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Lisanne is a trusted home cook.
Sometimes it is due to the presence of even a small amount of fat; are you sure that no portion of the yolk got in, and that the bowl was very clean? Also, it is easier to beat whites that are a few days old than fresh. Other than that, I'm not sure; maybe others will weigh in?
You also might have some soap residue in the bowl. The bowl must be very clean. I use a copper bowl exclusively for whipping egg which means you don't need cream of tartar.
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I'm not sure if it will work--I agree with what creamtea and bigpan said-- but you might try a big pinch of kosher (or a smaller pinch of regular if you don't have kosher) salt. I find that salt helps egg whites stiffen up quickly.
I was having trouble getting my whites to stiffen & a pinch of kosher salt worked! Thanks!
Thanks for the replies. I did have a small bit of yolk in the whites that probably was the cause!! Now any ideas for the great flavored mixture?
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
The presence of any kind of fat (that in yolks, for example), causes protein chains to literally slip apart. Protein chains are long and sinuous, and for a meringue, you obviously want them to stay long. Cream of tartar (aka tartaric acid) or cupric acid (which is formed naturally when using a copper bowl) help with the relaxing and strengthening parts of whipping EWs. It is important also that you never use a plastic bowl for whipping them. Plastic bonds well with fats and oils, and it is difficult to ever get one clean enough to use here.
I was always told that a drop of vinegar in the bowl first will counteract any remaining bits of grease.
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