About Meringue (Gayle's Bakery)
Author/Submitted by: Gayle & Joe Ortiz, The Village Baker's Wife,
Brenda Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Posted mc&lu 10/12/97
Pies & Pastries
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Egg whites at soft peak are usually whipped without sugar at medium to high speed. They will just barely hold a peak, still look foamy, and slide around freely in the bowl.
Egg whites at stiff peak are usually whipped without sugar at high speed until they will hold their shape and bend only slightly when the whip is lifted away. They should be smooth and slightly wet, not chunky or dry.
A cold meringue is made by whipping egg whites until soft peaks form, then adding sugar and whipping until stiff and glossy.
A warm meringue is made by combining egg whites and sugar then heating the mixture slightly in the top of a double boiler over warm water before whipping. This stable meringue performs well when folded into another mixture.
Italian meringue is made by pouring a hot sugar syrup into a cold meringue as it is whipping. This stiff meringue is most often used in unbaked recipes.
Source: This is book based on bakery goods made at Gayle's Bakery -- opened in 1978 -- in Capitola California (seaside town 90 miles south of San Francisco). The book is called The Village Baker's Wife, by Gayle and Joe Ortiz with Louisa Beers (1979, Ten Speed Press, ISBN 0-89815-869-9). The authors write: "This book is an entire pastry shop between two covers." Prior to this, Joe wrote a book: The Village Baker.
Many recipes are based on a combination of egg whites and sugar, and although the amounts, methods, and techniques vary to create different results, most involve whipping. Proper whipping of egg whites is not as mystifying or difficult as many people think. Following two basic rules wilt usually result in successfully whipped egg whites. First, always use equipment that is totally grease-free. Second, if you're unsure how long to whip the whites, it's usually better to under whip than overwhip them. This is especially true when whipping egg whites with a tabletop or handheld mixer; once you've checked their consistency, you can whip them just a bit longer with a whisk if necessary. Here's an overview of the most common ways to whip egg whites.