Eggs are a very commonly used ingredient in baking, and some recipes use a combination of both egg yolks and egg whites. However, there are also recipes which use only the egg whites or only the egg yolks as well. Comparing these two components of the egg used as separate ingredients during baking, the egg white is known to be the far more tedious to handle and many people make costly mistakes in their endeavours with this ingredient.
This article contains some key points that you should consider when baking with egg whites, and these points mainly cover the area of preparation. This includes preparation of the baking components required, as well as preparation of the egg whites themselves.
Preparation of baking items
When making cakes or pastries that involve egg whites, it is vital that you prepare all and mix all the other ingredients first. This is because the whipped egg whites are usually required towards the end of the mixing process to be folded into the rest of the cake batter. If you whip up the egg whites first, then go and prepare the other components of the egg batter, by the time the other components are ready, the whipped egg whites will already have deflated and lost a substantial amount of air.
To avoid this deflation of the egg whites and loss in volume and air, make sure that you make all the other components of the recipe first before you start whipping the egg whites. The other components can wait. The egg whites cannot.
Preparation of eggs
When using the egg whites for baking, there are two different things that you can consider. These two different aspects are the stability and the volume of the whipped egg whites. These aspects are directly affected by the age of the eggs you use. Using older eggs will give you egg whites that are thinner and whip up more easily to give you a larger volume. However, the stability associated with these thinner egg whites is not as much as with fresher eggs. Fresher eggs will give you more stability, but slightly lower volume after whipped.
Which one you choose depends on the type of dessert or pastry you are planning to make. If the egg whites you are using are to be incorporated into a cake recipe, then stability may not be as essential as volume. However, if you are making something delicate like a meringue, then you would opt for fresher eggs to give you more stability.
Preparation of egg whites
It is helpful that before you use the egg whites, you keep let them warm up to room temperature first. This helps the proteins to expand more, also because of the warmer air conditions, resulting in increase in volume when you whip up your egg whites.
You can let your eggs whites warm up to room temperature by keeping them on your counter for about half an hour or so. If you want to warm them up quickly, you can use a double boiler, or place them in a bowl over a hot water bath.
These are some of the small differences in preparation when baking with egg whites that can improve your dessert or pastry tremendously. Egg whites require careful consideration in both preparation and handling to ensure you obtain the best results in your baking.