Six Factors That Affect Egg White Foam

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There are several factors that can adversely affect egg white foam.
There are several factors that can adversely affect egg white foam. (Image: 4 eggs image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Creating a perfect mound of freshly beaten egg white foam with soft fluffy peaks is not as easy as it looks on television cooking programs. There are several factors that can adversely affect egg white foam and turn your culinary adventure into a downright cooking disaster. Take these factors into consideration before you even consider cracking open a single egg.

Room Temperature

When it comes to beating egg whites, the temperature of the room can affect the foam. If the room is too cold, it will take longer to whip the foam into creamy peaks. Egg whites that are whipped in a warmer environment quickly transform into light and airy foam.

Traces of Yolk

Even the minutest drop of egg yolk left in the whites will affect the result of the egg foam. The fat in the yolk is the culprit and will cause the egg white to have less volume. When separating eggs great care must be given to ensure that the yolk is completely discarded.

Water

Some recipes call for adding a few drops of water to egg whites prior to beating to help increase their volume. However, adding to much water will deflate the egg whites and render them useless.

Method of Beating

When it comes to whipping egg whites, some chefs prefer electrical appliances while others prefer a large whisk. The good thing about a whisk is that it allows for maximum control of the egg whites whereas with an electrical appliance it is easy to over exert the egg whites, which will deflate the volume.

Overbeating

Egg whites that are whipped up to perfection are very delicate. Even just a couple of extra whips can cause them to deflate. A spatula can be used to carefully fold the egg whites into the remaining ingredients of a recipe.

Bowl Type

Wooden and plastic bowls are very porous by nature and soak up the fat of past food items placed inside of it. Whipping egg whites in these types of bowls will cause the egg whites to absorb trace fat remnants. The egg white foam will deflate and optimum volume will not be achieved. Aluminum bowls cans also adversely affect egg white foam due to a chemical reaction that causes the egg whites to turn gray. Stainless steel or glass bowls are good choices for whipping egg whites. However, a copper bowl is the best choice since it releases an ion called conalbumin, which reacts with the egg white protein to form sturdy high volume foam.

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