Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Whipping egg whites is a pretty easy task once you get the hang of it. I had to whip many egg whites by hand in culinary school. Yes, my right arm is much stronger then my left as a result of this! I will also never forget the nightmares of "souffle day" which did not involve a mixer.
Whether you are making a meringue, souffle, or genoise cake the best possible aeration is important for any recipe. Hopefully these tips will help all of you to whip up soft or stiff peaks without any disasters. Remember be careful to not over whip!
Do you have any egg white failures? Do you normally use a mixer or whip them by hand?
- Older & room temperature: it may sound crazy, but try not to use very fresh eggs as the older whites whip much better. (Nothing that is expired or spoiled!)
- Separating eggs: when separating the eggs be very careful not to get any yolk into the egg whites. Even a speck of the fatty yolk can inhibit aeration.
- Copper: use copper if you can as this results in a much more stable foam. Copper contains a reactive sulfur groups that bond readily with molecules within egg whites. In a copper bowl some of the egg whites molecules bond with the copper and stabilize the egg foam, preventing it from becoming grainy or losing volume.
- Acid: adding a small amount of acid like cream of tartar or lemon can also reduce any destabilizing.(Acids have similar properties to copper) We also used to add a pinch of salt in culinary class. Coincidentally most copper pots/pans are cleaned with salt and/or lemon.....
- Start slow: in a mixer it's very easy to turn your head and quickly over beat your egg whites, creating a separated grainy mess. Start the mixer on slow to break down the whites and increase to medium speed.
- Clean: always use a very clean bowl and whisk (or whisk attachment). Any fat will prevent aeration and just make the job more difficult.
- Do not over mix: even after you have formed perfect soft or stiff peaks there is still some room for error. When mixing your egg whites into a batter or with other ingredients fold the mixture as little as possible. It is okay if there are some streaks you do not want to deflate all that hard work!