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French Buttercream...


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Dailey

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:37 AM

every time i've tried to make buttercream that requires boiling the sugar/water and pouring into the egg mixture i always mess it up. :sad: i've tried RBL's neoclassic BC, which i heard was easier and ruined 2 batches. yesterday, i made the BC from the pastry queen and, of course, no luck. i make smbc all the time and was wondering...can i just add a couple egg yolks to my 5 egg whites/sugar and cook over stove like usual or will it not work? i'm thinking no but thought i'd ask first. :blush: thanks

#2 Sera F

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:18 AM

every time i've tried to make buttercream that requires boiling the sugar/water and pouring into the egg mixture i always mess it up. :sad:  i've tried RBL's neoclassic BC, which i heard was easier and ruined 2 batches.  yesterday, i made the BC from the pastry queen and, of course, no luck.  i make smbc all the time and was wondering...can i just add a couple egg yolks to my 5 egg whites/sugar and cook over stove like usual or will it not work?  i'm thinking no but thought i'd ask first. :blush:  thanks

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please tell me step by step how you are making your buttercream and exactly what the buttercream looks like after you've made it!
"You're only as good as the last dish you sent out"- Nigel Webber

"Live to Cook"

#3 Sera F

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:22 AM

every time i've tried to make buttercream that requires boiling the sugar/water and pouring into the egg mixture i always mess it up. :sad:   i've tried RBL's neoclassic BC, which i heard was easier and ruined 2 batches.  yesterday, i made the BC from the pastry queen and, of course, no luck.  i make smbc all the time and was wondering...can i just add a couple egg yolks to my 5 egg whites/sugar and cook over stove like usual or will it not work?  i'm thinking no but thought i'd ask first. :blush:   thanks

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please tell me step by step how you are making your buttercream and exactly what the buttercream looks like after you've made it!

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You probably are pouring the sugar mixture in too quickly. Generally, when I make it, I whip the egg yolks so they look thick like hollandaise and then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream. I then add 1 tbsp increments of the butter. When you add your butter, make sure that you let each addition beat fully in before adding more so the mixture doesn't break on you.
"You're only as good as the last dish you sent out"- Nigel Webber

"Live to Cook"

#4 sanrensho

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:24 AM

every time i've tried to make buttercream that requires boiling the sugar/water and pouring into the egg mixture i always mess it up. :sad:  i've tried RBL's neoclassic BC, which i heard was easier and ruined 2 batches.


What exactly went wrong? I've made both RLB's classic and neoclassic BCs and didn't experience any problems. Perhaps the more experienced Egulleters can help troubleshoot what went wrong.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#5 Dailey

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:36 AM

ooops, i guess it would help if i explained what goes wrong for me! :blush: when i boil the sugar mixture ( i used a thermometer) and attempt to pour it into the egg yolks, it either pours out verrrry slowly or turns crunchy in my icing. plus, when the sugar is boiling, it always starts to form a "crust" of sugar aroound my saucepan. i don't think that's suppose to be happening? thanks again.

#6 sanrensho

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:43 AM

As far as the crystallization you're referring to, did you get the syrup to a high enough temp? RLB also advises against stirring after the syrup comes to a boil, to prevent crystallization.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#7 Sera F

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:00 PM

As far as the crystallization you're referring to, did you get the syrup to a high enough temp? RLB also advises against stirring after the syrup comes to a boil, to prevent crystallization.

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and also when your sugar syrup is boiling, with a very clean pastry brush, dip in water and gently brush down the sides of the pot so there are no sugar crystals there to encourage the recrystallization of sugar

this should help.
"You're only as good as the last dish you sent out"- Nigel Webber

"Live to Cook"

#8 stscam

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:42 PM

Like Sera F said, be sure to beat your yolks thoroughly (3-5 minutes on medium should do it). While the eggs are mixing, cook your sugar. Once it's boiling, keep a watchful eye on the thermometer. Let the temp go right up to 240F and remove the pot from the stove. If the temp drops and you cook again to 240, then you're probably going to get some crystallization on the surface.

Then, like Sera F says, pour in a steady, thin stream into the bowl with the eggs. It should take you 30-60 seconds for the pour (depending upon volume). Now, before you add the butter, continue to mix the egg/sugar until it is lukewarm to the touch. Only then should you add the butter - in chunks - mixing each in thoroughly before adding the next piece.

Don't give up. And let us know how you make out.

Cheers,

Steve
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#9 JeanneCake

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 01:14 PM

It would probably help to find out what's causing the crystallization, too. When you boil the sugar, keep the thermometer in the syrup, don't pull it out and return it to the syrup - it's this agitation that can cause crystallization, or if there are deep cracks or pits in the pan you're using, that gives the crystallization a place to start forming (try using a nonstick pan if you are at home).

The wet pastry brush tip is a good one. you could also keep a cover on the pot for a little while to use the condensation to wash down the sides.

With a french buttercream, the temp of the butter is also important. I have better luck with cool (not ice cold, but not soft either) butter - the buttercream is firmer and handles better. You want the yolks to be fluffy - I usually start the mixer at the same time I start the syrup (at least with RLB's neoclassic bcrm. I use pasteurized yolks which always handle differently than shell yolks) so I know the yolks are ready. Depending on the batch size, it can take 15-30 seconds or so to add the syrup.

#10 chefpeon

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:07 PM

A couple tips:
Use a pinch of cream of tartar in your sugar syrup and it will help prevent crystallizing.

When you pour your sugar syrup in, you need to have you beater moving at a good speed, but not so high that it whips the sugar syrup wildly back to the sides of the bowl, where it will harden and not mix in. Also be careful not to pour the syrup directly down the side of the bowl; add it between the bowl and the beater.

#11 RodneyCk

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:07 PM

As far as the crystallization you're referring to, did you get the syrup to a high enough temp? RLB also advises against stirring after the syrup comes to a boil, to prevent crystallization.

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and also when your sugar syrup is boiling, with a very clean pastry brush, dip in water and gently brush down the sides of the pot so there are no sugar crystals there to encourage the recrystallization of sugar

this should help.

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Another way is to put a lid on the pot as it boils and check it periodically. With the lid on, the moisture released turns back into water which washes the crystals away.

#12 RodneyCk

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:12 PM

One of the best items to buy is a "digital" instant read thermometer. I got this tip from Cook's Illustrated and it is a life, or in this case, pastry saver. No need to try and make sure the tip is far enough down or no waiting for the bloody candy thermometer to give you a reading. It is great for when things come up to temp fast and you are hurried, like with meringue buttercreams.

#13 JeanneCake

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:57 PM

I've been using a probe digital thermometer - and I've gone through one a year for the last five years. The problem is if the "thread" part (which attaches the probe to the base) gets exposed to an open flame, or bent (the new ones are flexible silicone of some sort; the older ones are wire). I set the alarm at 244 or 246 so by the time I get the pot off the stove top and over to the mixer, the temp rises to 248. (My instructor had one for years because we had induction cookers in class so no risk of open flame.)

#14 SweetSide

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:16 AM

One of the best items to buy is a "digital" instant read thermometer.  I got this tip from Cook's Illustrated and it is a life, or in this case, pastry saver.  No need to try and make sure the tip is far enough down or no waiting for the bloody candy thermometer to give you a reading.  It is great for when things come up to temp fast and you are hurried, like with meringue buttercreams.

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I have this thermometer and just love it. Really can't say enough about it. And the best part is that it IS instant and there are no stupid wires to worry about!
Cheryl, The Sweet Side

#15 Dailey

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 08:07 AM

wow, from what i just read from you all, i've been doing everything wrong! i stir the sugar/water constantly then scrape the sugar crystals that form on the side of pan back down into the syrup. :blush: i've also been using the wrong type of pan and i will definitely get a digital theromemeter, why didn't i think of that before? :wacko: i'm gonna give it another try, thanks so much everyone! :wub:

#16 chefpeon

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:35 AM

One of the best items to buy is a "digital" instant read thermometer.


I have all sorts of thermometers. I have two digital instant reads, I have the kind with the alarm
that goes off at a pre-determined temp, I have an infra-red, and I also have the regular old fashioned candy thermometer with the bulb that you clip on to the side of the pan.

When cooking sugar syrups, I like the old fashioned one best. I can easily see how fast my sugar
is coming up to temp without having to stick an instant read in the syrup all the time. Frequently
I am doing other things and don't have my hands free, so just a quick glance at my glass thermometer gives me all the info I need.

My second favorite is the one with the probe and the alarm, although I found I need to set the alarm to a few degrees BELOW the temp I want my syrup at, because I have found the alarm won't go off until AFTER it reaches the pre-determined temperature, not at, or before. As we all know, taking your sugar syrup off the heat AT the correct temperature can sometimes be too late, unless you know to shock the pan in an ice bath. Personally I take my syrup off heat at one or two degrees below the desired temp because the residual heat of the syrup will cook itself to the right temp even after it's off the fire. :wink:

#17 stscam

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:47 PM

You can leave an instant read digital in the sugar simply by using a "bulldog" clip that snaps onto the side of your pot and has holes in the handle the let you slide the probe through. Places like Staples will have them in the paper clip section.

And once your sugar is dissolved you don't need to stir it any more.

Cheers,

Steve
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Glacier Country

#18 alanamoana

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:48 PM

You can leave an instant read digital in the sugar simply by using a "bulldog" clip that snaps onto the side of your pot and has holes in the handle the let you slide the probe through. Places like Staples will have them in the paper clip section.

And once your sugar is dissolved you don't need to stir it any more.

Cheers,

Steve

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a.k.a. binder clip

#19 SweetSide

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:32 PM

You can leave an instant read digital in the sugar simply by using a "bulldog" clip that snaps onto the side of your pot and has holes in the handle the let you slide the probe through. Places like Staples will have them in the paper clip section.

And once your sugar is dissolved you don't need to stir it any more.

Cheers,

Steve

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a.k.a. binder clip

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Thanks for that translation!
Cheryl, The Sweet Side

#20 Dailey

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 06:41 PM

thanks again you all! :biggrin:

#21 stscam

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 04:12 PM

Binder clip. Bulldog clip. Spring Clip. Here's a photo to make all clear.

Posted Image

The bent thing on the right in the back is a piece of aluminum bar we "form engineered" and drilled a whole into. This allows us to use the digital probe on our big slant-sided jam pot (not shown here).

To keep the probe from touching the bottom of the pot, we use a second clip to secure it to the first one.

Cheers,

Steve

Edited by stscam, 11 September 2006 - 04:14 PM.

Steve Smith
Glacier Country

#22 Dailey

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 07:18 PM

thanks for posting the picture steve! :biggrin: