The Step Geoffrey Zakarian Takes To Elevate Egg Whites For Soufflé

If you really want to impress your guests at your next gathering, consider serving up a soufflé for dessert. Soufflés are notoriously difficult, even for chefs, but with the right tips and tricks, even a home chef can master soufflé cooking. What makes a soufflé so impressive is the lightness and height of the peaks when it comes out of the oven. We can thank egg whites for their role in ensuring an airy and fluffy soufflé. Chef Geoffrey Zakraian knows a thing or two about soufflés, as he spent his formative cooking years making 150 soufflés per day.

Zakarian has a special trick to ensure added height to his favorite dessert recipe. He shares, "If you put a touch of salt, vinegar or cream of tartar [in the batter], it will help" with expanding the egg whites. Cream of tartar is considered a stabilizer for egg whites. Air is added to the egg whites when beaten, and the cream of tartar, or another acidic ingredient like vinegar, helps prevent the air from deflating. Salt is an option that will work to tighten the bubbles in the whites while adding some flavor. For this reason, you may want to add salt to savory soufflés for its double benefit.

It's all about the egg whites

No matter if you are making savory or sweet soufflés, egg whites are the base of successful soufflés. Along with adding a stabilizer like salt or vinegar, egg whites must be at room temperature. Egg whites expand and give the soufflé its impressive height. Room-temperature whites can be whipped into stiff peaks more easily than cold whites. When it comes to stiff peaks, you want to look for a shiny one that sticks straight up when the whisk is turned upside down. You'll want to add the cream of tartar, salt, or vinegar to the white mixture while the whites are being whisked, and before peaks form.

If you are using a stand mixer, it only takes about four to five minutes to get your whites to form stiff peaks. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge several hours before you need them, there is a quick way to get the whites to room temperature. You can submerge your eggs in a bowl of warm water for about five minutes until the egg feels warm. If your eggs have already been cracked and separated, you just need to put the bowl of whites into a larger bowl with warm water. After a few minutes, you'll have room-temperature whites ready for soufflé.