The most important thing you need to know
about beating egg whites is when to stop. Most recipes indicate a certain
stage to which the foam should be beaten. Here are the stages, plus a
description of overbeaten egg whites.
The egg whites are just lightly whipped to a
frothy but still fluid consistency. They will consist of large bubbles on
the surface that readily pop. The foam will not hold any peaks when the
whisk is lifted from it.
This means that the foam is moist, shiny and
bright white. When the whisk or beaters are lifted, the foam will form a
dull peak, then pile softly or gently curl over. It will also flow when
the bowl is tilted.
At this stage, the foam maintains its glossy
sheen and holds an upright peak when the whisk or beaters are lifted. it
will not flow, or will just barely flow, when the bowl is tilted. At this
point, the foam has reached its maximum volume.
This is a common mistake, particularly when
whipping with electric mixers. You will know that the egg whites are
overbeaten when the foam begins to look dry and granular. To rescue
overbeaten egg whites, add an extra fresh white and beat until you have a
glossy foam that holds the desired peaks.