How to cook traditional Breton crepes
On this website, you have already discovered my super recipe for lump-free crepe batter.
After a well-deserved rest, your batter is ready for cooking: Let's get down to business.
What is a traditional French crepe?
Here is a very personal definition: it's a thin and colored crepe, soft in the center and cripsy on the edges, which was cooked with slightly salted butter.
You may have noted that I haven't mentioned filling – because at the end of the day the gist of things is not about filling. The real crepe lover will choose a sweet crepe, probably even a plain crepe. It is how the real taste of the batter and the perfect cooking can be assessed. If you add dark chocolate for instance, the taste of it is bound to cover that of the batter, and you will not taste the crepe but… the chocolate itself.
Slightly salted butter is not optional, it's a core ingredient when cooking a crepe. And it is present whatever the type of filling.
How to instantly identify a crepe that is not traditional?
- 1/ The cooking doesn't involve slightly salted butter
And I'm talking about true butter cooking, not the quick last-minute brush of melted butter added right before serving as a sham.
- 2/ The crepe chef gives more than two turns of spreader to spread the batter
In reality, to make thin crepes, what is needed is liquid batter. At 200 degrees C, the cooking of the batter is instantaneous, thus mechanically preventing the spreader from turning more than twice. Except if the batter is thick 🙁
- 3/ The crepe chef uses his hand to turn over the crepe
If he/she does so, it is because the crepe is heavy. And if it's heavy…
- 4/ The crepe takes more than 3 minutes to cook
Either there's too much batter, or the temperature isn't high enough. And if ever the batter is thin, the crepe will be dry.
- 5/ The color is even
An even color is due to of the sugar added in the batter. That is impossible with butter cooked at 200 degrees C: you get dots, bubbles, waves, and contrasts.
An evenly colored crepe cannot be crispy on the edges.
Now you know what you should do. So… action!
What follows is valid only for cooking with a professional crepe machine (electric or gas) equipped with a cast-iron griddle.
The steps are as follows:
- 1/ Wash your hands and put on the apron,
- 2/ Cover a table with aluminium foil so as to make the after-cooking cleaning easier,
- 3/ Install the crepe maker and steady it with a cardboard wedge if necessary so the griddle stands in a perfectly horizontal position,
- 4/ Arrange in the shape of a cross the following elements (for right-handed person):
- top left-hand corner: the large batter bowl with a ladle inside,
- top right-hand corner: the container in which the spreader is dipped in cold water,
- bottom right-hand corner: the greasing pad in a small plate with a yoke and some sunflower oil. This mixture avoids any sticking of the batter to the crepe machine.
- bottom left-hand corner: slightly salted butter on a small plate, a silicon brush and a knife.
- 5/ Plug in the crepe machine and set it on 200 degrees C/392 degrees F,
- 6/ Control the dilution of the batter, as it has thickened during resting time,
I generally add 250cl of milk based on my crepe batter recipe.
The steps are as follows:
- 1/ Wipe the griddle with the greasing pad and the yoke/oil blend,
- 2/ Hold the spreader between the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger,
- 3/ Pour at 10 o'clock a full ladle of crepe batter and immediately put the ladle back into the bowl,
- 4/ Stretch the batter by making circles down to 4 o'clock. Once in this position your elbow will be blocked by your chest. Pivot on your left side in a 90 degree angle and resume the same movement to complete the disc of batter,
- 5/ Melt a chunk of butter on the whole surface of the galette and push it with the silicon brush. Insist on the rim of the crepe, where the batter is thinner (and logically crispy once cooking is completed),
- 6/ Present the middle of the spatula under the right side of the crepe and turn twice towards the right hand side. The spatula will slide under the crepe on 1/3rd of its width,
- 7/ Raise the crepe with the blade of the spatula positioned horizontally and flip the left edge of the crepe onto the right edge of the griddle,
- 8/ Softly slide the crepe from right to left,
- 9/ Garnish,
- 10/ After about 60 seconds, check the cooking and the color of the crepe,
- 11/ If the crepe is done, fold it in two, then in three so as to form a triangle,
- 12/ Serve the crepe on a plate holding it by its pointed end with the spatula,
- 13/ Now, it's party time: confettis and streamers, crazy wild music, Insta moments and champagne. Huh... cider rather, obviously!