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Playing with souffles

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Jenise

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Playing with souffles

by Jenise » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:54 pm

About 20 years ago I made a souffle and have not made one since. That one worked out just okay. And because I didn't understand the science of it and didn't have internet sources at my disposal to help trouble shoot exactly which step was at fault, I simply abandoned the whole category.

Lately, I decided to go back and master this. Today was the first step, with several data points that I wanted to consider. One, would xantham gum put some backbone in the egg whites? Citronelle chef Michel Richard claims it does, and so I added some. Now here's the stupid part: I didn't do one without so I have no idea exactly what I learned, but I was hoping to get a lot of lift without having to use collars--that was the selling point.

I also wanted to find out if a souffle would work in a square ramekin. I guessed not so well, but wanted to know as I have a lot more square ramekins than round and it would be great for me personally if that worked out. Toward that end, I made two square and two round.

As you can see from the picture below, the round worked beautifully and the squares, not so much. You can see that they didn't peak at all, but what you don't see from the angle I took these at is that each also had a lava flow-like eruption out the other side of the dish.

Back to the drawing board!
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My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Playing with souffles

by Mark Lipton » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:32 am

Yeah, Jenise, from a physics perspective the square shape is unlikely to work as well. The beauty of the round shape is that at all points on the interior surface, the force of the expanding egg whites is directed exactly perpendicular (or "normal" in physics-speak) to the surface of the container. That's important in directing the motion of the growing souffle upward. In the square, the force is often directed at an oblique angle to the surface of the container, allowing the growing souffle to slide off the surface and go a direction other than straight up. Dunno about xanthum gum, but I've had reasonable success with souffles using the traditional recipe and round ramikins. A good oven is a big help, natch.

Those look quite yummy, BTW.

Mark Lipton
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Playing with souffles

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:47 am

Jenise wrote:...I was hoping to get a lot of lift without having to use collars--that was the selling point.

A collar isn't so difficult to fashion, is it?
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Re: Playing with souffles

by Jenise » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:00 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:
Jenise wrote:...I was hoping to get a lot of lift without having to use collars--that was the selling point.

A collar isn't so difficult to fashion, is it?


I don't own straight pins with which to afix a collar. I suppose I could have tied them with kitchen string, and after making that first batch I really would like to use collars--somehow it doesn't look like a real souffle to me without that classic lateral poof.

What I made tasted great and the texture was perfect, too the round ones looked just like Michel Richard's. But, what I said above.

And Mark, thanks. Without being able to describe it in physics terms, that's about what I figured--at least that the corners would somehow misdirect the rising because the egg mixture could not crawl evenly up the sides and toward the center.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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