We found these handy tips on ehow.com…
Maybe you need to whip egg whites to stiff peaks because you’re baking lemon meringue pie or a souffle, or adding stiff egg whites to your sponge cake, pound cake or baked dessert in order to give it more body. Whatever you are baking, when you whip egg whites to stiff peaks you will use some special techniques and “secret” tips that the recipes often fail to detail. Once you master the process, it’s very easy, but it can be frustrating until then. Here you will find everything you need to know about how to whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
Things You’ll Need:
- Eggs & egg whites
- warm water
- three bowls
- slotted spoon
- electric beater with whisk attachment or WMF whisk
- pinch of salt
- cream of tartar or
- lemon juice or
- vinegar or
- copper bowl (optional)
- Select older rather than fresh eggs if possible. They whip up better.
- Warm the eggs to room temperature. This step should not be skipped unless you have lots and lots of time on your hands and want to be beating egg whites an hour later. Room temperature egg whites are essential for the egg whites to stiffen well. Let the eggs sit out for an hour, or soak them in warm (not hot – you don’t want to cook them) water for a few minutes until they are no longer cold.
- Clean all bowls and utensils well, and dry them.
- Separate the egg whites from the egg. You should end up with a bowl full of egg whites with absolutely no yolk inside.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites.
- Beat using an electric beater with its whisk attachment (the easiest and quickest) or a hand beater, or whisk by hand.
- Beat in the cream of tartar the recipe calls for, or, if not specified in the recipe, 1/4 teaspoon per 2 egg whites of cream of tartar OR lemon juice OR vinegar, midway through whisking. This is helpful to stabilize them and keep them from liquefying again.
- Stop whipping as soon as the egg whites form stiff peaks that don’t droop. Don’t over-beat or the egg whites will destabilize.
- Use the stiffened egg whites immediately in your recipe to assure that they hold their stiff shape.
- Use, if you have one, a copper-lined bowl instead of cream of tartar, vinegar, or lemon juice–the acids that keep the whipped egg whites from liquefying. The bowl will do the job even better and give more loft to the eggs.