Egg White In Frosting Questions - Pro Bakers, Please Help!

Decorating By meredith1851 Updated 21 Jul 2009 , 5:54am by ceshell

meredith1851 Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 13

Hello,
I have a few questions for all the pro bakers out there.
I really like many of the icings that have egg white in them, but the thought of raw egg whites gives me the heebie jeebies. So, I have a few questions I was hoping somebody out there could help answer:

1. Are powdered eggwhites the same as meringue powder. Can I use them interchangeablly?
2. If I want to substitute powdered egg whites in an icing recipe that calls for raw egg whites, do I need to follow the same 'heating' process that is mentioned in the recipe for raw egg whites even though I am using powdered with H2o added, or can I totally skip the heating part and just beat everything? (Basically I am trying to figure out how to NOT use raw egg whites and the candy thermometer method but get the same effect.)

12 replies
PinkZiab Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 5:53pm
post #2 of 13

Okay I've never used powdered egg whites for a meringue application, because to me, nothing gets the results of fresh whites whipped to perfection. I'm curiously as to what, exactly, gives you the "heebie jeebies"? You keep saying "raw egg whites," but you mention a candy thermometer, so I assume you are talking about an Italian Meringue Buttercream. The sugar is MORE than hot enough to cook/pasteurize the egg whites, so there really is no issue--your frosting will not contain "raw" egg whites once the sugar is added (although raw egg whites really aren't anything to be afraid of).

CakeForte Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 6:22pm
post #3 of 13

yeah...what Pink said. The melting point of sugar is higher than the temp that the eggs need reach to be safe and cooked....so I'm not following??

CakeForte Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 6:34pm
post #4 of 13

yeah...what Pink said. The melting point of sugar is higher than the temp that the eggs need reach to be safe and cooked....so I'm not following the "raw egg" train of thought?

meredith1851 Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 6:42pm
post #5 of 13

Yes, I am talking about meringue buttercream. Your comments make sense and it sounds like the heat takes care my raw egg white fear. Thanks for responding icon_smile.gif

Mike1394 Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 6:53pm
post #6 of 13

The egg whites are pasturized when you buy them. That is unless you get them straight from the chicken.

Mike

Mike1394 Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 6:54pm
post #7 of 13

The egg whites are pasturized when you buy them. That is unless you get them straight from the chicken.

Mike

masterchef Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 7:50pm
post #8 of 13

icon_lol.gifpowdered egg whites...???...not 1 Chef in the world uses them...it is considered sacriligious...hehehe...reason being...there is no volume...no gloss...all i can say is give it a shot....Chef Louise

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 7:55pm
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkZiab

Okay I've never used powdered egg whites for a meringue application, because to me, nothing gets the results of fresh whites whipped to perfection. I'm curiously as to what, exactly, gives you the "heebie jeebies"? You keep saying "raw egg whites," but you mention a candy thermometer, so I assume you are talking about an Italian Meringue Buttercream. The sugar is MORE than hot enough to cook/pasteurize the egg whites, so there really is no issue--your frosting will not contain "raw" egg whites once the sugar is added (although raw egg whites really aren't anything to be afraid of).





Ditto.

itsacake Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 11:05pm
post #10 of 13

First of all, let me say that I am not trying to start anything. Everyone should do what works for them. I always use meringue icing. I have three different recipes depending on the effect I want to achieve.

At least in California, shell eggs are not pasteurized unless they specifically say they are. If one wants pasteurized egg whites one needs to find shell eggs specifically marked as pasteurized (these are very expensive here) or buy just the pasteurized egg whites that come in jars or cartons. Some of these say they will not whip, so it is important to find those that do. Because I can't always find these. I always keep the dried kind on hand and frequently do end up using dried reconstituted egg whites, (so here is at least one chef who does use dried egg whites icon_lol.gif ) I've never had a problem with them. Meringue powder is not the same, it has additives.

Rose Levy Beranbaum has a wonderful egg white chocolate buttercream that is not cooked at all. I make it with pasteurized egg whites from the store or with reconstituted dried egg whites. Works fine either way.

I most often make Swiss meringue buttercream because the egg whites and sugar are cooked to 165 degrees (or to 145 and held there for 3 minutes) and I know the whites are then safe to use.

I also make Italian meringue but I've switched to doing that with dried reconstituted whites or with pasteurized whites because every time I did it and poured the hot (250 degree) syrup into the whipped egg whites the temperature of the combination of ingredients did not rise above 120 degrees. This is not sufficiently hot to kill the bad microorganisms. I did this over and over again. The chefs at pastry school said that this is a classic method, but added that eggs today are not as safe as they once were because of the way chickens are raised. They advised caution.

I'm just sharing what I've learned and experienced, so please play nice.

__Jamie__ Posted 20 Jul 2009 , 11:11pm
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by masterchef

icon_lol.gifpowdered egg whites...???...not 1 Chef in the world uses them...it is considered sacriligious...hehehe...reason being...there is no volume...no gloss...all i can say is give it a shot....Chef Louise





icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

PinkZiab Posted 21 Jul 2009 , 2:28am
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsacake

The chefs at pastry school said that this is a classic method, but added that eggs today are not as safe as they once were because of the way chickens are raised. They advised caution.

I'm just sharing what I've learned and experienced, so please play nice.




It's definitely one of those things everyone has to decide for themselves. The chefs at my pastry school said just the opposite: That today's eggs are much SAFER than those of yesteryear and therefore raw egg product poses less risk. Basically we all have to do what we feel comfortable with (and what our local health codes require--this can vary greatly by state, county, and even city).

I use unpasteurized shell eggs in all of my recipes... some I even use raw (my royal icing, especially is fresh egg whites and powdered sugar). I haven't killed anyone yet, so I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep doing what I'm doing lol

ceshell Posted 21 Jul 2009 , 5:54am
post #13 of 13

I had researched this issue several years ago and learned what you all have already concluded: There is no definitive answer as to whether or not the hot sugar syrup definitely heats raw ew to a safe temperature when making a meringue. Some studies conclude that it does, some that it doesn't.

I personally use pasteurized liquid egg whites for my IMBC. I have had success getting every brand whipped into a meringue, except the name brand All Whites (or is it Just Whites...dang I always forget!) -- those won't whip up for me. I've occasionally used powdered and I do detect a different taste but it is very negligible and only noticeable compared to the real thing. I keep them on hand just in case.

Salmonella occurrences in eggs are something like 1 in 20,000 I believe. But like the OP I still get the heebie jeebies about it! Which is ironic because I don't bother playing any lotteries, figuring 1 in 20,000 is pretty bad odds to win...but suddenly with salmonella I am all nervous icon_confused.gif? Also I am a TOTAL batter-eater! LOL. But a few licks of cake batter (OK, a few tbsps of cake batter...ok maybe a small mugful! icon_wink.gif ) compared to a piece of cake slathered in "possibly" raw-egg icing is just too nerve-wracking for me. I can't get over the fear and enjoy it!

If using pasteurized gives you peace of mind, I say go for it. You did already receive your answer about meringue powder though; don't use that, it's not pure egg whites.

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