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Old 11-06-2016, 04:14 PM
ChowderMan ChowderMan is offline
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Default take my souffle, please!

flipping through the channels the other day I ran across America's Test Kitchen doing a "classic cheese souffle" - they said this was a 70's thing that went out of style. dang, and here I been making them right regular; need to stay in more and keep up with food fashion.....

ATK started out with a roux of 6T butter and 6 T flour; they mentioned it was too heavy / too much.... no kidding... they also used all six egg yolks, I use only three.

following up on the idea of souffle-today! - producing a souffle is a lot more about technique than recipe.

two things stand out in the "Oh I can't do that!" world of cooking: breads and souffles
with a tiny bit of practice and attention to detail, neither is even remotely "difficult"

first - there's no leavening in a souffle - it's all in the egg whites. basically, when heated, the tiny air bubbles in the egg whites poof up and make the souffle rise.

so it is important to understand what happens to egg whites when you beat them up with the mixer.... and what 'stiff peaks' are - because inadequate beating of the egg whites does not a souffle make. there are bazillions of on-line videos and some have really bad information. if you are not comfortable about beating egg whites, see the link below. it mirrors my experience and recommendations.

note the pictures and the eventual explanations / video show of soft-medium-stiff-overbeaten egg whites.
I taught my kids how to luv' an egg white simply putting two whites in a bowl and having them whip the eggs whites through all the stages until they broke. pre-Internet, this was my substitute for the WikiLearnIt segment . . . they learned to recognize the various stages and when to stop beating - which btw depends on what you are making....

in the learning stage, if you err, whip the egg whites on the too stiff side. not stiff enough makes for souffle ala' tortilla.

for cheese souffle ala' moi, the next issue is how thick to make the cheese sauce. it needs to be a heavy 'coat the back of a spoon' consistency. this video shows the progress for "coating the back of a spoon" -

too thick and the sauce is difficult to incorporate. too thin and the sauces sinks to the bottom of the whipped egg whites.

in the learning stage, if you err, make the sauce on the too thin side.

if it is too thin, the sauce tends to pool in the bottom of the bowl when you fold it into the beaten egg whites. if the stuff on the bottom is too thin, there's a save/fix/solution: using a wide rubber spatula, scoop out the stiff stuff into the souffle dish and fold in, then drizzle the thinner portion around the edges of the souffle dish. the edges cook fast-(er)-(est) anyway - so the impact is minimized.

so, here's my 'straight&normal' cheddar cheese souffle:

pre-heat oven to 475'F

separate 6 large eggs

make a roux - 3 T melted butter + 3 T AP flour
cook lightly
add milk to get a thickish sauce
add 4-6 ounces cheddar - small chunked
melt cheese
the cheese used affects the get it all melted in and then.....
adjust consistency - too thick it will not incorporate easily, too thin and it will settle out of egg whites....
allow to cool just a couple minutes - do _not_ let it cool too much - it thickens as it cools!
mix in four egg yolks into the sauce, blend well

whip six egg whites to stiff
drizzle warm sauce into egg whites in three batches, folding sauce&egg whites to blend

pour into buttered/floured 3 quart / 2.8 l casserole dish

- bake at 475'F - this promotes rapid rise / bubble expansion; about 10 minutes the top will start to brown
- reduce heat to 425'F - bake 10-15 minutes more
- open door slightly for 30 seconds to spill some heat from the 475'F phase - this violates 'souffle rule #1: never open the oven' but puts the brakes on the crust browning and the 20-30 seconds doesn't seem to hinder the rise.
- when top is as brown as you want, reduce heat to 325' and bake another 10 minutes or so to set the interior.

- if you prefer little to no top browning, use 375'F start to finish.

doing the three stage bake allows a short time window at low temperature to get the crowd to the table. you can turn off the oven and the souffle will "hold its height" for 4-5 minutes - but past that and souffles begin to fall / collapse. they start the collapse as soon as they are removed from the oven - it does not take long - like two minutes! . . . so get everyone in their seat 'for the presentation' before you pull it out of the oven.

a note on sizes:
how many egg whites and how stiff they are beaten and how heavy is the sauce and how rapidly they rise (in the oven) affects how big a dish you need.
in the pix, the brown casserole and the flowered casserole are each about 3 qt / 2.8 l
the all white is a smaller casserole where I got a bit carried away with six egg whites. it drizzled out of the dish onto the cookie sheet below accidentally creating very fantastic "cheese doodles" - if you need a nifty appetizer some time, make a souffle but pipe it onto a greased cookie sheet for "fluffy cheese finger logs...."

pix from history....

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Old 11-06-2016, 04:23 PM
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QSis QSis is offline
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Default Re: take my souffle, please!

Another wonderful post, C-Man!

Does the soufflé collapse at some point when you take it out of the oven? Or when you cut into it?

Obviously, I've never made one.

I have an oval Corning casserole dish, simiar to the one in your last photo, but I think it's a lot bigger. I do have a couple of single serving dishes that might be good to practice on.

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Old 11-06-2016, 05:56 PM
ChowderMan ChowderMan is offline
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Default Re: take my souffle, please!

it will start to fall when it comes out of the oven - as soon as the air bubbles in the egg white cool, it contracts.

the 'fall' accelerates when you cut/spoon into it.

holding it a bit in the oven at a lower temp does let the center 'set up' a bit more - but when over baked the texture goes to 'dry' - every French chef has a very vocal & different opinion on good / bad / horrible . . . so one has to suit oneself (g)
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:54 AM
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Johnny West Johnny West is offline
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Default Re: take my souffle, please!

So many years ago I made one and it fell so assumed it was a disaster and never made another. I'll have to try it again.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:06 AM
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medtran49 medtran49 is offline
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Default Re: take my souffle, please!

As far as falling in a multi-serving souffle, it helps if you plunge the serving utenstils straight down in the center and work outward, rather than scooping from the sides. Don't know why but it does. Even in individual ones that you are pouring a sauce into like . I've made these quite a few times, had it originally in 1 of his restaurants.
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cheese souffle

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