Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle

Until recently I had never made a souffle before.  Actually I had never eaten one either.  Souffles are infamous for being a difficult dish to make.  I remembered watching the Good Eats episode where he makes a Cheese Souffle, and thinking it looked very doable.  Making a souffle is very similar to making a mousse, and since I’ve done that many times I figured I shouldn’t have any trouble.  As long as you can handle whipping egg whites and then using the folding method to incorporate them, you can easily make a souffle.

It’s difficult to describe the texture of a souffle if you’ve never eaten one.  They are very light and airy, with a crisper, browned outer shell.  Like the Crème Brûlée, I really enjoy the contrast.  The inside has a texture similar to that of scrambled eggs with a lot of air whipped in.  Also as a note the vessel that a souffle is made in is also called a souffle.  A souffle (the dish) is fluted to create more surface area.  This allows the souffle to rise better.  You can see what one looks like in the picture above.

Anyways, I’ll take you through how I made it, and stress the important points so you can build your souffle correctly.

Cheese Souffle:

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan
3 Tablespoons Butter, plus more for greasing the souffle
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/3 cups Milk, Hot
4 large egg yolks (2 1/2 ounces by weight)
6 ounces Sharp Cheddar
5 Egg Whites plus 1 Tablespoon Water (5 1/2 ounces by weight plus 1/2 ounce water)
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Use some butter to grease the sides and bottom of a 1 1/2 Quart Souffle Dish.  Add the Parmesan, and cover with plastic wrap.  Move the souffle around to coat the sides and bottom with cheese.  Dump off any excess, and recover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry mustard, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
  4. In a small saucepan or saucier melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Wait until the water cooks out of the butter (the butter will foam and then the foaming will subside).  This will allow you to incorporate the flour mixture above into the butter easily without lumps forming.
  5. Whisk this mixture into the melted butter and cook for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the hot milk and turn the heat to high.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove from the heat.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks to a creamy consistency. Temper the yolks into the milk mixture, constantly whisking.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese.  Whisk until incorporated.
  7. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar and whisk until there are stiff peaks (The mixture will look glossy and you will see trails left behind by the beaters.  To test for stiff peaks turn off the hand mixer and dip the beaters into the mixture.  You will see a peak that should hold, and won’t tilt when you tilt the beaters to the side).  Stir 1/4 of the mixture into the Cheese mixture.  Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently. (I will add a folding technique later).
  8. Pour the mixture into the souffle.  Fill the souffle to 1/2-inch from the top.  Using your thumb, make an indentation at the edge of the pan and trace around the periphery of the mixture.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. (You want to make sure you don’t open the oven while the souffle is baking.  This is very important because it may cause your souffle to deflate if the oven loses too much heat.)  Enjoy!
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