How to beat egg whites

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Norcalbaker59, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Bowl size matters

    Medium mixer bowl: 1 - 3 egg whites
    Large bowl: 4 or more egg whites


    Bowl: stainless steel or glass, thoroughly clean to ensure it is free at any oil residue


    Mixer: hand or stand mixer fitted with balloon whisk. Beating by hand is possible but it takes an extraordinary amount of work


    Egg temperature: separate eggs cold, then warm egg whites to 68°F ( 20°C) before whipping


    Acid: Cream of tartar stabilizes egg whites. Lemon juice or vinegar will also work, but can impart a taste. Use 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar per egg white.


    Salt: Salt will destabilize meringue, so it is not advisable to use it


    Sugar: sugar will increase volume and smoothness of meringue. However, it must be added gradually and only after the egg whites have been beaten to foamy stage and doubled in volume. Adding the sugar before bidding or too soon will result in lower volume


    =====================


    Separate eggs while are cold as it is easier so less chance of egg yolk getting into the egg white. Even a small amount of egg yolk into the whites can inhibit the ability of the whites to whip up. So care must be taken in separating the eggs.


    Leave egg whites on counter to warm to 68°F (20°C)


    Place egg whites in mixer bowl, beat on medium low speed for 30 seconds (#4 on a kitchenAid stand mixer)


    Add 1/8 level teaspoon cream of tartar per egg white


    Continue beating medium low (#4 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until egg whites are foamy and egg whites have double in volume


    If making a sweet meringue, begin to gradually pour in sugar.


    After sugar is added, increase mixer speed to high medium high (# 8 on KitchenAid)


    Continue beating until egg whites reach desired peak level

    Best egg whites 30 seconds before adding cream of tartar
    036385B6-986B-41E4-B6D1-E59AFA073134.jpeg

    Egg whites must be fill me in double in volume before adding sugar (photo from the Kitchn)
    1F774B52-026A-456A-856E-4DABBC2ECC3A.jpeg

    Different stages of whipped egg whites (sorry I don’t know where this photo is from to credit it)
    FB3F3B8F-026C-4139-BD76-875E3B9C3EE0.jpeg


    Stiff Peak
    45779944-14FF-487A-819C-35C9A4506A65.jpeg


    Firm Peak
    4FD98B3A-2EB5-42D9-905E-AC763A94E5F7.jpeg
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 29, 2019
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  2. Norcalbaker59

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    On Separating eggs (my advice): I like to have three bowls. Two small, one a little larger (alternately, you can use a measuring cup for one of the small bowls or larger). I separate the egg over one small bowl, white goes into that, yolk into the other. Then I pour the white from the small bowl into the larger one. Repeat.

    This way, if I mess up on one egg, and yolk gets into the white, it doesn't ruin the whole batch. I can pour out the ruined one from that small bowl into some other container for scrambled eggs or cookies, clean it out, and continue separating the rest of the eggs. It's an extra step, but worth it. You don't want to get to the fifth of four eggs only to fail in separating and have that last one ruin all your lovely egg whites.

    By the by, Norcal....

    How can egg yolks best be stored? For how long? and what can they be used for, seeing as if you need five egg whites you're going to end up with a bowl of five egg yolks...?
     
    J13, Jul 29, 2019
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  3. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Your method using several bowls is actually the proper way to do it. Even a speck of yolk in
    the whites can inhibit them from whipping up.

    Another tip is if a piece of egg shell falls into the bowl of eggs whites, use the egg shell half to scoop it out. For some reason, anything you put in egg white will repel the shell away from
    it except egg shell.

    To freeze egg yolks you can store them several ways:


    To use them later in a sweet application like a cake:

    Place in a small plastic container; you want as little space between the yolks as possible so they don’t dry out from the air. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over them. Place a little square of parchment paper on them, and then plastic wrap. Take care not to break the yokes.


    For a savory dish exactly as above but sprinkle a small amount of salt on them.


    Be sure to label them Indicating whether they are salted or sugared, with the date. They should keep up to three months frozen.


    If you want to hold them for a couple of days, just put a little water over them, Seal in an airtight container in refrigerator.


    To freeze egg whites place them in a plastic container; cover the top of the container with plastic wrap before putting on the lid. then freeze. I’ve read things about freezing a quite in ice cube trays as a means of portioning the whites into egg size. But there’s no standard for ice cube tray size.

    It’s better to weigh the egg whites and note that weight on your container. Estimate 30g = 1 large egg white. So If your egg whites weigh 163g, just divide it by 30. Which is 5.43. So note it contains 163g (5 large egg whites).

    To thaw yolks and egg whites, Place the container in the refrigerator the night before.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 29, 2019
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  4. Norcalbaker59

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    I actually knew none of that. Thank you! So...do freezer yolks/whites work almost as well as fresh, or should you avoid using them for, say, custard or meringue?
     
    J13, Jul 30, 2019
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  5. Norcalbaker59

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Yes absolutely. I forgot to mention if you’re holding the yolks for a few days and you put a little water over them. Do you want to pour the water off before using them. The water is to keep them moist. Do you only want to keep them in the refrigerator for a day, two at most. Otherwise freeze them.

    Egg whites can be kept 3 days. Egg whites are routinely aged for up to 72 hr to make macarons. That’s the most traditional way to make macarons, with aged egg whites. It allows some of the water to evaporate out of the egg whites. The theory is this changes the molecular structure of the protein. When whipped, there’s better elasticity in the meringue. I’ve made macarons both ways. Personally I think it comes down to macaronage, how well you knock the air out of the whipped eggs.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 30, 2019
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