The thought of making anything as fragile-looking as a tall soufflé can terrify cooks. The dish seems magical, but you only need a little basic cooking science to make one ― it is nothing more than flavored white sauce folded into beaten egg whites.
The whipped egg whites, a network of bubbles, form a structure that captures air. The thick sauce coats the components, stabilizing the soufflé. When heated, the air in the bubbles expands, making the whole mass rise.
To ensure such uplifting results, just follow our easy guidelines for beating the egg whites and blending the batter correctly.
And make sure that your guests are at the table when the timer goes off ― making a soufflé might not be magic, but its fleeting beauty will pull a disappearing act if you don't serve it at once.
Add cream of tartar to the whites while beating; the acid stiffens and coagulates the egg-white protein, strengthening the walls of the bubbles. Sugar, used in sweet soufflés, also strengthens the bubbles.
Use a wire whisk attachment to introduce air into the whites evenly, creating tiny, strong bubbles.
Beat the whites just until stiff but moist-looking peaks form. If the whites are overbeaten, the walls of the air bubbles will be stretched out; they may burst when heated, collapsing the soufflé.
Fold the white sauce gently but thoroughly into the beaten egg whites, using a flexible spatula. Overmixing, or folding with a heavy hand, may collapse the egg-white bubbles, leaving your soufflé less than ethereal.
Bake the soufflé in the right dish size for the best results. Classic soufflé dishes aren't necessary; you can also use deep casseroles or ovenproof bowls, though soufflés baked in bowls with sloping sides won't rise as high as those in straight-sided dishes. Measure your dish's capacity with water to determine its volume.