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Buttercream Frosting/Icing: The Topic


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#31 kthull

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:57 AM

Lesley, my aim sucks, so I had to stop pouring with the motor on. I inevitably hit the beaters, shot sugar strands around the sides of the bowl and then definitely got lumps. Whisking by hand was the only way I could get around that. Doing it while the bowl is still attached to the KA eliminates the need for a second person and I've yet to get lumps that way. And maybe it's just my mixer, but if I poured down the sides (with or without that pour shield) a good deal of the syrup would congeal at the bottom of the bowl and never get worked in.

#32 lemon curd

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 02:18 PM

I was taught start beating the whites once the water/sugar mixture has started to boil. I use 116 deg C as the final temperature for the water and sugar mixture (about 240 deg F) which is pretty much in line with most of the other comments. A suggestion for helping to pour into the bowl (and some might see this as cheating :smile: ), is to pour the hot water/sugar mixture into a HEAT RESISTANT liquid measuring cup (this also has the advantage of stopping the cooking process). You can then hook the lip of the liquid measuring cup on to the top of mixing bowl and slowly pour down the side of the bowl. This will help prevent the sugar/water mixture from hitting the rotating beaters and also makes for easier bowl clean up.

I was interested to hear chefpeon's technique. I was only aware of Italian, French (same as Italian but uses egg yolks instead of egg whites), and German buttercream (has a pastry cream base to which butter is added - a bit more chewy and best for things like choux pastry filling). The swiss meringue base sound interesting.
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#33 Lesley C

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 02:35 PM

I think we're getting terms confused here. There's French meringue, Swiss meringue and Italian meringue, but there's no French buttercream, Swiss buttercream and Italian buttercream. And that description of German buttercream is certainly NEW to me. You can make buttercream with an Anglaise as your base, but if you're beating butter into pastry cream, you're making creme mousseline, the kind of cream you would use for a Fraisier. And if you're folding Italian meringue into pastry cream you're making creme chiboust.
And in my books, you aren't making Italian meringue unless the sugar reaches 121 degrees C; 116 is not high enough.

#34 Steve Klc

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 02:37 PM

There's always the Alton Brown buttercream method.
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#35 JanKK

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 03:41 PM

Ok ...I give up ...............is sticking your fingers in boiling sugar syrup or caramel some kind of macho thing?? A secret club? The mark of a REAL baker??

I am perplexed as to why anyone would WANT to do this --unless they don't own a spoon.

::going back to my corner:::: ;)

#36 chefette

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 03:45 PM

macho

#37 chefpeon

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:09 PM

<ahem>
Since it's been awhile since I graduated from pastry school, I figured I'd better hit the
books again to refresh my memory about meringues. I've been in the "real world" too
long and all those ragamuffins in the kitchen have soiled my proper education!

Ok.....I actually knew my version of meringue (in that the whites and sugar are heated
together) is called Swiss Meringue.....duh.....I've just sort of come to know it as "easy
meringue", 'cause, well, that's what it is.

According to his eminence Bo Friberg, the major difference between Italian and Swiss
Meringue (besides the preparation method) is that supposedly Italian Meringue is more
stable and is ideal for desserts in which the meringue is eaten "raw" or merely browned
on top, such as Baked Alaska. Swiss Meringue will deflate faster.

So......when it comes to making buttercream with meringue, the stability of Swiss Meringue
isn't really an issue, because with buttercream, you don't have to really worry about it
"deflating". I have come to the conclusion that if you make a meringue buttercream with
Italian Meringue or Swiss Meringue......the end result will essentially be the same, the keeping
qualities will be the same, and the flavor will be the same. So.........
since Swiss is inherently easier.......why mess around with making Italian and doing it the
hard way?

I choose easy.
:raz: Annie

#38 Tepee

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:26 PM

I have come to the conclusion that if you make a meringue buttercream with Italian Meringue or Swiss Meringue......the end result will essentially be the same, the keeping
qualities will be the same, and the flavor will be the same.  So.........
since Swiss is inherently easier.......why mess around with making Italian and doing it the
hard way?

I choose easy.
:raz: Annie


Ditto! My unrefined tastebuds can't tell the difference :rolleyes: ; both tastes yummy to me!

By the way, Annie, I had a peek at your site. You do great cakes!

Edited by TP(M'sia), 05 May 2004 - 07:33 PM.

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#39 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:49 PM

Boy oh boy I just have to jump on this band wagon too. A couple of you had me laughing pretty good, thanks!


First I think we need to imagine what it's like to make buttercream at home with a tiny mixer on the kitchen counter. That's foreign to several of us. Where I'm heading is HEIGHT. Unless your very tall your visually limited when you pour into a kitchen aid sitting on an averagely HIGH kitchen counter.....and the bowl is closer to your face- I can see how someone might be scared the syrup would splash out at you. SO from that deduction I can understand why Kthull has his method and why Carp used the sheild as a saftey blanket. I think we also have to remember that in these little kitchen aides is waht like 6 whites at the most.....it's tiny. THEN when you cook a sugar syrup in such a small amount you're highly likely to over heat because you have to consider the pan continues cooking the syrup while your picking it up to move to you mixer. I then THINK what happens to people is their syrup has gotten way too hot and when it hits the bowl and whisk they've got vertually a hard crack shooting around in their bowl.

When we/professionals make buttercream we're using mixers set at a lower height, we can see clearly into our bowls. We're not heating 3 tbsp. worth of syrup, we know when to take it off the heat depending upon how heavy our pan is and how far we need to walk it to the bowl...during that time the syrup isn't turning into hard crack.

But of course Lesley and the other pros here are correct and only giving great advice. I just wanted to point out that it's not comparing apples to apples what we do at work and what people in home kitchens experince. Quite frankly it's easier to make a huge batch then a tiny one-I think!

O.k. I'll shut up and sit down now.........oh wait, if we get to pick favorites.... I agree with a egg yolk butter cream for taste and for easiest method for a meringue- a water bath beats a syrup for home baking.

Hey where's Annie's site I want to take a peek too?

#40 Lesley C

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 04:55 AM

Funny, I consider Italian meringue easier. Swiss meringue can get gloopy, shiny and thick, and whip up poorly.
I noticed a few years ago on Martha Stewart's show that they switched to Swiss meringue buttercream for making wedding cakes. I have tried her recipe and it's quite good.

#41 nightscotsman

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:07 PM

macho

You wouldn't say that if you met me. :wink:

two points on the fingers in boiling sugar and I'll shut up:

1) I've got many burn scars from the ovens and hot sheet pans, but I've never burned myself testing hot sugar with my fingers.

2) I don't think we even have a thermometer in our kitchen, and the women on the team don't seem to mind it when they have to make the meringue.

As far as which method - Swiss or Italian - I think whatever works for you. For me, I find the Italian method is faster and takes less attention. I'd rather give my whisking arm a rest.

#42 chefette

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 04:04 AM

I think that it is the food safety issue
Italian meringe buttercream is taken to a higher heat so the whites are 'cooked' more thoroughly
so not only is it more stable but also better in applications where one is feeding the public including the elderly and young children

But otherwise it is personal preference.

#43 spyddie

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 07:29 PM

[quote name='Comfort Me' date='May 4 2004, 09:24 PM'] OK -- so I'm making a shitload of a whilte buttercream -- the regular way -- egg whites beaten and cooked with a hot sugar syrup, then butter beaten in.

I skip the cooking process. To my understanding there are 2 purposes for cooking the sugar, 1. dissolve the sugar crystals, 2. kill any bactirias in eggs. I prlong the whipping time to 30min to solve the first problem and use frozen egg white which is pastureized and that solved the second problem


Frozen egg white 10#

sugar 24#
salt 2 table spoons

butter 27#
cake shortening 14#

vanilla extract 2#

oil 2# (optional)


whip egg white (room temperature) to soft peak add sugar and salt, leave the mixer in 3rd gear set the timer for 30 minutes (shorten the time will have sugar crystals in finish product). When alarm go off add butter, shortening and slowly add the vanilla extract right after it, continuou to whip in 3nd speed untill the butter cream almost reach top of 80 qt bowl and add 2# of oil just to cream in.

*Use only frozen egg white (pastureized).

hope this helps

Edited by spyddie, 10 May 2004 - 07:35 PM.


#44 Lesley C

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 08:17 PM

No offense spyddie (I see this is your first post so I really hate to be brutal but...), but that's the kind of recipe that gives pastry a bad name. Shortening and oil! Talk about unhealthy.
If you're going to go the shortening route, I would skip the meringue altogether and beat together white fondant, unsalted butter, and emulsified shortening.
I have never seen a buttercream recipe that contains oil. Where did you get that recipe?

#45 spyddie

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:44 PM

Lesley,

Point taken, but would like to make few points about your common.

Sweet butter is not healthier than shortening and oil.

First I would like to introduce myself, I am certified Pastry Chef from CIA and I have 12 years of working experience in baking/pastry field(retail,wholesale,hotel). Currently I am running a 10,000 sq/ft bakery kitchen that supply all our 5 retail bakery outlets with 20+ wholesale accounts so I think I know a little bit of what I am talking about. I can see from you point of view--quality and taste is your #1 concern, but when you are running a commercial kitchen the size I am running, trust me there is more than just quality and taste you have to worry about. Things such as ingridents cost, labor cost,product shelf live, quality consistency.....list goes on.

Cake shortening is not same as general purpose shortening but if taste is your top cerncer, then feel free to replace cake shortening with sweet butter, the finish product will tasted better but it will have more yellowlish look which is not good for wedding cake icing. We also use same butter cream for butter cream roses adding the cake shortening will make it much easier to work with. As for the oil, it's acturally very common practice among bakers, it's a easy way(cheating) to add the shine to the finish product but if all the steps has been done correctly it's not necessary to add the oil to make it shining, that's why I put is as option.

By the way don't jump to conclusion to early before you try it :rolleyes: .

Edited by spyddie, 10 May 2004 - 09:57 PM.


#46 Lesley C

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 06:23 AM

I don't have to try it because I know the mouthfeel wouldn't be to my liking.
I saw all those kinds of low-cost buttercreams at pastry school, and I never made any of them again once I left. Even in the big pastry shops I worked in used butter-based buttercream with a pate a bombe. And I certainly know what cake shortening is. I did the production bakery thing for a year and almost went out of my mind. 500 buttercream birthday cakes a day isn't my thing.
To each his own, I guess.

#47 spyddie

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 12:43 PM

When I was at CIA we used only the best ingredients that is aviliable to us, no shortening were ever used,only butter :smile: . At first it was very difficult for me to use things such as shortening, margaine, extracts ,pre mix or any artifical flavorings, but after years in the field I learned to adopt it instead againest it :biggrin: .

I posted the recipe as a contribution to the forum, I am sure any expericnce chef can take that recipe and modified to best of his/her interest, that's all. I'm deeply sorry if my posted have offended some.

#48 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 02:27 PM

Welcome Spyddie! It's a big baking market in this world and we do welcome all opinions here. This topic (buttercream) has always been a more hotly debated issue on baking sites. Theres definately two sides, I deal with it too. Sometimes it's a hard topic for me personally because I do have to conform and consider it my job to give people what they want as far as pastries.

I've gone against the crowd on many issues, over the years I've spent on line. My first post at one site (years ago) really hit the fan and everyone was blasting me (it sucked). But the best part is, how it does make you think and re-evaluate: either confirming your thoughts or opening your mind to new ones.

Debate is fine here. In fact, I think it's alot more interesting than everyone jumping on the same wagon. Makes us think more.

Of which I now have a question for you, or two. First I rarely have used pasturized eggs or any frozen egg product, so........I'm pretty clueless on them.

I thought those types of whites wouldn't whip properly, no?

And I'm a little confused about a 30 minutes whipping. Are you doing that on high speed? How come they don't become grossly dry after that much time?

Also what about shelf-life with these? When I've had them in, the chefs have held them a really long time past their expiration date in the cooler. Makes me nervous...... Whats your opinion on holding them? Granted you probably go thru them too quick to see that happen, but they are a bit of a mystery to me.

How to say this gracefully........hum....... don't read into this o.k.?.......I'm not so great with wording sometimes.......just a fyi- Lesley is a pro with I think two books published on baking. So you're both heavy hitters. Quite frankly I'm amazed by the quality of bakers we have here, there are several big names (or however one phrases that) and many very knowledgeable pastry chefs here so I'm thinking you're going to love it here Spyddie.

#49 chefpeon

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 03:39 PM

Yeah Wendy.....good question.....
although I've never actually tried to whip pasteurized egg whites (previously frozen or not)
I was always told, "don't bother, they won't whip". So I never did.
Do they whip? Do you have to whip them 30 minutes because it takes that long for a pasteurized
white to peak?

What say, spyddie?
:wub: Annie

#50 spyddie

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 05:40 PM

Sinclair,

To answer your first question,Yes, frozen egg white can be whipped. The frozen egg white has to be completely defreeze, other than that it whips just like fresh one. Althrought I have not done side by side comparison, but from my past expericence I think fresh one will come out as a winner in quality Due to the volume of egg white our kitchen use(30 buckets or 900lb/per week)we choose frozen egg white over fresh one, I just cannot justify the cost of hiring extra person just to separate the fresh whole egg. FYI, frozen sugar yolk can be whipped also, but it contain 10% of sugar (as a natural preservative, I think) adjust of recipe is necessary if frozen sugar yolk is to replace fresh one. There is one exception, frozen whole egg does not whip like fresh one but in our kitchen we do not whip the whole egg so that's not a issue in our kitchen, other than that it can be use just like fresh whole egg.

To answer your second question, why I whip 30minutes(3rd gear of 4 gear mixer)? That's how long it will take to dissolve 24# of sugar in this recipe. In this particular recipe the ratio of sugar(24#)/ egg white(10#) is 240%, it will take quite of effort to whip past glossy dry stage. I know I can shorten the whpping time by cooking sugar and egg white (what we used to do)over hot water bath(typiclly know as Swiss meringue) before whipping but I would rather using the "no cooking method" and let the mixer do all the work. :biggrin:

I order the frozen egg products once a week and make sure they are rotated properly as with all our inventory. Last year 2 weeks before Thanks givening, we were told by our supplier the price of egg product will be sky rocket due to the busy holiday season, so we ordered big batch of frozen eggs, I cannot recall the exact number but I think it's like 300 buckets of egg white,whole egg and sugar yolk all together, that batch last us about 1 month and it's good till last bucket. We only take out what we need and leave the fully defreeze eggs in walk-in refrigerator all the time.

Please pardon me if I misspell few words, as English is my second language. :smile:

Edited by spyddie, 11 May 2004 - 06:23 PM.


#51 lorea

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:43 PM

Do frozen egg whites mean they're pasteurized? I almost always use frozen egg whites since I tend to use up egg yolks and egg whites at a different rate, so I always freeze up my leftover egg parts for later use. I didn't realize what I was doing was pasteurizing them.

#52 spyddie

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 08:21 PM

I have no knowledge on how frozen egg is manifactured. I was told by supplier the frozen egg I ordered is pasteurized. I am not sure what processes are involve to pastureized the egg products, but personally I don't think is as simply as freeze it up. I have one question for Chefette, can you still whip the left over egg white, yolk or whole egg? I have never freeze the fresh egg before.

#53 JanKK

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 09:17 PM

Do frozen egg whites mean they're pasteurized? I almost always use frozen egg whites since I tend to use up egg yolks and egg whites at a different rate, so I always freeze up my leftover egg parts for later use. I didn't realize what I was doing was pasteurizing them.

Nope ...just freezing isn't pastueurizing. As I understand it, it's a heat pasteurization process ---taking the eggs to a high enough temp to kill bacteria without cooking them. Apparently, this can also be done in the shell.

I freeze egg whites all the time too and can't really tell the difference from fresh. Some people say they take a bit longer to whip into meringue, but I've never noticed that.

#54 chromedome

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 09:44 PM

I always have a few litres of egg whites in my freezer, and usually another in my fridge, since I get as many as I want from work (we use *WAAAYYYYY* more yolks than whites, even with dacquoises on the dessert menu). They are interchangeable with fresh in anything I've used them for. And they keep a whole lot better.
Fat=flavor

#55 spyddie

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 01:47 PM

Do frozen egg whites mean they're pasteurized?  I almost always use frozen egg whites since I tend to use up egg yolks and egg whites at a different rate, so I always freeze up my leftover egg parts for later use.  I didn't realize what I was doing was pasteurizing them.

Nope ...just freezing isn't pastueurizing. As I understand it, it's a heat pasteurization process ---taking the eggs to a high enough temp to kill bacteria without cooking them. Apparently, this can also be done in the shell.

I freeze egg whites all the time too and can't really tell the difference from fresh. Some people say they take a bit longer to whip into meringue, but I've never noticed that.

Someone correct me if I am wrong. From my understanding, it's the egg shell not the egg itself that contain most bacteria (Salmonella), am I right?

george

#56 lemon curd

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 01:22 PM

A university course that I recently completed included some discussion of egg pasteurization and egg safety. The text was "Understanding Food" by Amy Brown (2nd Edition, 2004). Here's a few excerpts:

Egg Pasteurization

USDA regulations require that all liquid, frozen or dried eggs be pasteurized or otherwise treated to protect against salmonella (I assume this means eggs that are available for purchase).  Commercially frozen egg whites often have added stabilizers and whipping aids to improve their ability to form large, stable foams. Eggs whites will denature (protein structure is distrupted) if pasteurized by themselves, so prior to pasteurization, a small amount of lactic acid and aluminum sulfate is sometimes added. When whole eggs are pasteurized (before freezing) they are heated to 140-143 deg F for three and one half minutes.

Egg Safety

The chances of an egg being internally contaminated are relatively low, less than 1 in 10,000.  They can become internally contaminated through a hen with Salmonella Enteritidis infection in her ovary or oviduct, or from absorbing bacteria through the pores.  The latter can occur if the eggs are boiled and then cooled in the presence of infected water or an infected food handler.  Externally, the eggs may be also exposed to Salmonella Enteritidis by fecal contamination during egg laying.  The Center for Disease Cotnrol implicated eggs as the source for 73 percent of Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks.


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#57 Dee

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 06:49 PM

I have wondered about the difference between Swiss and Italian meringue buttercreams for quite awhile now. I used to do the Italian and when I discovered the Swiss, I was so relieved since it so much easier. BUt I was concerned that maybe it wasn't as simple as that and maybe one was safer or more stable than the other. I use the buttercream for wedding cakes mostly and haven't really noticed any trouble with my current method but the thought was in the back of my mind still that maybe the Italian method is what I should be using instead.

On the egg whites topic, I've definitely noticed a difference between the whipping quality of fresh egg white and commercial pasteurized egg whites; the fresh whip up much nicer and thicker resulting in a whiter, fluffier product. But, I still use the packaged whites often because they are still adequately workable and faster than cracking and separating eggs, unless I happen to be using a lot of yolks for another recipe.

This might be an interesting side by side comparison study to do just to really not the differences!

#58 Phish

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 02:39 AM

Can you make buttercream without yolks?

#59 chefpeon

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 08:06 AM

Can you make buttercream without yolks?

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Yes, read the above post by PastryLady.

#60 ChocoChris

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 01:23 PM

Hi,
I am making a wedding cake for a wedding that will be outdoors on Sept. 17. To familiarize myself with the buttercream the bride requested, I've made it a couple of times and this brought up a couple of questions. First, the recipe in a nutshell...I cook a milk and flour mixture over a double boiler until thickened, cream the sugar and butter, add flavoring and then mix in the thickened flour/milk mixture. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this type of buttercream.

From what I've seen so far, this buttercream seems to melt very quickly once it starts to reach room temp. Is there any way to stabilize it, for example, adding in some shortening? If so, what ratio would you think would work? The basic recipe that I am working from makes about 4 1/2 c. of frosting and uses 1 1/2 c. butter. Would adding more butter help?

Also, is it ok to make this type of frosting at least a week ahead of time and keep it chilled in the fridge?

Thanks so much for any guidance.
Chris