AquariusB Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 3:54am
post #1 of

So I've recently discovered SMBC and IMBC. I figured I'd make IMBC the signature frosting for my cakes since its just, well, beautiful! I've tried making it 8 times in the past 3 days but have only had a successful outcome once icon_sad.gif I followed Warren Browns video/ recipe to a "T" and researched plenty of other blogs just to confirm the process. The only part that keeps tripping me up is when I add the butter. I know it's supposed to fall flat, but 5 out of the 8 times it got really soupy. I was expecting this but after 30 minutes of beating it with the wire whisk it still stayed soupy. I made sure the butter was room temp and the meringue was cooled (I even put it in the fridge) but it never came back together. HELP! I'm wasting sooo much money buying eggs/butter/sugar everyday just to end up throwing it away icon_sad.gif

30 replies
smm99 Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:06am
post #2 of

I tried Warren's IMBC this past week too, following his YouTube vid, and I found that it helped if I got the meringue to stiff peaks before adding the butter. How was yours? Also, I've read that when meringue BCs get "soupy" it is because the meringue is too warm when the butter is added, essentially melting the butter. I know you said your meringue was cool, so maybe you might try whipping it up a little stiffer before adding butter? Anyway, HTH!

SweetSuzieQ Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 4:21am
post #3 of

I found this tutorial really helpful when first starting out:

http://cakejournal.com/tutorials/how-to-make-italian-meringue-butter-cream/

I do my sugar to temp with a candy thermometer instead of how she simply times it but, I pretty much follow the other steps. I once actually took a shower after adding my sugar and switching to the paddle attachment so, it was good and cool when I got ready to add the butter and, it turned out great.

It does sound like you might not be cooling the whites enough before adding the butter. Give it a shot and see how it goes!

scp1127 Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 6:16am
post #4 of

A few more pointers since this is my recipe of choice:

Are your whites whisked to stiff peaks?

Big one... calibrate your thermometer to 212 boiling. A few weeks ago, mine slipped without me knowing it until a sugar work project I had done repeatedly that day all of a sudden failed. Now it is taped in place. If a digital is off, it cannot be calibrated as the reading is random, not just a mechanical movement.

What size mixer are you using? I have three KA's and the Artisan is a real pain. The head gives off just enough heat to keep the meringue from reaching room temp. I had to use the CC trick of packing the perimeter with frozen vegetables. Consequently, I never use my small mixer for European buttercreams.

As others have said, not room temp on the meringue. Feel the bowl and even feel the meringue if you need to.

I use butter that is true room temp, just thumb indentation soft. I find the emulsification takes a little longer, but the friction of the mixer causes heat and this should be taken into account in more powerful mixers. This also insures never having the buttercream too soft.

Hope this helps, Susan

AnnieCahill Posted 1 Feb 2012 , 8:08pm
post #5 of

I make this BC all the time, and I use the same recipe, except I add more sugar. It's all I use really, unless I have to use my American BC recipe for some reason.

I have a 4.5 quart KA which I have had forever. I whip the whites until they are good and stiff, then switch to the paddle when I add the butter. I usually wait about 15 to 20 minutes before I add the room temperature butter and I add it all at once. I start off slowly then gradually increase the speed. It looks rough at points, but it goes from cottage cheese soupy to perfectly mixed in just a few minutes.

I also recommend calibrating your thermometer as Susan recommended, but also switch to the paddle when you add the butter. If it's soupy that tells me the butter was either too soft and it melted or that you possibly overbeat it and broke the emulsion.

AquariusB Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 2:29am
post #6 of

Grrrrr.... I tried it again and a big soupy mess icon_sad.gif I'm becoming more and more discouraged. To answer your questions I have an Artisan. This time after whipping the sugar syrup in there I out it in the fridge to help cool it down, came back maybe an hour later and beat it on low for like 4 minutes, added room temp butter and FAILURE. This actually looks like water versus soup icon_sad.gif I bought a brand new thermometer, so I didn't calibrate it.

KoryAK Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 2:40am
post #7 of

I normally make SMBC, but the times an assistant has left the meringue to sit and then we start it up again (even 20 minutes) it falls flat and never comes back even without the butter.

AquariusB Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 2:51am
post #8 of

I guess I'll try SMBC and see if I can make that work for me.

Goreti Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 3:12am
post #9 of

I've made the smbc for my last 3 or 4 cakes and it came out perfect every time. Fromscratch has a great tutorial. I actually use a little less butter but it still comes out great. I've always eaten a low fat diet and the thought of all that butter scares me. lol

de_montsoreau Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 8:34am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquariusB

Grrrrr.... I tried it again and a big soupy mess icon_sad.gif I'm becoming more and more discouraged. To answer your questions I have an Artisan. This time after whipping the sugar syrup in there I out it in the fridge to help cool it down, came back maybe an hour later and beat it on low for like 4 minutes, added room temp butter and FAILURE. This actually looks like water versus soup icon_sad.gif I bought a brand new thermometer, so I didn't calibrate it.




Your problem seems to be that you put the meringue in the fridge. Once the meringue part sits for a while, it will loose ist "billowy" texture (the air will go out) and when you add the butter the whole mixture will go soupy.
You will need to have patience and let the mixer run on low while the meringue is cooling to room temperature. It is very important not to let the meringue sit motionless.
The meringue should not be cold, just cooled down to room temperature. Touch the top of the meringue occaissionally with your finger and when you feel no difference it should be fine to add the butter which must be, as mentioned before, room temperature also. Best is to take it out of the fridge the day before.

HTH and don't give up, you'll get there.

AnnieCahill Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 11:05am

Let the mixer rip and walk away. Come back in 20 minutes. It should be ready for the butter by then. I don't understand why you put it in the fridge. You need to let it whip on medium high that whole time it's cooling off. It will break down after you put the butter in. But after all the butter is in, it will come together.

LisaPeps Posted 2 Feb 2012 , 5:19pm

Use the whisk attachment when whipping your egg whites, switch to the paddle when you add your butter. It worked for me when I was having issues!

vgcea Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 8:36am

I also had a bit of trouble with IMBC this weekend. I'm wondering if the mixer speed after adding the butter is what caused the issues for me. I've read that for SMBC the mixer should be on the lowest setting after adding the butter. Is this the same for IMBC or will the IMBC still come out right if I keep it on medium high after adding the butter?

LisaPeps Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 9:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

I also had a bit of trouble with IMBC this weekend. I'm wondering if the mixer speed after adding the butter is what caused the issues for me. I've read that for SMBC the mixer should be on the lowest setting after adding the butter. Is this the same for IMBC or will the IMBC still come out right if I keep it on medium high after adding the butter?




It has worked both ways for me! I make IMBC exclusively as my buttercream.

AnnieCahill Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 11:58am

I start out on low just because I add all the butter at once and I don't want to make a mess. But once it looks good and chunky, I crank it up to medium, medium high until it's smooth.

AquariusB Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 1:29pm

So I finally did it! I was able to make 3 beautiful batches of SWISS Meringue Buttercream! I gave up on the Italian Meringue. I went to FromScratchs blog and read and followed her directions exactly! I believe my issue was that I wasn't allowing the meringue to completely cool down to room temp. I would start off whipping it on medium high, then switch to low and let it run for atleast 25 minutes. I noticed that my kitchen aide was hot to the touch so I assume that it was releasing heat to the meringue, by letting it run on low it didn't let off much heat.

Thank you all for your help and advice!!

gbbaker Posted 7 Feb 2012 , 1:57pm

Have you tried Rose levy's recipe? You need a digital thermometer for accuracy. The butter needs to give to your finger when pushed ,but not be greasy looking. I always beat on med low speed for aprox 2 to 4 minutes and slowly add the butter chunks( I stick my very clean finger into the mixture to see if it is cooled down). If it is too soupy you can beat it over an ice bath and whisk quickly, Taking it off the ice to beat with a whisk. Hope that all makes sense.

vgcea Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 3:58am

Thanks AnnieCahill and LisaPeps. I'm going to try again this weekend. I believe I will stick with IMBC, for some reason I have had more misses with SMBC.

AnnieCahill Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 11:47am

Glad you had luck with the SMBC, but you would have had the same results with IMBC had you let the bowl cool down. For those who have never tried IMBC , find Warren Brown's video on YouTube. He goes over the whole process, including letting the bowl cool down.

scp1127 Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 1:23pm

Glad your SMBC worked, but I would suggest that the Artisan is to blame. I have a Pro6 and a 15 year old heavy duty. These two are great mixers.

The Artisan is the one giving off the heat. It is also my newest mixer and there have been design changes that have cheapened these mixers.

The fact that you are using a lower speed on the SMBC is the key to your success. You can do the same thing with your IMBC plus pack the edges with frozen vegetables. Wiping down the head with a cool cloth while mixing will also help.

So if you want to try IMBC again, be aware of the issues with the mixer and you will have success. I personally prefer IMBC. Because the whites are transformed into a confection, they are more stable. I use SMBC, but only on certain recipes. IMBC is also less labor intensive (if you don't have to babysit your mixer) than SMBC.

My advice to anyone looking at a KA mixer is to save and go for the Pro6. The smaller ones just don't compare. We keep these things forever so it is worth having the full use and enjoyment of this machine.

AquariusB Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 1:41pm

I will try IMBC tonight, like many of you mentioned, I believe I wasn't letting my bowl cool off long enough. With my SMBC my mixture never went through that weird stage of being soupy or looking curdled, it just whipped perfectly!

Ooooh, I've never heard of putting a wet cloth over my mixer, I'll try that again tonight, it does get quite warm. I'll keep in mind the Pro 6 mixer also!

Thank you for all of your advice!!

planetsomsom Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 1:33am

oh. I never let my meringue cool down to room temperature, because I don't have a stand mixer and don't want to stir hot meringue for four hours. I usually add the butter right away, and yes it gets soupy.

But that's because the butter melted. As everyone knows, butter hardens at cold temperatures. So a soupy imbc goes into the refrigerator.

One thing I've noticed is that if I put the imbc in the fridge after I end up melting all the butter in the meringue, it doesn't solidify into a solid rock no matter how cold it is.

This makes it way easier to whip it up the next day because I can just start whipping, instead of having to remelt the butter stone. Still have to add heat until is passes curdling stage and then goes into glossy stage, but I've never had it fail on me.

(except for that one time in school that mine crystallized slightly right before a practical test. I cried, lol)

vgcea Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 6:06am

Speaking of "whipping" SMBC and IMBC back up. I tried that and ended up with an aerated mess, air pockets everywhere. It tasted more like butter than the velvety emulsion I had before putting it in the fridge. It got me thinking, does whipping the meringue back up not destroy the delicate emulsion I toiled so diligently (on low or medium-low with a paddle attachment) to create in the first place or am I missing something here?

deuceofcakes Posted 14 Feb 2012 , 3:38pm

If you put a meringue buttercream into the fridge, you need to let it come back to room temperature before you start to 'whip it up' again. If you try to mix it when it is cold, the buttercream will lose some of its fluffiness, and the texture and color will change.

LoriMc Posted 28 Feb 2012 , 4:25pm

While we are on this topic, I made IMBC and SMBC for the first time a couple weeks ago. I had a failure every time I tried to use egg whites from a carton. When I did it with egg whites straight from the egg, there was no problem.

Anyone else have this issue?

vgcea Posted 28 Feb 2012 , 5:43pm

I've only ever made IMBC and SMBC with pasteurized egg whites in the carton. I have found I tend to have better results with my store brand egg whites rather than the fancier brands.

I'll probably try fresh egg whites but I'm so paranoid about Salmonella.

sing Posted 28 Feb 2012 , 5:57pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquariusB

So I finally did it! I was able to make 3 beautiful batches of SWISS Meringue Buttercream! I gave up on the Italian Meringue. I went to FromScratchs blog and read and followed her directions exactly! I believe my issue was that I wasn't allowing the meringue to completely cool down to room temp. I would start off whipping it on medium high, then switch to low and let it run for atleast 25 minutes. I noticed that my kitchen aide was hot to the touch so I assume that it was releasing heat to the meringue, by letting it run on low it didn't let off much heat.

Thank you all for your help and advice!!




Congrats thumbs_up.gif

KoryAK Posted 28 Feb 2012 , 6:02pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoriMc

While we are on this topic, I made IMBC and SMBC for the first time a couple weeks ago. I had a failure every time I tried to use egg whites from a carton. When I did it with egg whites straight from the egg, there was no problem.

Anyone else have this issue?





Many brands will not work. Most that will work will state it on the package and have ingredients to help it whip. Unless you are making large quantities (and then you can buy large quantities of whites wholesale that ARE made for whipping) it's probably best to just use fresh.

sweet_tart13 Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:57pm

Could someone share with me where to find Fromscratch's blog I would love to see what everyone is reccomending to perfecting the meringues.
Thanks in advance

vgcea Posted 3 May 2012 , 5:30pm

Google is your friend.

Type: "Fromscratch SMBC." It's the first link.

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