DEAR PEGGY: I was making a cake yesterday and had problems with whipping the egg whites. Should the eggs be cold or warm temperature? Could it have been something else? — K. B., Vineland, NJ
You've asked a great question. When you beat egg whites, you are basically causing the protein in the egg white to unwind. The unwound protein then joins together, protecting each air bubble that’s created.
Here are some tips for perfectly beaten egg whites:
- Older eggs beat up faster and easier then very fresh eggs and will produce slightly more volume than fresh.
- Whites that are at room temperature beat to a foam more quickly than whites right from the refrigerator (cold whites will still beat to a foam but it takes longer).
- Be sure no trace of yolk remains in your egg whites. For best results, use three bowls to separate your eggs: one small bowl to hold all the yolks, one small bowl for the egg white and the mixing bowl you will use to beat your egg whites. Separate your eggs one at a time, transferring the egg whites one at a time from your small bowl to your mixing bowl only after you are certain there is not yolk in your white. That way, if you accidentally get some yolk in the white, you can just throw away one egg white and start over (washing your small bowl before using again) instead of throwing away all of the whites in your mixing bowl.
- Keep your bowls and utensils very clean. Even a small amount of fat residue left on your whisk or bowl from a previous task can impede the egg white foam.
- Use a copper mixing bowl if you have one. If you don't have copper then a glass, ceramic or metal mixing bowl will work (plastic is not recommended).
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