The Art of making Soufflé!
With their amazing texture of bubbly hot flavoured air, soufflés consist basically of a thick runny sauce combined with whipped egg white and sugar. In French the word soufflé means puffed up and this happens through hot air expansion in the egg foam when this fragile doughs are baked and rise in hot water steam.
Soufflés have been first invented in the late 18th century in France and till today they are still a highly dramatic spectacle on a dinner party or when served in restaurants.
Soufflés are easy to make if certain steps are accurately followed. Mostly they only work if made in larger amounts and if for example you reduce the amount of ingredients to far it has in most cases a disappointing effect on the result.
Soufflés can be served in larger portions than other deserts as they mostly exist of air anyway and when making them follows certain steps like;
- All ingredients must have the same room temperature.
- An even heating oven with a boiling hot water bath inside which will cover the moulds to up to one third with water.
Check if the top and the bottom of your oven heat evenly, if not a good trick is to place a tray wrapped several times with tin foil and place it into the highest tray holder of your oven. Take a second tray, wrap it several times with tin foil and place it into the lowest tray holder, place the hot water bath onto the bottom tray and heat the oven. With this method you create a second oven inside your oven which holds the heat evenly.
- Properly greased heat proved moulds, especially on the top edges of the moulds where the soufflé must rise and bake out of the mould.
- A soft whipped meringue that is still slightly runny to give the soufflé a creamier texture and a more even rising.
- Cook soufflés on the bottom of your oven to allow a more even rising and to prevent the top from burning.
- Soufflés must be undisturbed through their whole cooking process, modern ovens with glass windows are of immense advantage. In the past with older oven models you couldn’t see how a soufflé bakes; nervous cooks tended to check the cooking process by opening the door and create cold air movement and had the collapsing Soufflés as a result.
- Follow exactly the recipe with measurement, oven heat and cooking times.
- Soufflés have to be cooked on the outside and warmed through the centre; if they overcook, they create a watery chewy consistency.
- Fold them through with a spatula too not to lose too much air of the meringue and a whisk shouldn’t be used at all.
- The meringue should be whisked in a stainless-steel bowl.
- Soufflés have to be made just before serving at the very last second, and are given all the attention to serve them as quickly as possible to guarantee a satisfying result.
Classic soufflés are always served in a mould where other versions or soufflé style puddings are made from poppy seeds, polenta, nuts, breadcrumbs, chocolate or other kinds of starch and fats are usually removed from their moulds and served on fruits, sauces, sabayon etc.