From chiffon to angel food, mousses to sponges, folding is an essential technique in the world of baking. Some of my favorite desserts require this method to achieve that light-as-a-feather texture. But for new and experienced cooks alike, getting the perfect fold can be a challenge–overmix and you lose the air that provides the lift and lightness, undermix and end up with a streaky batter. But if you follow just a few simple rules, you’ll end up with the perfect folded mixture.
Here are our top tips for getting the perfect texture with expert folding.
Tip #1: Start with a Large Bowl
You’ll want to use a large bowl when folding ingredients. Having a large bowl provides you with the space you need to incorporate two parts of your mixture without having to worry about overflowing or deflating your egg whites or whipped cream.
Tip #2: Use a Flexible Spatula
Secondly, a wide, flexible silicone spatula works best for folding. This tool allows you to scrape every last bit of your ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate into the mix.
Tip #3: Take it Slow
You don’t want to rush this process. Folding takes a little patience, so don’t worry if your mixture doesn’t come together all at once. Just keep folding. If you rush and stir the ingredients together, you’ll lose all the air you’re trying to incorporate. Remember that air is the key to light and fluffy desserts.
Now, with our test kitchen tips in mind, let’s get started. You’ll find it’s not so difficult to get just-right results. These universal steps can be applied to practically any recipe that calls for you to fold in ingredients. Follow along as our experts guide you step-by-step.
How to Fold Ingredients
Step 1: Add Light to Heavy
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Always add your lighter ingredients (beaten egg whites or whipped cream) to your heavier mixture. Starting at the center of the bowl, cut straight down the center with a wide, flexible spatula all the way to the bottom of the bowl.
If you’re working with a particularly dense batter, you can start by incorporating just a bit of your lighter ingredients to loosen it up a bit before folding in the rest. This will help keep the airy, puffy nature.
Step 2: Scrape the Bowl
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Scrape along the bottom of the bowl towards you, continue up the side and fold the mixture over the top.
Step 3: Rotate and Repeat
Rotate your bowl a quarter turn and repeat Step 2 until just combined. Once you achieve a homogeneous mixture without streaks or separation, you’re done! Resist the temptation to give it another stir. Simply pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
With these tips and steps in your baking arsenal, you’re ready to tackle some of our favorite recipes. I’m partial to this Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse Cheesecake–yum!