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Here are some tips and hints for beating egg whites so your recipe works properly:
• For beating egg whites until stiff, use a small deep bowl with a rounded bottom for 4 to 5 egg whites or a large, deep bowl for more.
• You will get more volume when beating egg whites if you first bring them to room temperature.
• You can bring egg whites to room temperature by setting the eggs out on your counter at least 30 minutes in advance of your preparation. For a quick method, place the eggs in a bowl of very warm, but not hot, water for 5 to 10 minutes. If the eggs are already separated, place the egg whites in a bowl in a pan of warm water.
• The bowl itself can make a very big difference when beating egg whites. A copper bowl is ideal, since it will react chemically with egg whites to form fluffy, high peaks.
• When using a stainless steel or glass bowl, add cream of tartar or lemon juice to achieve the same result as with a copper bowl.
• Avoid aluminum bowls which can cause whites to turn gray and wooden bowls, which tend to absorb oils from other usages and can retard your whipped whites.
• The addition of an acid will fluff up your whipped egg whites. It stabilizes the whites and adds volume. Add 1/8 teaspoon of acid ingredient (such as lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar) per egg white, except for meringues, where 1/8 is used for two egg whites. The acid should be added to the whites just as they begin to become frothy during beating.
• Egg whites beaten with sugar combined will not peak as firmly.
• It is best to begin at a slow speed and gradually move up to high when beating egg whites.
• When your egg whites get fluffy...STOP! If you overbeat them, they will liquify again.
• Use beaten egg whites right away. Do not let them sit.