1. To whisk by hand, add the egg whites to a large, clean mixing bowl. Hold the balloon whisk between your forefinger and thumb. While tilting the bowl, actively lift the whisk in a quick, repeated motion in order to incorporate air in the egg whites. The egg whites should begin to increase in volume. If the recipe calls for sugar or cream of tartar, add these ingredients. To test the peak’s softness, dip the whisk into the egg whites and remove it from the bowl. If the peak folds over, it is soft; if it stands up straight, it is stiff. Continue whisking until the egg whites have reached the desired consistency. 00:35
2. To whisk using a stand mixer, insert the whisk attachment into the stand mixer. Pour the egg whites into the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on to its highest speed. After about two and a half minutes, the egg whites should achieve soft peaks. To achieve stiff peaks, mix for an additional minute or two. 03:26
What You'll Need
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment
- Bowl for stand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Balloon whisk
- Egg whites (4, divided)
When whipping egg whites or cream, tiny air bubbles become trapped within the mixture. This allows the ingredient to grow larger and lighter, developing either soft, medium, or stiff peaks. Soft and medium peaks hold their shape, but fold over at the top. Stiff peaks stand straight up, or have only slight curls at the tips.
When whisking egg whites, avoid using plastic bowls. The chemical makeup of plastic contains a similar protein to that found in egg yolks, and will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. Metal, glass, ceramic, and copper bowls are all good choices.
Cream of tartar, also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a white powder used for a variety of culinary purposes. It is often found in baking powder, and is used with baking soda in order to help baked goods rise. When cream of tartar is added to egg whites, it increases their stability and volume, which helps to achieve the desired peak and texture.