Imbc Problem

Baking By littlestruedel Updated 14 Jun 2012 , 5:55am by littlestruedel

littlestruedel Posted 11 Jun 2012 , 11:09pm
post #1 of 11

I have been making at least one batch of IMBC every week for the past 9 months, and all of sudden in the past few days I am having problems with it!
I foam my egg whites, bring the sugar up to 125 C and slowly add the sugar to the egg whites. In the past, the meringue has not deflated at all, I just crank it up and whip to firm peaks. The past few batches I have made, after adding the sugar, the meringue turns completely liquid and it takes forever to whip it to peaks, and I never seem to be able to get them as firm.

I haven't changed any of my ratios or ingredients and I can't think of anything I am doing differently. The only thing I can think of is that I got a bad batch of egg whites (pretty sure all of my batches have been from the same container of pastuerized whites), or perhaps the eggwhite are too cold? I don't recall ever letting them get to room temp before though.

Any thoughts on why I am having issues?
Here's the ratio I am using:
350gm sugar
100ml water
200 ml egg whites
908 gr butter

10 replies
littlestruedel Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 5:42am
post #2 of 11

No ideas? I'm going to try with a new batch of egg white tomorrow and see if it works better...

lorieleann Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 6:10am
post #3 of 11

it sounds like you could have had some residual fat of some kind on your beater/bowl? Just a little will wreck a meringue.

scp1127 Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 6:10am
post #4 of 11

Your thermometer can be out of calibration. That's what it sounds like to me.

Digitals can go out from one use to the next. You usually can't fix them because unlike the liquid tube type, there is no rhyme or reason to the differences.

I now exclusively use the glass tube kind. I check the calibration about every two weeks. Even the tubes can slip in their metal holders and can wreak havoc on your buttercreams. I make historic candies for museums and I can't afford to be off in sugar work.

I have tried to electrical tape the tube and I have even Sharpied a mark on the tube and the casing, but neither works. Over the course of a month, even these thermometers will move a few degrees. I even had one slip and be off by about 15 degrees from one batch to the next.

The Taylors like I use can slide in the case with a little pressure. If you use the glass test tube type, you wil just have to know how far off your cardboard thing in the middle has moved. If it's digital, it can't be fixed.

To calibrate, boil water and calibrate to 212 degrees.

littlestruedel Posted 12 Jun 2012 , 3:52pm
post #5 of 11

Scp, you might be right on the mark. The second batch I did took a long time to come up to temperature (I use a heat gun instead of a candy thermometre), so there is a chance it was hotter then it should have been. However, after I was concerned about that I checked it on a pot of boiling water and it's readout was 100c, so bang on what it should be.

I'll pick up batteries for my other trusty thermometre today and test that out when I make todays batch.

lorieleann: Fat was my thought as well, but I washed out the pot, mixing bowl and beaters, and then wiped them both out with lemon juice as well, so if it was residual fat, I'm not sure what the heck it could have been on!

Thanks for your input ladies!

littlestruedel Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 2:07am
post #6 of 11

Success!!! So I got new batteries for my thermometre and sure enough the other one was out about 7 degrees, gee that's helps!! However, after thinking this was my problem, the meringue still flopped!!
So I got my husband to pick up another carton of eggwhites and this one worked like a dream! So now I need to figure out if it was just a bad batch of eggwhites, or if it was because I froze them and defrosted them. I'm leaning towards a bad batch because I'm sure I've frozen them before and they've worked just fine.
Thanks for your help ladies!

scp1127 Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 4:40am
post #7 of 11

little, you may be on to something. Last Christmas Eve, I took an order from a friend. It was my Egg Nog Cake. I thought I would try a suggestion on CC and I saved my yolks from the day before's IMBC for that day's FBC. I had them at the back of the refrigerator and they were very cold. Even though I brought them to room temp, I found that my volume was significantly decreased. I don't know if it was the cold or the day old yolks, but a small change shorted my borders. So it could be the freezer, but what if older/younger carton whites are to blame?

Any one little thing can throw off these recipes.

imagenthatnj Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 4:56pm
post #8 of 11

littlestruedel, to start with, the cartons of egg whites tell you that it is not suitable for meringue, due to the pasteurization process.

But I used them all the time anyway. And I know that it works. I do use a bit of cream of tartar on it at the beginning.

Your problem might have been this (if as you said, you froze the egg whites): when the carton egg whites freeze, the water separates from the egg and settles on top, so if you didn't shake it well, you might have used the very diluted liquid that came out. They're already not that thick, so you might have not noticed that.

Shake the carton well after it's defrosted.

I also want to try testing if older/younger carton whites matter...next. I've always wondered about that.

BahaQueen Posted 13 Jun 2012 , 5:10pm
post #9 of 11

I love CC and it's members...reading is truly fundamental icon_smile.gif

BakingIrene Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 1:15am
post #10 of 11

In addition to any sort of thermometer, there is always the old test: a few drops into a glass of cold water. Batteries and calibrating screws are fine but you should also know about this way:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html

littlestruedel Posted 14 Jun 2012 , 5:55am
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagenthatnj

littlestruedel, to start with, the cartons of egg whites tell you that it is not suitable for meringue, due to the pasteurization process.

But I used them all the time anyway. And I know that it works. I do use a bit of cream of tartar on it at the beginning.

Your problem might have been this (if as you said, you froze the egg whites): when the carton egg whites freeze, the water separates from the egg and settles on top, so if you didn't shake it well, you might have used the very diluted liquid that came out. They're already not that thick, so you might have not noticed that.

Shake the carton well after it's defrosted.

I also want to try testing if older/younger carton whites matter...next. I've always wondered about that.




Our cartons don't actually say that up here, but I have heard this as well. I've been using them for about 9 months with no problems though.

I know that I did shake this batch well, because I've made that mistake before, and no amount of whipping was going to get those eggs whites to beat up!

I have a lot of buttercream to make over the next few weeks, so I'm going to be running some good science experiments in my kitchen! The good news is that even if the meringue flops, I can still get it to whip back up, I just can't get the normal volume, and the end product isn't as firm as usual.

Let me know how your experiments go!

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