Whisking egg whites

Simon Rimmer shows you how to get the most volume from your egg whites.

Whisking egg whites

Whether you're making a soufflé, mousse or meringues, you want a good volume from your whisked whites for a lighter dish.

There are a few tricks to this:

  • Use eggs that are a few days old at room temperature as these will whisk to a greater volume.

  • Make sure that both the bowl and whisk are clean and dry as fat will inhibit the incorporation of air. A glass, stainless steel, or best of all copper bowl will be better for whisking egg whites in than a plastic bowl which is harder to keep grease free. You can rub the inside of the bowl with a little lemon juice to be extra cautious.

  • When separating the eggs, make sure you don't get any flecks of yolk in the white as the fat will stop the whites whisking properly.

  • You can add a pinch of salt or cream of tartar to help stabilise the whites before whisking.

  • Whisk gently at fist, to break up the whites, then increase the speed to incorporate more air. The whites will become foamy and translucent. For most recipes you want the whites stiff and glossy, not dry. At this stage, when you lift the whisk it should form peaks with tips that gently droop. As you go on whisking, the whites will become firmer.

  • Be careful not to over beat the egg- they will begin to separate and become grainy as the water leaches out. At this point they are unsalvageable and you'll have to start again.