Beaten egg whites are used to give lightness and rising power to soufflés,puffy omelets, cakes, some pancakes and waffles, and other products.The following guidelines will help you handle beaten egg whites properly (see Figure 24.3).

1. Fat inhibits foaming.

When separating eggs, be careful not to get any yolk in the whites.Yolks contain fats. Use very clean equipment when beating whites.

2. Mild acids help foaming.

A small amount of lemon juice or cream of tartar gives more volume and stability to beaten egg whites. Use about 2 teaspoons cream of tartar per pound of egg whites (20 mL per kg).

3. Egg whites foam better at room temperature.

Remove them from the cooler 1 hour before beating.

4. Do not overbeat.

Beaten egg whites should look moist and shiny. Overbeaten eggs look dry and curdled and have lost much of their ability to raise soufflés and cakes.

5. Sugar makes foams more stable.

When making sweet puffed omelets and dessert soufflés, add some of the sugar to the partially beaten whites and continue to beat to proper stiffness. (This will take longer than when no sugar is added.) The soufflé will be more stable before and after baking.

Figure 24.3

Whipping egg whites.

Figure 24.3

Whipping egg whites.

(a) The whites are just beginning to whip into a foam.

(b) The whites have reached the soft-peak stage.
(c) The whites have reached the firm-peak stage. Note the smooth texture. Whipping beyond this stage will cause the foam to break.

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