The Soufflé Base

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The soufflé base, the preparation into which the foamed egg whites are incorporated, serves two essential purposes. The first is to provide the soufflé’s flavor (the base must be over flavored to compensate for its dilution by tasteless egg white and air). The second purpose is to contribute a reservoir of moisture for the soufflé’s rise, and starch and protein to make the bubble walls viscous enough that they won’t ooze down again. Usually the base is precooked and can’t actually thicken during the soufflé’s rise. The bubble walls are set by the egg white proteins, which can be effective only if they’re not excessively diluted by the base material. The usual rule is to allow at least one white or one cup whipped white per half-cup/125 ml base.