A Full Guide to Whipping Egg Whites
This is everything you need to know to get perfectly whisked egg whites every time.
When you whisk egg whites what you are actually doing is whisking air into them. The result is tiny little bubbles of air living inside your egg whites. It is these air bubbles that give egg white based desserts that light and airy texture.
A great example to demonstrate how these little air bubbles live inside the egg whites is that of the souffle. A souffle consists of predominantly whisked egg whites, in other words eggs whites full of little air bubbles.
These air bubbles when put in the oven expand (as any air does when heated) and it is this expansion of air trapped in those little bubbles that causes a well made souffle to so impressively stand up out of dish.
- fresh eggs at room temperature
- a balloon whisk
- a very clean large stainless steel bowl.
Whipping egg whites at room temperature is important for several reasons:
- Better volume: warmer egg whites have lower viscosity, which means they can be beaten more easily and to a greater volume. Whisking at room temperature allows the proteins in the egg whites to unfold and trap air more effectively, resulting in a lighter and fluffier texture.
- Faster and more stable whipping: Room temperature egg whites reach their full volume more quickly when whisked. The proteins in the egg whites are more relaxed and can denature and coagulate faster, creating a stable foam structure that can hold its shape.
- Greater incorporation of air: Whisking at room temperature promotes the formation of smaller and more numerous air bubbles in the egg whites. This leads to a more stable foam that can hold its structure even after cooking or baking.
- Improved emulsification: When whisking egg whites into a meringue or incorporating them into other mixtures, having them at room temperature ensures better emulsification. The egg whites can distribute more evenly throughout the mixture, resulting in a smoother and more homogenous texture.
Overall, whipping egg whites at room temperature helps achieve optimal volume, stability, and texture, leading to better results in recipes that rely on beaten egg whites for their structure or lightness.
Depending on your recipe, you may need different consistencies for your whipped eggs. Please find below my recommendations on this topic.
Whipping Egg Whites (Beating Egg Whites)
- Place the egg whites in the stainless steel bowl.
- Add a small pinch of salt (optional).
- Whisk vigorously with the balloon whisk until desired consistency is achieved.
- Note: See below for the consistencies called for in most recipes.
- Egg whites whisked to soft will appear slightly foamy and will leave a soft rounded trail where the whisk has been. Soft peaks are what you want for souffles and mousses as they will be folded with other ingredients. Stiff whites do not incorporate other ingredients well.
- Egg whites whisked to stiff will feel harder to move the whisk through, they will appear shiny and they will stay standing up in peaks when you lift them up with the whisk. Stiff peak egg whites are what you want for meringue nests or Pavlova’s.
- Egg whites that have been over whisked will start to form little individual sections, as though the whole mix is a series of small cotton balls piled together.