10 Tips to make a perfect souffle

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10 tips to make a perfect souffle
The mere mention of a souffle can be enough to make any cook weak in the knees. These 10 tips will show you how to make a perfect souffle and have you reaching your puff potential in no time.

1. Understand the basics

Souffles have two parts -- a custard base and whipped egg whites -- that combine to create the soft, gooey deliciousness that is the souffle. They can be sweet -- think chocolate -- or savory -- think cheese -- but the trademark is its ability to rise and float above the rim of the dish it's baked in.

2. Embrace the fall

Most cooks regard a fallen souffle as a failure but they're supposed to fall. Souffles get their rise when the steam produced by a hot oven finds its way into the tiny air bubbles in the whipped egg whites, causing them to expand and lift the souffle. Once removed from the oven and the heat, it's natural for them to deflate. Feel better?

3. Get ready. Get set.


Timing is a big part of souffle success so having all of your ingredients properly prepared and ready to go will make your road to souffle success much easier.

4. Choose your baking dish wisely

A baking dish with smooth, straight sides will make it easier for your souffle to rise. Souffles baked in smaller dishes or ramekins are more stable and are easier to serve, so give these a try to boost your confidence.

5. Build your custard base

The whipped egg whites get all the glory, but whether a combination of flour, butter, milk and cheese or melted chocolate, butter and egg yolks, the custard base brings the flavor. Warm custard plus delicate egg whites equals soupy mess, so be sure let your custard cool to room temperature before folding in the whites.

6. Whip it good

Properly whipped egg whites can mean the difference between a souffle that rises and one that doesn't. Pay attention to whether your recipe calls for soft peaks -- whites that lean to one side or fall over when the beater is pulled through them -- or stiff peaks -- whites that stand at perfect attention.

7. Fluffed, now fold

Folding the whites and custard together is the most important step in souffle making. You -- or your mixer -- have whipped your whites full of air. Don't un-do that work by stirring the whites too vigorously. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients at the bottom of your mixing bowl over repeatedly until everything's nicely incorporated. 

8. Bake and Shake

Souffles are best baked just until done. Over baking can lead to a dry, cakey dish instead of the light, fluffy consistency we love. Properly cooked souffles will be firm on the surface, but jiggle just a little when the baking sheet is gently nudged.

9. Look but don't touch

Serve souffles immediately so your guests can admire your handiwork before the fall, but advise them not to taste until the souffle's had time to cool. Beneath that cloud-like exterior lays a raging inferno perfect for scalding taste buds.

10. Pat yourself on the back

You made it through, even if your souffle didn't make it to the table before falling. Besides, that's what whipped cream is for.


Chocolate Souffle Recipe
Serves 4

This basic chocolate souffle is a snap to pull together. Its slightly crunchy top melts away to reveal a soft, gooey center. Serve with sweetened whipped cream to cut the richness of the chocolate.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for ramekins
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg yolk
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Generously butter four six-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

3. Melt chocolate and two tablespoons butter together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

4. Stir egg yolk into cooled chocolate. Chocolate will stiffen slightly. (It will look like chocolate frosting.)

5. Whip egg whites to soft peaks in a stand mixer or by hand. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites and continue whipping until whites are at stiff peaks.

6. Spoon about a cup of the whites into the chocolate and stir until fully incorporated and no white streaks remain. (This first batch of whites is added to lighten the chocolate, making it easier to fold into the remaining whites, so it's ok to stir instead of fold here.)

7. Gently add the chocolate to the remaining egg whites, folding carefully until fully incorporated and mixture is uniformly brown with no white streaks.

8. Spoon batter into prepared ramekins, filling each ramekin about three-quarters full. Use a damp paper towel to wipe any chocolate away from the edges. (Chocolate drips will cook and harden before your souffle is done and may prevent your souffle from rising evenly.)

9. Bake 17 -- 20 minutes until souffles are puffy but still jiggle slightly when the baking sheet is gently nudged.

10. Remove the souffles from the oven and immediately place each ramekin on a small plate topped with a napkin or doily to keep the ramekin from moving while in transit.






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