The Fresh Loaf

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Souffle fell!

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Allenph's picture
Allenph

Souffle fell!

I'm new to baking, and it's probably ill advised but as you may know, I'm in it to make my OWN recipes. :)

After doing some research, I decided to go right for what I perceived as the holy grail, souffles. After doing some research, I came up with this.

My lemon souffle recipe is...

(4 Eggs)

Custard- 
Yolks
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Flour

Meringue-
Egg Whites
1/4 Sugar

What I did:

I started by separating the egg whites and the egg yolks, CERTAIN not to include any fats that might ruin my meringue in the form of dirty pans or yolk. Leaving the whites to warm to room temperature, I began working on the custard. I combined all of the ingredients, and beat them with a whisk until it was a smooth slightly thick liquid, close to the consistency of good hot chocolate. I then put my stove on the lowest heat setting, and cooked while constantly stirring for about 25 minutes, when it started to thicken slightly. I let it cool, and as it did it turned a perfect custard yellow, and took on a perfect consistency, while tasting slightly of flour. 

Then, while I waited for my custard to cool, I went to work on the meringue. I added the egg whites to a pristine stainless steel bread mixing bowl, washed my whisk thoroughly, dried it, as not to disturb the fluffing of my egg whites, and began beating. I beat them by hand for about thirty minutes, mostly because I'm a sentimental man, and I felt it would be almost sacrilegious to put so much work into something and use a machine to do it. As it took on a white color, and a texture similar to whipping cream, I added my 1/4 cup sugar in small increments, until I could lift up my whisk, turn it upside down, and have my meringue stay at about a 45 degree angle. Satisfied, I measured out 2 cups of the meringue, approximately half. I added it to a bowl and vigorously stirred it into an equal 2 cups of the now slightly above room temperature custard. I then took the other half of the meringue and gently folded it into the mixture I had already.

After thoroughly mixing, I heated the over to 400 degrees, and added the pan of my souffle batter. This pan mind you is not for souffles, it's a standard round, glass pan (See the picture I included.) that I thought would work. I set the timer for 25 minutes and practically tiptoed away after shutting the oven door gently. The timer went off, and I turned the oven light on to check the souffle. It was golden brown, slightly depressed in the middle, and not overflowing from the pan as I expected all though it had risen. I dared not leave it in any longer, and took it out gently only to spend about two or three hours for the result I posted above.

Not only did it not hold, but it tasted very "eggy."

Looking for pointers, is there anything I did wrong? Adjustments that need to be made to my recipe?

Thanks in advanced, I assume this is the right place, a souffle is "almost" a cake right? :)

Felila's picture
Felila

Before you start tweaking recipes, you need to cook a dish several times, preferably from a recipe known to be reliable. This is particularly true of baking. You invented that souffle recipe? I just now compared it to a recipe I pulled up at random, online, from Martha Stewart. Her ingredients: 8 egg yolks and 10 egg whites (more white than yolk), only 1/2 cup sugar, only 2 tablespoons flour, only 1/4 cup lemon juice. She is using twice the eggs, but much smaller amounts of sugar, flour, and lemon juice. She does, however, call for a cup of whole milk and some butter.

I don't make souffles these days (diet) but when I made them from the Joy of Cooking recipe, they didn't fall. They are essentially a sauce (custard, cheese, whatever) lightly mixed with beaten egg whites and baked. You have to have the right proportion of the heavy ingredients (in the sauce) vis-a-vis the egg whites. Your recipe seems not to do that. 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Felila is right, there needs to be a balance between the ingredients that give structure (flour or starch and eggs) and the ingredients that detract from structure (liquids, fats).  Sugar can do either, depending on how it is used.  Sugar in the custard will detract from structure and sugar beaten into the egg whites can help structure. 

I also agree that starting with a reliable recipe and then tweaking it to suit your taste can save a lot of time.  Developing recipes is part of my job and for me, it generally takes at least 7 or 8 iterations of a recipe (and sometimes a lot more- I can think of a couple that took 20+) to get it where I want it.

If you would like to continue with your recipe, baking small versions in custard cups can help get you through the development stage with your sanity (and waistline) intact.  Most of the time you need to change just one variable per iteration to see exactly what effect it will have.

All that said, if your souffle fell it could be due to a cool oven or not enough structure in the formula.  For starters you could increase the egg whites and shift more of the sugar plus a little of the lemon juice (not too much) to the egg white meringue to give it stability.  

Allenph's picture
Allenph

First, thanks for the help guys, I really do appreciate it. 

Second, there are a few reasons I like to do it the hard way. The first being I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and it's not as satisfying to me unless I reinvent the wheel for some reason. I'm not exactly sure why, but you know. In other words, I don't like to be told, I like to be coaxed and then figure it out myself. Aside from that, I'm a hobby hopper. Once I figure the basics of something out, and can do a few basic projects, I pretty much drop the hobby. I think learning it myself will give me a bit more time here before the jump. :)

Thanks for the recipe, I'll try to change it in that direction. I'll update everyone tonight.

 

Allenph's picture
Allenph

All right my friends, the new recipe, if it can be called mine since it was influenced by someone who is most definitely not me. 

5 Eggs

Custard-
3 Yolks
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 TBSP Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

Meringue-
Egg Whites
1/3 Cup Sugar

Same method I described. Custard tasted awesome, a bit strong in a good way. In fact, I made another batch just for the custard. Meringue fluffed nicely, this time I simply folded all of the meringue into the custard in an attempt to avoid collapse. I tried two small souffles, which collapsed in the oven beyond even eating. The second was larger. It did not fall completely, rather took on a light scrambled eggs texture without becoming very runny, but it still tasted of egg. Hmm...at least I have the weekend to figure it out.

Allenph's picture
Allenph

Succès. I didn't have the right pan, but it did rise, and it did not fall. It was light and airy and delicious. After looking over your responses again, and doing a little bit of research, I added a tablespoon of extra lemon juice to the meringue. I also, covered the cold glass pan with unmelted butter, then coated the sides with cocoa to improve traction for the rising souffle I'm assuming? All though cocoa does not really go well with lemon, and I will probably be trying powdered sugar next time instead, to my amateur eye it seems a success.