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Old 02-08-2007, 02:17 AM   #1
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Hi, Cooking NewB - How to beat egg whites


Just thought I would introduce myself. I'm a 49-year-old man...divorced...and wanting to learn more about cooking. I have certain talents but know very little about real cooking. I can usually toss in ingredients without measuring them and guess at what the ingredients should be.

But I have a limited repetoire. Mostly stews, soups, stir fry, chili and similar and I want to learn more. My new Mother in Law keeps complimenting my cooking even though I'm really not very good, so I want to learn more.

One of the recipes I'm trying right now is Chile Rellenos. I love all kinds of spicy foods! I've done tacos, enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, etc, but Chile Rellenos are a different story!

The first big problem I ran into is that the recipe (actually, I conglomerated several recipes) calls for a batter in which you're supposed to separate egg whites and whip them until they "form stiff peaks". I went to howto.com and looked up separating egg whites and I thought I got it right. As far as I can tell, there is no yolk in the whites at all, but no matter how long I mix, or at what speed (in the blender), they don't form stiff peaks. I'm kind of stumped at this point and don't know what to do.

Any advice?


Skye (with the pancake on his head :-)


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Old 02-08-2007, 02:44 AM   #2
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Ok first off you don't want to be using the blender for this task. You will want to use an electric egg beater, this will beat air into the eggs making them expand in size by a fair amount. The eggs are stiff peaked when you take out the beater and the eggs form a peak which doesn't flop over at the top. You will not achieve stiff peaks if you get a bit of yolk into the egg whites or there is any fat left over in the bowl, so it is best if you use a metal bowl.

Once you have reached stiff peaks adding the egg whites to the mixture you don't want to lose the air you just put in, so you use a folding method basically what you do is go under the mixture and pull it over the egg whites until its incorperated kind of like the motion used when folding a piece of paper in half.

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Old 02-08-2007, 02:47 AM   #3
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Hi Skye, welcome to DC! As to your egg white problem, firstly, your eggs have to be very fresh, meaning that the egg whites are not runny during separation. There should not be any trace of egg yolk in the whites. Secondly, your bowl and your mixer whisks should be very clean, that is, free of oil. Once this is in order, begin whisking the whites until it reaches a stiff consistency. You can now add it to your dish.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:45 AM   #4
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Welcome along! I have nothing to add to the previous commnts - execpt to say, ahem, they are right!

Good luck with the egg beating!
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:32 AM   #5
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Hi and welcome! Love the pancake!!
Accentuate the positives, medicate the negatives ~ Amy Sedaris
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:00 AM   #6
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It is entirely possible to whip them by hand with a whisk if you don't have a mixer. But hand mixers are really cheap and most big supermarkets and hardware stores carry them.

The "Stiff peak" stage is achieved when you pull the whisk or beaters out of the bowl and the egg whites form a peak that stays upright and makes a point without falling. If the peak's point flops over, then you are at the "soft peak" stage.

It's always important not to overwhip your egg whites, so check their stage frequently.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:11 PM   #7
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Hello Skye and welcome to DC.

Jill and Jolie
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:15 PM   #8
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Bienvenue, Skydancer. I'm a little confused.
You say you're divorced, but you have a new MIL?

Anyway, another tip for stiff egg whites is to add a smidge (1/8 tsp?) of cream of tartar to help them stand at attention.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:37 PM   #9
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That confused me too Mudbug....

I quite regularly whip the whites by hand....as the hand mixer is my ONLY gadget where I am now even using that can seem a faff! Just when you think you should give up they start to stiffen. But hand mixers are so cheap that its worth picking one up IMO.
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:15 PM   #10
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Sure you can mix it by hand but it takes much longer (well longer then im willing to spend). Mudbug that measurement sounds about right i normally throw in a pinch, ive occasionally thrown in a bit of salt when theres no cream of tartar left it does the job but not as well.

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