Aging egg whites helps to create a more stable meringue for baking perfect macarons. Here's a simple tutorial that will teach you how and a discussion on if it's really needed.
What is Aged Egg Whites?
Aged egg whites are ones which have been separated and left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours so that the proteins inside can relax, making it easier to whip to volume. It's very important to use aged egg whites for baking macarons because a lot of problems derive from a poorly prepared meringue. All good macaron recipe rely on a good meringue to help the macaron shells develop. To build a good foundation for a healthy meringue, start with aged egg whites.
How to Age Egg Whites?
To age egg whites, start with cold eggs and separate the whites from the yolk with an egg separator like the one you see in my video. Keep it in a non-plastic container for a minimum of 24 hours. This process helps to dehydrate it and relax the proteins inside the whites, thereby, preventing over whipping while creating a strong meringue with stiff peaks.
Do I really need to age my egg whites?
Some bakers do not believe in aging the egg whites and claim it's one of those myths surrounding macaron baking. Yes, you can definitely bake macarons with fresh egg whites. I have done so on many occasions. However, I still always leave aged egg whites in the fridge every few days because I want to make sure I have them on hand whenever I need to bake macarons.
World renowned macaron pastry chef, Pierre Herme, recommends the aging process in his popular Macarons cookbook and this is also what I've seen done at the bakeries. I find aged egg whites do whip up easily and have a "drier" consistency. When it whips up more readily, they are less apt to be over whipped.
I know how frustrating it is when macarons don't work out and you feel like you've wasted your ingredients and several hours in the process. If you age your egg whites, it will act as extra insurance and that never hurts. If things still don't work out, then at least you can rule out the fact that aged egg whites were not used. Once you are able to make macarons successfully, you can skip the aging process and go from there.
Step By Step
Clean and dry hands and other kitchen utensils that are to be used.
Wipe down non-plastic bowls with some vinegar or lemon juice to remove leftover oils.
Set an egg separator over a bowl for holding the egg whites. Have another bowl handy for holding the separated egg yolks.
Crack the eggs while cold.
Transfer the egg yolk into another bowl. To avoid compromising the integrity of the entire amount of egg whites if the yolks burst, crack each egg and then transfer the egg whites to a bowl dedicated to keeping the egg whites.
Pour the egg whites into a measuring cup and weigh out the amount you need for your recipe.
Place plastic wrap over the the measuring cup.
Poke a few large holes in it. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. You can keep the egg whites in the fridge for up to 2-4 days.
- 50 grams of egg whites
- 3 small non-plastic bowl for cracking eggs
- non-plastic measuring cup
- egg separator
- lemon juice or vinegar
- plastic wrap
- container for holding yolks
- Clean and pat dry hands. Meringues cannot whip up properly in the presence of yolk, oil and water.
- Wipe down mixing bowls with some lemon juice or vinegar to remove leftover oils.
- Crack the cold egg into a small non-plastic bowl. (Cold eggs are easier to separate than warm eggs.) Separate egg whites, making sure to leave no traces of egg yolks. Cracking the egg into the extra bowl on the side will ensure that if you make a mistake, your entire portion of egg whites will not be compromised.
- Place the yolk in the yolk container and then pour the egg whites into the measuring cup. Do this for each egg.
- Make sure to measure the exact amount of egg whites the recipe calls for. You’ll find that egg whites can weigh a little less after a few days of dehydration in the fridge. So, in my best macaron recipe, measure out the egg whites BEFORE aging it.
- If yolks do get into the egg whites, just scoop it out with the egg shell. you’ll find that the yolk is easily attracted to the shell.
- Place plastic wrap over the the measuring cup and then poke a few large holes in it. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. You can keep the egg whites in the fridge for up to 2-4 days.
- Set it out at room temperature for 20 minutes before you start baking.
- Follow the next step to Making Perfect Meringues for Macarons
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Note: This post was first published on September 15, 2016.