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Q&A -- All About Eggs -- Souffles

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This thread is only for questions and answers regarding the All about Eggs -- Souffles lesson . Please do not post any comments or contribute any of your own knowledge here. If you wish to make a contribution, please do so on The Wit & Wisdom of Eggs thread. Please do not engage in discussion or debate on this thread -- if you wish to have an egg-related discussion with other eGulleters, please start a topic in the regular Cooking forum. Thanks.

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Howdy Carolyn. Nice lesson. I enjoyed seeing the not-so-great moments as well as the successes. That makes the class a lot more fun -- and real.

I have a question about the chocolate souffles. When in the process do you add the egg yolks? Or do you skip them altogether?

Thanks,

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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A final note: I truly believe that baking individual souffles of either a savory or sweet quality tends to be far easier than a single, larger souffle.

Quite agree. And they serve much more elegantly as well.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Howdy Carolyn. Nice lesson. I enjoyed seeing the not-so-great moments as well as the successes. That makes the class a lot more fun -- and real.

I have a question about the chocolate souffles. When in the process do you add the egg yolks? Or do you skip them altogether?

Thanks,

Chad

Yes, I'm sorry I didn't document the entire chocolate souffle-making process -- we will be fixing this text in the next few days. The egg yolks were added after the cocoa, flour, and butter mixture was heated and smooth (along with the butter and vanilla).

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The chocolate souffle is cooked at what temp?

These individual souffles were baked at 350Fº/180Cº.

During the editing of this course, there was much discussion about variable temperatures (are large, savory souffles always baked at a higher temperature?, etc).

In my research, there does not seem to be any consistency in oven temperatures. I read recipes for large, savory souffles that were baked as low as 350Fº/180Cº and small, individual souffle baked as high as 425Fº/220Cº.

An interesting aspect is that many books recommend putting the rack as low in the oven as possible, for bottom-generated heat. The Joy of Cooking even offers the recommendation that if you have an oven with both bottom- and top-level heating elements, you should remove the top heating element.

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Thanks Carolyn, just a quick question. Do you subscribe to the theory that you should run your thumb around the top the the souffle dish (creating an "indent") before baking? I have seen this demonstrated by some chefs but not others - does it make a discernable difference.

I now feel inspired enough to attempt a souffle - something I have not ever tried in my life (always believing they were too temperamental). Thanks egullet for dispelling this myth!! :smile:


Edited by misgabi (log)

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From the souffle recipe provided (both savory and sweet) in the above posts, can the ingredients be halved in order to reduce the quantity served by half. If not what corrections need to be made in order to produce small quanties of souffle successfully.

Thanks!

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Hi Carolyn,

Great minds must think alike! I'm making a chocolate souffle for my wife on Valentines's Day (is it possible that it's the 13th already?). I already had a special recipe to use from a dinner on the Disney Cruise Line, but it's good to have the photos and explanation of the step-by-step process.

So, on to my question. The recipe I'm using is http://www.florida-travels.com/forum/archi...pic/2379-1.html and is essentially the same as yours. However, it says to "Place the cups in a large baking dish and add enough boiling water to reach

halfway up the sides of the souffle' cups". Does this make sense to you? Also, can I make the base ahead of time and then reheat it after dinner just before whipping the whites? That would sure make for a nicer evening than excusing myself for 1/2 hour to prep. the thing.

Thanks, Walt

P.S. Just loaded the page with images, and those pretty little chocolate souffles in individual ramekins look sooo cute! You've got me so excited about making this souffle! Thank you!


Edited by wnissen (log)

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA

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Thanks Carolyn, just a quick question. Do you subscribe to the theory that you should run your thumb around the top the the souffle dish (creating an "indent") before baking? I have seen this demonstrated by some chefs but not others - does it make a discernable difference.

I now feel inspired enough to attempt a souffle - something I have not ever tried in my life (always believing they were too temperamental). Thanks egullet for dispelling this myth!! :smile:

Running one's thumb around the edge of the dish is not so much to create an "indent" as it is to assure a clean edge, free from any potential drips that may have occured in pouring the batter in the pan.

It makes a difference if there is a drip -- that drip would bake up and harden first, keeping the souffle from rising above that spot (or making an unsightly rise) when it hit that baked-on bit.

Do try one! And report back with your successes or failures! (We all learn from each others mistakes, after all...)

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Hi Carolyn,

Great minds must think alike! I'm making a chocolate souffle for my wife on Valentines's Day (is it possible that it's the 13th already?). I already had a special recipe to use from a dinner on the Disney Cruise Line, but it's good to have the photos and explanation of the step-by-step process.

So, on to my question. The recipe I'm using is http://www.florida-travels.com/forum/archi...pic/2379-1.html and is essentially the same as yours. However, it says to "Place the cups in a large baking dish and add enough boiling water to reach

halfway up the sides of the souffle' cups". Does this make sense to you? Also, can I make the base ahead of time and then reheat it after dinner just before whipping the whites? That would sure make for a nicer evening than excusing myself for 1/2 hour to prep. the thing.

Thanks, Walt

P.S. Just loaded the page with images, and those pretty little chocolate souffles in individual ramekins look sooo cute! You've got me so excited about making this souffle! Thank you!

Walt - yes, your recipe is very similar to mine. Truthfully, the one I decided to use was only because I had TONS of powdered cocoa in the house and no solid chocolate. There are a number of recipes that call for melting chocolate and both seem to work just fine.

The idea of putting the ramekins in a water bath (or bain marie, as the French call it) comes from the same idea in baking custards or cheesecakes -- that it will protect the otherwise-slightly delicate batter from over-cooking too early. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it with souffles. In my copious amounts of free time, I may try a side-by-side comparison in baking with and without a bain marie, but I seriously doubt I will see a difference.

And as far as making the base ahead-of-time is concerned, by all means. That is one of the joys of making souffles. Sometimes, in restaurants, huge batches of a base will be made for two- and three-days' worth of service. And you don't need to re-heat it at all -- but do let it come to room temperature. I don't believe having hot base benefits the rise of a souffle at all. It is the last-minute whipping of the eggwhites that is most critical.

How nice for your wife, I must add! She will be EVER so impressed!

An added note, a dollop of whipped cream or simple melted vanilla ice cream is a great last-minute addition to a chocolate souffle. In many restaurants, there is great show in bringin a souffle to the table, breaking through the surface, and then pouring in some fabulous sauce to accompany it. You'd be surprised how great melted vanilla ice cream is as a sauce for chocolate souffles...

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From the souffle recipe provided (both savory and sweet) in the above posts, can the ingredients be halved in order to reduce the quantity served by half. If not what corrections need to be made in order to produce small quanties of souffle successfully.

Thanks!

Absolutely! In fact, I have to admit that the CIA recipe for the cheese souffle was too much for my dish and there was left-over batter...

I think the hardest part of reducing a recipe, is the fact that it IS easier to whip a larger quantity of eggwhites. For the chocolate souffle recipe, to whip only two eggwhites alone might prove difficult only in that you may not get the volume you want. But for the savory recipe I provided, THAT one could definitely be cut in half.

As Jackal advised me in our editing session, it is generally best to allow one egg per person in the production of souffles. On making those smaller souffles for guests, I will always make a few extra as there is invariably someone who will want seconds....

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Carolyn,

Do you typically brown the tops of the souffles? I couldn't tell from the photo whether they were or not. My best chocolate souffle had a very crispy top and the inside was creamy chocolate, yum.

I guess I've had beginner's luck with souffles and I regularly make 2 egg souffles that turn out well. I've also not noticed a difference between making one with a bain marie or without. Just the other night I made a cheese souffle with aged gruyere, had one right out of the oven for a light supper with salad, then refrigerated the other one. I had that one this morning at work, heated up in the microwave and it was very tasty. Kind of like very fluffy scrambled eggs.

I would tell everyone who hasn't tried one to not be intimidated by them - they're impressive but fairly easy if you follow the steps.

How about doing a frozen fruit souffle? They sound delicious.

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Carolyn,

Do you typically brown the tops of the souffles? I couldn't tell from the photo whether they were or not. My best chocolate souffle had a very crispy top and the inside was creamy chocolate, yum.

I guess I've had beginner's luck with souffles and I regularly make 2 egg souffles that turn out well. I've also not noticed a difference between making one with a bain marie or without. Just the other night I made a cheese souffle with aged gruyere, had one right out of the oven for a light supper with salad, then refrigerated the other one. I had that one this morning at work, heated up in the microwave and it was very tasty. Kind of like very fluffy scrambled eggs.

I would tell everyone who hasn't tried one to not be intimidated by them - they're impressive but fairly easy if you follow the steps.

How about doing a frozen fruit souffle? They sound delicious.

Thanks, Sequim;

I'm slightly confused about your question -- do you mean do I brown the top with a torch or broiler? Typically, the souffle will brown itself in regular baking. The chocolate ones did not brown that much, but have another recipe for a chocolate-brownie souffle (a bit of instant espresso in the mix adds a "burnt" taste akin to a brownie) and for that, the top seems to crust a bit more.

I didn't discuss frozen souffles as (I indicated), to me, they are replicas of the baked version. For a frozen souffle, one typically tapes stiff cardboard or aluminum foil around the souffle dish, make a base (usually with cooked egg yolks), let cool and fold in the eggwhites, place in the dish and freeze. When solid, the collar is removed and you have a frozen confection that resembles a baked souffle.

I guess as a child of the '60s and '70s, I saw too many of these frozen things served at my mother's "coffees" and I don't find them particularly appealing. Maybe I'll have to reconsider....

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No, I meant brown in the oven. The reason I ask is that I love it when the tops get brown and crispy but I can't always achieve that. Since my first perfect chocolate souffle with the crispy top and creamy center, my other two didn't get the nice brown top.

Oh I didn't know that the frozen souffles had "their time" and were done to death :laugh: I saw a photo of one in a recent newspaper and it looked beautiful.

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No, I meant brown in the oven.  The reason I ask is that I love it when the tops get brown and crispy but I can't always achieve that. Since my first perfect chocolate souffle with the crispy top and creamy center, my other two didn't get the nice brown top.

Oh I didn't know that the frozen souffles had "their time" and were done to death  :laugh:  I saw a photo of one in a recent newspaper and it looked beautiful.

Truth be told, a "crispy exterior" generally means the souffle has been overbaked because then it gets chewy....

For you it means perfection and it may be hard to accomplish each time.


Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)

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All,

I made my first souffle for v-day. It was OK. Brown on top. Rose about 1-2 inches. A bit cakey and a bit wet. I have no frame of reference for a good soulfee. Mine was salmon, swiss and parmesan with some green onion tops...How wet is it supposed to be in the middle when done? Any advice. BTW I halved the basic recipe from the Basic souffle, the roux and bechemel was very thick.

Marc

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I was also inspired to make my first souffle tonight. I halved the chocolate souffle recipe and was surprised at how quickly and easily it all went together. They emerged light and proudly puffed from the oven, and tasted heavenly. I will be making these again very soon!


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Regarding the discussion of oven placement and internal oven temperature. Some ovens have a selection "Bake" and "Convection Bake". Which method is preferrable for baking souffles?

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All,

I made my first souffle for v-day. It was OK. Brown on top. Rose about 1-2 inches. A bit cakey and a bit wet. I have no frame of reference for a good soulfee. Mine was salmon, swiss and parmesan with some green onion tops...How wet is it supposed to be in the middle when done? Any advice. BTW I halved the basic recipe from the Basic souffle, the roux and bechemel was very thick.

Marc

Hmmmm... interesting -- I wonder if it had anything to do with the salmon being too moist. It should not have been very wet in the middle, but light and fluffy. Then again, if you look at my first attempt, it was definitely too wet due to the asparagus!

Was your salmon flaked or still chunky?

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Regarding the discussion of oven placement and internal oven temperature. Some ovens have a selection "Bake" and "Convection Bake". Which method is preferrable for baking souffles?

When we were setting this class up for editing, Jackal asked a similar question. I'm afraid that in my almost 40 years, I've never had access to a convection oven.

The only information I could find online about convections ovens instructs:

Most recipes can be adjusted for convection oven use by decreasing the temperature by 25 degrees F and decreasing cooking time about 25%. Dishes with cooking times over 45 minutes, and that might dry out too much (like lasagna, or meatloaf) you should cover for the first half of the cooking time, and then remove the cover.

With that information, my instict would tend towards the "Bake" as opposed to "Convection Bake" but if *someone* were willing to conduct an experiment and try out the two, I would LOVE to know the differences!

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At school, they tell us not to use convection.

The reason? The damn' blower will splatter your delicate egg whites all over the inside of the oven, which is then a right pain in the arse to clean.

Mind you, domestic ovens may not generate quite the gale that ours do at school.


Fat=flavor

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Carolyn,

Thanks again for your help. With your blessing I was able to make the base ahead of time, so my valentine only had to wait about a half hour for her surprise souffle. Of course, she had long ago guessed what it was, but it's the thought that counts. I got roughly a 20% rise, which seems respectable, and the texture was light as air. That was fun; I'll have to try a savory version next. Dungeness crab abounds.

Thanks,

Walt


Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA

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You probably addressed this in the lesson but I was not sure--

what is the inside supposed to be like? Do you have a picture showing that? I've read that French cooks make theirs sort of "runny" and consider American souffles overdone--is this the "chewiness" you mentioned in another Q&A? What degree of firmness am I looking for? Softer than custard, firmer than custard sauce?

I ask partly because I was with a friend at a restaurant and she thought the souffle she ordered wasn't done--the egg was not entirely firm at the center. (Of course they just ran it back to the kitchen and into the microwave for her, and it came back dried out to the point of being overdone. It was probably frozen and reheated, anyway). I didn't know if it was "right" or not, although clearly not right for her.

Another problem is sometimes I fold in the egg whites and they don't blend with the base, I have little bits of foam in the midst of things. What am I doing wrong there, do you think?

Thanks. This was a really helpful class.

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The inside should be just runny - like a when you cook an omlette.

You are cooking in a hot oven, and the whipped egg mixture is a poor conductor of heat, so when the outside is done, you get a little bit of raw mix in the middle.

When you mix the egg with the base you should end up with a few bits of white unmixed in. If you mix too hard you deflate the mix. The normal trick is to "lighten" the base by mixing in well a spoon or two of the beaten egg white, then mix that with the rest of the egg white by folding gently with a metal or plastic spoon, or the whisk.

BTW when I make souffles, I usually leave out the flour or roux.

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