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“Rising to the occassion” – The Science behind Souffles

February 28th is National Chocolate Souffle Day. As it is National Chocolate month, We’d like to end the month long celebration on a high note; with the delicate and impressive culinary treat known as the souffle. A great finish both as a spectacle as well as dessert, souffles have impressed dinner guests over the years, but many are afraid to even try them, thus avoiding a chance at an awesome learning experience.

CaliPlate is all about adventure, whether inside or outside the kitchen. We decided to do a little research into what makes a souffle rise

The rising action actually comes from the egg yolks themselves. In order to make a souffle that rises, you need to separate the egg yolks (fat) from the whites (protein) themselves. In this article from NPR, Jeffrey Buben explains that the secret to separating your eggs is to crack the egg on a flat surface to minimize stray shells in the souffle,  you also want to avoid what he refers to as “goldfish”, small bits of egg yolk in the whites, or else the rise you expect will never happen, due to the fact that beating the egg whites creates a seal around the air being whipped in. You must beat the egg whites until they have lose their shiny luster and form peaks when the wire whisk is lifted from the bowl.

The other tricks? Work quickly, move gently and use a clean bowl (you can clean your bowl and wire wisk with a bit of white vinegar). As you work quickly, beating the air into the egg whites, the air from the egg whites is slowly escaping; by moving gently, you avoid breakage of the air pockets inside the egg whites. Finally, for your sweeter souffles, butter your dish, then dust with a layer of sugar for the egg whites to “grab” onto

Wanna give it a try? Here’s a recipe from epicurious.com to take a crack at. Hope you’ve enjoyed our science lesson, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Partnered with Gabrielle Rinehart, former California girl and current Pastry Chef in the delightfully rainy city of Portland, OR for this article

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