Food Friday: Egg Whites & Yolks

16 03 2012

Last week, we talked about separating eggs so this week, we’ve got lots of tips on using egg whites and egg yolks. Let’s jump right in!

Egg Whites:

  • If a speck of yolk gets into the whites, it can prevent your whites from reaching their full volume, so use the corner tip of a paper towel to remove it.
  • Copper reacts best chemically with egg whites to form the fluffiest, highest-peaking whites. If you don’t have copper, use stainless steel or glass, but since these don’t provide as much traction, add a little cream of tartar. Don’t use aluminum, as this can color the egg whites. Plastic or wooden bowls also can contain traces of previous mixes, and will prevent your egg whites from reaching their highest rise.
  • Sugar will also help eggs to reach their highest-peaking.
  • If you’re using a mixer, beat the eggs at a medium-low speed, then stop the mixer just before the whites reach the desired consistency and use a whisk to finish by hand. This will prevent overbeating, which can cause the eggs to become dry.
  • If your recipe calls for frothy or foamy, it refers to a semiliquid state with lots of big bubbles. For soft peaks, the peaks should fall gently on themselves. For stiff or firm peaks, the mixture should stand straight up.
  • Use egg whites within a minute or two of beating  to prevent losing volume.
  • How to fold — using a large rubber spatula, quickly and gently cut the middle of your mixture. Bring the bottom of the batter up and over remaining mixture. Rotate the bowl and continue to fold with each motion. Stop folding when no white streaks remain. If it’s a very heavy mixture, fold in the whites a quarter at a time.

Egg Yolks

  • If you have leftover egg yolks, fill a small container with cold water, then slide the yolks into the water, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Occasionally, you’ll find a small blood spot on the yolk. This is a natural occurence caused by a vessel rupturing on the surface of the yolk and it will not affect the flavor or quality. You can remove the spot with the tip of the knife.
  • To inhibit the eggs from getting gelatinous, add a bit of salt or sugar and beat to combine. (Use salt if you plan on making a savory recipe and sugar if you plan on using them in a sweet dish.) You can freeze this mixture for up to 3 months.
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