I've been working with SMBC for about a month with mixed results lately. Today, 3 out of 4 of my batches were grainy at the meringue stage (before adding butter) and I'm really hoping someone can shed some light on what I'm doing wrong. My method: Mix 3 egg whites with 1 C. sugar. Heat on double boiler until mixture reaches 160. During this step, I'm constantly whisking the mixture by hand, trying to ensure I'm not leaving sugar on the sides. On the last failed batch, I tasted about a 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture before beating it in the blender and it was silky smooth. I've read that just one sugar crystal can wreak havoc on the entire batch. All I can think of is that the sides of my bowl still must have a few sugar crystals on them and when I start beating the egg/sugar mixture on high it's grabbing them. On one batch I even tried to transfer the egg/sugar mixture to a new bowl and got the same grainy meringue at the end. All I'm certain of is the egg/sugar mixture is reaching 160 and I don't detect any grainy texture when I taste it at that point. Any help is appreciated.
try throwing your sugar in a food processor after you measure it out, making the grains of sugar smaller. someone correct me if I am wrong, but the point of heating up the egg white/sugar mixture to 160 is so that no one gets sick from eating raw eggs. having a few undissolved pieces of sugar won't turn your whole mix grainy. if you were making an italian meringue buttercream, you wouldn't want the sugar sticking to the sides of your pot when you cook the syrup.
Hi...I used some superfine sugar last night and it came out perfect. One thing that I'm concerned about it how much of the egg/sugar mixture is on the sides of the bowl. I try to continuously scrape the sides while it's heating, but it still seems like there's some grainy mixture at the end when it reaches the 160 mark.
I do the same. I constantly scrape the sides and draw the hot mixture up the sides to help melt all the crystals. Is your final product grainy? I've never had that happen with SMBC. I've been making it for 3 years now. It's not nearly as finicky as it's made out to be sometimes. The sugar should melt way before the 160 degree mark.
Yeah, the final product is grainy, a real disappointment. Lately, I've stopped when I realized the meringue was grainy because I didn't think adding the butter would alter the outcome. I'm starting to wonder if perhaps my Thermapen is not calibrated correctly and it's giving me a hotter temperature than the mixture really is.
Curious, when your meringue is complete, are the sides of your mixing bowl smooth or is there any type of grainy residue? I've noticed that sides of my bowl are not smooth when the SMBC is completely finished. Kind of feels rough on the sides.
Thanks again for your reply.
I might have a little hard sugar around the top of the bowl but it doesn't affect the batch. Next time you make a batch put on a glove and rub the hot egg sugar mixture between your fingers. it should be completely smooth.
Will do, thank you.
I have always heated my egg whites and sugar in a separate stainless steel bowl over a pan as a double boiler, then once it's reached the right temp I tip the whole lot into a lovely clean Kitchenaid bowl and start mixing from there. I've not once had any issue with my SMBC doing it that way.
I was curious about my old school candy thermometer one day so bought a second (digital) one. There were a few differences in temp measurements but nothing terribly huge. I would suggest buying a second thermometer and testing temp again.
It's funny you mention the second thermometer....Turns out the one I was using was 10 degrees off! I recalibrated it last night and my next batch of SMBC came out silky smooth!