Baking 101: How To Fold In Egg Whites
Baking 101: a series of how-tos and what’s what when it comes to home baking. The small stuff, explained.
A recipe that calls for beaten egg whites can be intimidating enough. There is enough fear around getting the mixing bowl dry and grease-free enough to fluff the egg whites to frighten even a seasoned baker. Having to then fold those egg whites into batter can feel, well… like too much. How does one fold a fluffy ingredient into a dense wet ingredient? This is nothing like the time I spent a summer folding shirts at The Gap (in my imagination because I always wanted to work at The Gap because it seemed sooooo cool but wwhhhyyy!?), and also nothing like the time I spend four minutes trying to fold a fitted sheet before deciding that the task is 100% IMPOSSIBLE (because dammit IT IS! and don’t you dare send me a Martha Stewart link about it because I will not I will not I will not).
What I’m trying to say is, folding egg whites is possible and sometimes necessary and if I can do it, you can do it.
How To Fold Egg Whites:
- Get ready. Gather your batter in a large bowl (it’s going to get fluffy), your stiffly beaten egg whites, and a rubber spatula.
• Add a small portion (a spatula-full) of egg whites to the batter. We’re adding a small amount at first to help loosen the more dense batter.
• Using the spatula on its side, slice down the center of the bowl from the top towards you, bisecting the egg whites and batter. We obviously aren’t cutting the batter, we’re momentarily and temporarily dividing it in two.
• As the spatula is pulled towards you, flip it to the left, scooping up the batter to the left, and ‘folding’ it over the egg whites.
• Bisect the dough again and fold over. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn to the left, use the side of the spatula to bisect the dough and fold again. Repeat until the spoonful of egg whites is almost entirely incorporated.
• Add another large spatula-full of egg whites and fold in the same manner; slicing down the center of the batter and whites, folding over to the left, rotating the bowl and repeating.
As you add more egg whites, the batter will begin to lighten and fluff. The key is to fully incorporate the egg whites into the denser batter while maintaining some of the fluff of the egg whites. This will lighten the batter.
• Folding egg whites is a matter of technique and patience. It takes time, simple folding, and bowl rotation. The end result will be a fluffy batter that bakes up light an airy. This is a great technique for pancakes and light cake batters. Also really wonderful if you need to zone out in the kitchen and get a light arm work out.