Who came first, the cake or egg?

Greener at home

Sometimes I get caught wondering if people understand the importance of eggs. In my confectionery, All about cakes, I use more than 100 eggs a week, and so I know that I owe a lot to the farms, chickens and breeders all over Brazil. [eu e todos os chefs do mundo! ;)] With eggs we can make so many preparations, sweet or savory, that there are N gastronomic publications on the subject. My favorite, from Michael Roux, teaches didactically how to get to the creamy spot of the best omelet of your life and how to use eggs to their fullest potential! Worth reading. Also, did you know that each fold of the toc du chef means a way to prepare eggs?
Yeah … So, if you have the honor of wearing a chef’s hat, you better know how to prepare your eggs perfectly! But as we well know, I am here to take a closer look at the fascinating characteristics of eggs and make them better understand all the importance of the chicken story [aquela fatídica pergunta do quem veio primeiro] in our life in the kitchen, and especially in the confectionery. The egg is responsible for uniting all the ingredients in a batter, it is the main protagonist of a stunning souffle, it has an important thickening power for confectionery creams, the famous custards and, by the way, when alone in a plate, with a little oil, salt and oregano, does its delicious role very well. So much ‘goodness’ has a reason – its chemical composition! The egg is the egg of a bird that may or may not be fertilized, whose objective is, as we well know, to accommodate the embryo and provide food and water for its development to occur.
For us the egg is a food full of nutrients, from the shell to its interior, in addition to having physical properties that benefit us even more. Starting with the bark, rich in calcium [quem nunca adubou a terra das plantinhas com casquinha de ovo?], she is responsible for protecting the white and the yolk [óbvio, não?] allowing air to pass through its micro porosity [não se preocupe com os líquidos, a casca é impermeável!] . This porosity allows the egg to absorb odors and colors. When we wash the eggs to put them in the refrigerator, what happens is that we remove a superficial protection from the shell, running the risk that its pores are more subject to external contamination. Therefore, washing eggs in addition to reducing their shelf life increases the risk of contamination. Wash them only when using them, otherwise you will be at more risk of cleaning them than if you leave them “dirty”.
The clear, in turn, responsible for providing water to the embryo – since it is formed by 85% water and 15% protein [a albumina], is the protection of the yolk, which in turn is the food of the embryo, rich in proteins, fats [35% da gema é gordura – por isso sua característica cremosa] and lecithin, a natural emulsifier, responsible for example, for the stability of mayonnaise. A very important role for eggs in the confectionery is the use not only of the yolks, as I mentioned earlier, but of the whites; the famous egg whites! And that’s what I want to talk about! One of the magnificent properties of egg white, due to albumin, is the ability to absorb air. When we beat the egg whites in the mixer, or manually, either with a wire whisk [fouet] either with a fork, two forks, three forks, whatever forrrrr! – we add air to the protein.
At first, it is easy to notice the formation of large air bubbles that decrease as the volume of the whites increases. This air-absorbing capacity is entirely the fault of the egg whites protein, which, like a hair, curls up and captures the air that the beater drives into it, causing its volume to increase by up to three times the initial volume. The longer we beat the egg whites, the more stable the mixture is because the bubbles will become so small that they can even support the weight of an egg on them – just like the clouds support angels [romântico, né?] However, hitting a lot does not mean turning on the mixer and going out by calling the aunt to gossip! The more we beat the egg whites, the more we destabilize its proteins, causing it to break in excess and release not only the air we were trying to incorporate, but breaking the protein and turning it back into a liquid egg.
One of the big problems that I notice, of people who have a little difficulty in dealing with the production of cakes is exactly when it is time to beat the egg whites. This is because if the bowl, the whisk or any utensil that is in contact with the egg white is greasy or dirty, your egg white will not be able to add the necessary air, and your cake will lose some of the volume it could acquire. Therefore, it is important to always use clean containers and avoid any contamination of egg whites with yolk, otherwise, what we have to do is a very juicy omelet, with a lot of parsley and a happy lunch!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.