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Swiss Meringue

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello

 

I'm a baking and pastry student at the CIA, top of my class, highly motivated and ambitious; however, an issue has risen that has made me question all of my abilities.

 

I'm currently on my "externship" in Sweden, living with a friend of mine while I work. I had made some lemon curd for them, and since there was extra I was going to make a simple dessert that required a meringue. I decided I'd make a stiff swiss meringue so that I could pipe it with some height.

 

Like the million times I've made it before, I weighed out my ingredients, 2:1 sugar to whites, put them over a double boiler (only electric stoves in this country >.<) whipped by hand until the sugar was mostly dissolved while bringing it to 140 degrees F. Once temperature was reached I immediately put it in the mixer and whipped on high till cool, roughly 10ish mins.

 

However, it didn't come out stiff.

 

I attempted to troubleshoot the issue.

 

Is it possible somehow I got fat into the mixture

Did I bring it to the wrong temperature

Did I measure incorrectly

Maybe I should use an acid

 

I did a controlled experiment today.

 

150g of egg whites

300g of sugar

 

All equipment washed, and then wiped down with ättika (a pure swedish vinegar). Whipped the entire time making sure as much of the sugar as possible was dissolved. Calibrated thermometer (also wiped with ättika) sitting in the mixture, but not touching the bowl. Immediately put on the mixer and whipped on high for 10 mins.

 

Results...same as before...a soft meringue that would not hold it's shape at all.

 

Uncontrollable variable

Forced to use an Electrolux Assistent, with a plastic bowl and dual whisks that rotate around a central spire. I'm thinking it's rpm is too low, or that because the motor is in the bottom below the bowl, it's preventing the mix from cooling.

 

I don't usually have trouble adapting, but it makes me want to hit small children...with a chair. KitchenAids cost a minimum of 900 USD here

 

I need a definitive reason why this is happening, or someone to tell me it's not my fault. I just feel like I'm being defeated by one of the simplest things to make and it has me so god damn frustrated.

 

Sorry for the longwindedness.

post #2 of 12

Would altitude have anything to do with it? Or humidity? May be the plastic bowl. Do you have a separate stainless steel or copper bowl you can use and do it by hand? More work but possibly more successful.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Only 92 feet above sea level. French meringue came out fine in the plastic bowl, but I'll try a much smaller scale with a hand mixer and metal bowl, later on.

post #4 of 12

I would have gone with an Italian Meringue if you were going for a lemon meringue pie type of dessert.... but you can still just pile on and then swirl the Swiss Meringue on the filled tart shell and torch it,  Since your French meringue worked (it has confectionery sugar added to it?), your bowl is probably fine (otherwise you would have seen the French meringue have problems). 

post #5 of 12

How old were the eggs?

 

Old whites whip better then fresh ones....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 12

check your oven temp it may be off. I bake mine at 180 degrees. Usually let the bread ovens cool to 180, shut down the ovens then put the meringues in overnight.

Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was going to make nests with the meringue, i used a small star tip to pipe a circular base, but by the 3rd one, the first had melted into itself to form a nice little meringue puddle. I know an italian would have been better, and that a french would have been sufficient, however, i like the results i get with the swiss, and it was a simple dessert so i didn't want to bother with cooking sugar. I know all about Oven temp is irrelevant. I know old eggs are preferred with meringues, but they are not required to make a proper one.

 

I'm looking for reasons as to why my swiss meringue would not whip to stiff peaks.

post #8 of 12

Has this ratio worked for you before?  I think you need more sugar.... I go with 4 whites to a cup of sugar (7 oz) when making individual pavlovas (also include some corn starch and vinegar sprinkled and folded in at the end before piping)...

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phustercluck View Post

 I know all about Oven temp is irrelevant. I know old eggs are preferred with meringues, but they are not required to make a proper one.

 

I'm looking for reasons as to why my swiss meringue would not whip to stiff peaks.

 

But you never said how old the eggs were, and are you sure Oven temp is "irrelevant"?

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 12

Reduce sugar
 

1:1 whips to stiff peak very quick, however does not have the same stability

 

imagine the sweetness of eating 1 : 2

 

Try 1 : 1.5 or 1 : 1.25 whites to sugar

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yes, this ratio has worked many times in the past, without at acid, with fresh eggs. I don't know the freshness of the eggs while at school but I'm thinking they're relatively fresh considering how quickly we go through them.

 

120g (4 whites*30g per white) with 198.45g (7 oz sugar) would be less sugar not more. My apologies if it was just sarcasm that went over my head.

 

Oven temp is irrelevant because I was having issues prior to the baking stage.

 

I was just looking for some insight as to why my meringue may have failed, when I've had no issues with it in the past. I've in fact never really adjusted the ratio I use, due to it not failing and not needing a different strength.

 

You have my thanks for a helpful and understanding response on my first post. :)

post #12 of 12

I wasn't being sarcastic; I was just giving the ratio I use for pavlovas, which is what I thought you meant by little nests.  It's a different method entirely - more like French Meringue so I should not have mentioned it at all, actually.  It's useless as advice for the Swiss Meringue problem you're trying to solve, sorry.

 

If the Swiss meringue is flopping and not holding it's shape, and yet when you make French meringue in the same bowl/beaters, I'd start trouble shooting too- the basic difference is that when you're heating the egg/sugar mixture for Swiss, the sugar dissolves with the action of the heat being applied.  If your french meringue doesn't collapse then I don't think the problem is in the beater or the bowl. I'd start looking for other culprits: how hot the eggs/sugar are getting when you heat them?  Speed of the mixer when whipping?  Have you tried to make Italian meringue in this beater (just out of curiosity)....

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