply boat, for 100 crew and clients on a Dive Support Vessel, and fried 300 fish on a cross channel ferry, in less than 2 hours.
The important point on all these vessels was serve the fish as freshly cooked as possible we want the batter crisp, as a battered fish sits on the counter or in a hot cupboard moisture from the fish inside the batter is slowly softening the batter, this is what we are trying to avoid so that customer can enjoy crisp hot freshly fried fish.
Fish Batter (Fermented Yeast Batter)
- 1500 grams Flour
- 60 grams Yeast
- 5 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 2.5 litres Water
- Yellow Food Colour Optional
- Mix all dry ingredients together and add the water whisking until smooth.
- There should be no lumps in your batter(Tip;-Put it through the Robot-Coupe, to remove lumps the batter goes really smooth)
- Put your batter in an oversize container as the batter will more than double in volume, Cover the container and leave on the bench to ferment in a warm galley you can expect the batter to have doubled in volume after about 30 minutes.
- When ready to cook the fish prepare a bowl of seasoned flour and dip the fish into the flour and then into the batter.
- As you remove the fish from the batter gently remove any excess batter by dragging the fish against the side of the tin on both side of the fish fillet.
- Gently lower each piece of fish into the hot frying oil one by one allowing the batter to seal before letting go. If you drop the fish into the fry it might stick to the bottom of the fryer and also splash you with hot oil.
- Allow the fish to fry until a suitable golden brown, pick out of the oil and allow to drain, although my personal opinion is that fish is suitable to eat once it reached 65°C when cooking onboard ship I take fish up to 75°C in the interests of food safety.
- Serve with Lemon and Tartar sauce.