Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Beat Egg Whites

A number of recipes (especially desserts) would require egg whites to be beaten into various levels of peaks.  You may come across recipes (like this Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe) that would ask for stiff peaks, soft peaks, curling peaks and what not. If that sounds confusing, this may help. I have tried to list down all the degrees of beating egg whites and what they mean and how they should look like. If you get this part right, be rest assured that the rest of your dessert is going to be a cakewalk :)

Beating egg whites

  1. Using a glass/steel bowl (do not use plastic since they retain fats even after washing which will break the texture of the egg whites).
  2. To stabilise the egg whites, you can mix a little lemon juice (1/8 of a lemon for 2 eggs) or a little tartar sauce.
  3. Whisk with an automatic or manual churner.
  4. The egg whites will first start to foamstage 1.
  5. If you keep mixing, the froth with start to stabilise, and if you remove the whisk (or you can use a spoon) the egg whites will form long peaks that will bend over and curl – stage 2. This stage is usually called soft peaks or curling peaks.
  6. If you keep whisking still, when the whisk is removed the peaks will be shorter, stiffer and more shinystage 3. This stage is called stiff peaks.
  7. If you keep beating the whites, it will start to stiffen still and turn into lumps and the liquid will separate out stage 4. There is no turning back from this stage and the only solution is to start with fresh eggs again.

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