Macaron Disaster!

Discussion in 'Disaster Help' started by -Daniel-, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I've tried Macarons three times this week. The first and third time, they were a disaster. Spread all over the sheet like the photo shows.

    The second time, they maintained their shape but remained sticky underneath and in the middle (despite burning on top when I put them back in the oven).

    Does anyone know where I'm going wrong? I forgot to bring the recipe with me to work, but I'll post it when I'm home later.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure why the picture won't work, it's visible here: https://static.wixstatic.com/media/...v2.jpg/v1/fit/w_960,h_720,al_c,q_80/file.webp
     
    -Daniel-, Jan 29, 2018
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  2. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Daniel, unfortunately the photograph does not show up on the link.

    But spreading and sticky bottoms are both caused by too much moisture in the batter, over mixing, and incorrect oven temperature and bake time.

    Aged egg whites: Most macaron recipes mention aged egg whites, then in the next sentence dismiss the need of aged egg whites. What these recipes never address is WHY the French macaron is traditionally made with aged egg whites. It about controlling the moisture.

    Aging the egg whites allows some of the natural water in the egg white to evaporate. Egg whites are about 88% water and 10% protein. Controlling the moisture in the batter is critical to success of a meringue sturdy enough to withstand the folding and baking.

    Place egg whites in a clean glass bowl and cover with a paper towel or clean tea towel to allow water evaporation. Leave at room 24 to 72 hours before making macarons. Aging egg whites is important if you live in a humid environment.

    Since salmonella is in the embryo (yolk) not the egg white you can leave the egg whites at room temperature. But if you are hesitant to age at room temperature, place egg whites in the refrigerator.

    Macaronage: there’s a lot of emphasis on macaronage (folding the batter until smooth and flowing). But the beating of the meringue is actually the critical first step in successful macronage. Under beaten egg whites will result in over mixed batter as under beaten egg whites will quickly destabilize.

    Tips for properly beaten egg whites

    Be sure all the equipment is clean, free of all oil, and dry.

    Use aged egg whites, especially if you live in a humid environment

    Beat egg for 30 - 45 seconds, then add 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar to egg whites. Cream of tartar is an acid. It will stabilize egg protein. I do not recommend using lemon juice as juice just reintroduces water into the equation.

    Resting batter: again many recipes mention resting the batte, then in the next sentence and dismiss it as unnecessary. Resting the batter is again about controlling the moisture. The skin that forms as the shell dries out is critical in creating the smooth top and maintaining the proper shape of the shell.

    Rest the piped batter until the shells feel smooth and dry. Your finger should glide over the top of the shell without sticking. It could take anywhere from 30 min - 60 mins. The more humid your environment the longer the rest period.

    Oven temperature: ask 10 bakers the correct temperature for macarons and you’re going to get 10 different answers. The correct temperature is the temperature that works for your recipe and your oven. Since you’ve experienced excessive spreading, I would start by reducing the oven temperature.

    Other tips for macarons

    Sift your dry ingredients at least three times. For some reason bakers really hate to sift dry ingredients. But in macarons this is absolutely necessary.

    After piping batter, gently tap the baking sheet on the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

    Add flavoring to meringue before adding dry ingredients.

    All ingredients are measured against the amount of the egg whites. If ingredients exceed the ratio range, there will be a noticeable change in both texture and look of the shell. For example, a higher ratio of granulated sugar will produce a very smooth shiny shell, but it will be hard, brittle with low rise and no feet.

    Egg whites 1.00 - egg whites are always 100%

    Almond flour .80 - 1.20

    Powdered sugar 1.60 - 2.00

    Granulated sugar .30 - .50


    Filling: since baked macaron shells will absorb moisture from the filling I prefer to use ganache instead of buttercream.


    Pics of beaten egg whites


    Firm peak: tip will fold over. This is NOT stiff peak stage
    E9D719B5-3576-4565-8F93-74228137FC44.jpeg


    Stiff peak: tip will stand up straight.
    AD1381A5-6D6F-424E-9741-E04BDEF41938.jpeg


    Over beaten: over beaten egg whites will have flecks of dots throughout. Egg whites beaten to this point will be completely unstable.

    Sorry this photo is very small. I didn’t have a photo of over beaten egg whites so I looked for one online

    4C5ECC0A-FF02-4DA9-8802-11251593838E.jpeg
     

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    Norcalbaker59, Jan 29, 2018
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  3. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Oh Norcalbaker thank you so much for taking the time to write out a reply, especially one with so much fantastic knowledge!

    I didn't age my whites (the recipe didn't mention it). I'm going to try this and also reduce the oven temperature a bit (I had it at roughly 320f, I'll pop it down to 300f). I didn't use tartar either, I'll make sure to get it.

    From your notes, I think I did most other things correctly: I added the tsp of vanilla extract directly to the egg & sugar mix; let the piped macarons rest for an hour, and got good stiff peaks (though not seemingly overdone). I'll age my egg whites starting today and try the recipe again on Wednesday to see how it turns out.

    I am writing a new blog, which has the picture if anyone wants to see it: https://www.bakingforgranted.com/blog/macaronssss
     
    -Daniel-, Jan 29, 2018
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  4. -Daniel-

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    LMAO reading your blog post on macarons:D “milking a lizard” still has me laughing!

    I think reducing both the moisture in the batter and reducing the oven temperature will help.

    To create a smoother batter, blend the almond flour and powdered sugar together, then sift it 3 times. If using whole almonds, grind the almonds in the food processor, then add the powdered sugar and process a bit more. Then sift.

    The link below is to a good recipe. Stella Parks takes a more modern approach to macarons. I take the traditional approach.

    Traditional approach includes:

    1. Aged egg whites

    2. Do not rap the sheet hard on the counter. Tap it lightly several times.

    3. Rest the piped shells before baking until they feel smooth and dry and are not sticky to the touch.


    http://bravetart.com/recipes/macarons
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jan 30, 2018
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    Becky Administrator

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    Very good advice from @Norcalbaker59 :)

    Just to add to this, I have never noticed a difference between putting the macarons straight in the oven vs letting them form a skin first... But maybe that's just me. I think the most important aspect is how well mixed the batter is; it's got to be just right.

    I find this video very useful - it shows what the batter should look like and also helps with trouble-shooting:

     
    Becky, Jan 30, 2018
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  6. -Daniel-

    -Daniel- Well-Known Member

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    Haha thank you! :)

    These are really good tips. I'm going to sit down and study all the information today to get myself prepared to make them perhaps on Thursday. I'll post an update here to let you know if they work out.
     
    -Daniel-, Jan 30, 2018
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  7. -Daniel-

    ChesterV Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that picture shows that there is too much moisture. Looks like you were trying to make a giant pancake!!!

    Hope the next batch turns out better! Nice color though.:D:D
     
    ChesterV, Jan 30, 2018
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