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Eggs - Beating Techniques for Whole Eggs and Yolks

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.
Whipping eggs (whole and/or yolks only or whites only) with a portion of the sugar is called the EGG FOAMING METHOD. Beaten eggs are one of the key's to success in making UNSHORTENED (FOAM) CAKES, such as Genoise cakes, and even for souffles, Zabaglione, and other recipes. It is beaten eggs that give the structure and puff or leavening to the recipe. 

Raspberry Cloud Mini-Layer Cake RecipeWhole eggs and/or yolks are often beaten with crystalline dry sugar to ribbon for use in a recipe. Ribbon is a word used in baking to describe their particular consistency. On the other hand, beaten egg whites are described by their peak stiffness(soft to stiff) achieved during their preparation.

SARAH SAYS: To beat four or more whole eggs or egg yolks, I recommend using a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, depending on what you are making. Instead, a hand-held mixer fitted with beaters or a hand-held wire whisk can be used, but hand-held devices take longer. When using a hand held mixer, make sure you circulate it through the mixture as though it were a whisk.

EGG TEMPERATURE
SARAH SAYS: Typical recipes call for room temperature eggs or yolks, but I have found that ones cold from the refrigerator also work. Colder eggs may take a few seconds longer to ribbon, but it will be achieved. It's really the egg's freshness that determines their foamability; newer fresh eggs will reach more volume and have greater stability when beaten than older eggs.

HOW TO BEAT EGG YOLKS WITH SUGAR AND WITH OTHER INGREDIENTS UNTIL THEY RIBBON
Egg yolks and sugar are beaten until the mixture is pale yellow, thiick and forms a ribbon. When the beaters are lifted, a bit of the mixture falls from it and forms a ribbon which slowly dissolves on the surface. This is used with Priscilla's Orange Sponge Cake Recipe.

NOTE: You must use the whisk attachment, not the paddle attachment.

To beat egg yolks with other ingredients:
1. In a mixer bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks to break them up.
SARAH SAYS: Instead of by hand, you can clamp the mixer bowl onto a stand mixer and add the egg yolks. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, and mix the egg yolks on low until combined.

2. Then, add sugar, orange juice, and vanilla and orange extracts(or zest).
SARAH SAYS: Instead of by hand, stop the mixer, and add the ingredients.
NOTE: While the egg yolks are beaten, large amounts of sugar can be added by tablespoons; if too much is added at once, it can cause the yolks to speckle. You beat long enough to dissolve the sugar and the mixture will ribbon.

3. Attach the mixer bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

4. Start with your mixer on medium-low, gradually increasing its speed to high.

5. Stop when the egg yolk mixture is light in color, taking about 4-5 minutes
When you stop the mixer and lift the whisk attachment, the mixture should fall in a ribbon pattern that sits on top of the swirl for seconds before sinking.
SARAH SAYS: That's why it's called ribbon the egg yolks or ribboning!


HOW TO BEAT WHOLE EGGS WITH SUGAR UNTIL THEY RIBBON
Whole eggs and sugar beaten to a beautiful thick, fluffy and foamy light yellow cream. They triple in volume, and fall from lifted beaters in a flat, ribbon-like pattern that sits on top of the swirl for seconds and then, slowly dissolves into the rest of the mixture. That's what is known as "making the ribbon." 

If the mixture is not whipped long enough, it will not be able to hold the ribbon formation. Whipping the mixture too long will make it too fluffy to make the ribbons, resulting in more of a foam consistency. On the other hand, under whipping will make your recipe dense. If you have reached the ribbon stage, stop whipping the mixture and continue with your recipe.

Basic Genoise Cake TutorialNOTE: Warming the ingredients simply helps dissolve the sugar better and improves the emulsifying properties of the eggs, a technique used in the Basic Genoise Cake Tutorial. As a result, it helps them reach maximum volume when beaten.  I like to use superfine sugar because it dissolves faster than regular table sugar. It's very important because if the sugar is NOT dissolved all the way, the egg structure needed for ribboning won't be done correctly.

NOTE: You must use the whisk attachment when ribboning the eggs, and not the paddle attachment.

To accomplish:
1. Hand-whisk the eggs and sugar together in the mixer bowl with a large balloon whisk.

2. Then, heat the mixture about 2 to 4 minutes, until it is foamy, slightly pale, and reads 110 to 120 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

One way is to place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care not to touch the water, and, whisking steadily,
SARAH SAYS: A technique I use when warming the eggs and sugar, is to turn a stove burner on low, and then continually rotate the bowl's bottom over the burner, while whisking. Be careful, because the handle of the bowl gets hot! Hold it with a kitchen mit.


Beat until the eggs are foaming throughout and slightly pale, indicating the sugar has dissolved.
SARAH SAYS: Check and make sure the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a small amount of mixture in between your fingers. It should not be sandy. If it is, stir rapidly until the sugar is dissolved.

To measure the mixture's temperature, remove the bowl from the stove or the simmering water, stir the mixture and, place the end of the thermometer half way in, making sure you don't touch the bottom of the bowl. It should read 110 to 120 degrees F.


When ready, remove the bowl from the heat source or water immediately, and dry the bottom.

2. Fit the bowl to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. 

3. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed (speed #8 on a KitchenAid 325-watt mixer), until it cools to room temperature, triples in volume, the sugar is completely dissolved and is pale yellow in color, taking about 8 to 10 minutes. It should then ribbon. 

SARAH SAYS: The egg foam passes through various stages during beating - it first becomes foamy, then light and aerated and finally it thickens. Take the time to do this carefully. During the last four to five minutes of beating, stop the mixer from time to time and test the mixture for ribbon thickness.

When the mixture ribbons, it should fall from its beaters or a rubber spatula, and hold together like a sheet of batter and then, fall very slowly into a thick ribbon
back into the mixing bowl.


The ribbon will sit on top and then, spread slightly and then, slowly flatten as it dissolves. The ribbon will still have some definition to it in the bowl.


4. Use the ribboned eggs immediately in the recipe.

HOW TO BEAT WHOLE EGGS AND YOLKS TOGETHER WITH SUGAR
For example: Beat the eggs and yolks together with sugar for a total of 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick, fluffy, and triples in volume. This is used with the Vanilla Scented Biscuit Roulade Cake Recipe.
SARAH SAYS: This is a VERY important step.
1. Fit the stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Do NOT use a whisk attachment.

2. Place the large eggs and yolks in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer.

3. Add the sugar.
SARAH SAYS: Do not let the sugar sit on top of unbeaten egg yolks for any length of time.

4. Beat the egg mixture on high speed for a total of 5 minutes or until it becomes thick, fluffy, and triples in volume:
SARAH SAYS: If your egg mixture does NOT achieve this, make a sweet omelet with it, and start again with new!
Here's how:
a. Start the mixer on low for a few seconds and then adjust it to high speed. Beat for one minute.
The mixture will start to look bubbly.

b. Stop the mixer. Scrape the side and bottom of the bowl without squashing the egg foam.
Be gentle.

c. Add the vanilla to the beaten egg mixture.

d. Resume beating on high for 3 or 4 additional minutes, or until thick, fluffy, and triples in volume.
You will have beaten the egg mixture for a total of 5 minutes.