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Oct 29, 2009 07:08 AM

Help with Gougeres - they came out hard & dense not light & airy

I made gougeres with a recipe that is tried and true but for some reason instead of coming out of the oven - light & airy - they came out hard and heavy. I am quite sure I followed the recipe correctly - but obviously - something's up - maybe I didn't cook the choux batter long enough, oven temp off? I don't know - any thoughts?

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    1. re: hotoynoodle

      the gourmet cookbook one - I have used it many times & had absolutely no problem...

      1. re: Apple

        I have some thoughts:
        Did you miss-count the eggs?
        Eggs at room temp?
        Was your oven pre-heated? (I'm sure it was but...) Oven at proper temp?
        Did you add maybe too much flour? (Another miss-count)
        By hard and heavy, I assume you mean they didn't rise properly and this could be an egg problem.
        By "maybe I didn't cook the choux batter long enough" could be oven temp problem as well. They need heat for the oomph from the eggs.
        I'm also assuming the weren't overdone, as you stated, they were "heavy".
        Getting back to the eggs, I think maybe that's it.
        Try them again and let us know.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          not having the gourmet cookbook, i still don't know it. that being said, if you've made them before, i agree with the above poster, either your eggs or the oven temp. more likely the latter. they need to rise in the beginning and i've used all sorts of eggs. i don't find eggs as finicky as some people claim them to be.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            i agree... thanks... I will try calibrating my oven temp. I think this is where the recipe when awry.

    2. Were your eggs the right size ?

      I find that I have to add the last egg in parts, until the mixture is of the right consistency. I usually end up using a little less than the whole egg. Note: I am not familiar with the proportions in the Gourmet recipe.

      1 Reply
      1. re: souschef

        yes - I always buy large eggs. Always use large. I guess I take it for granted - but when I read eggs, I take it to mean the large ones.

      2. I need help too.
        I have had success once with each of the following recipes, but on the many other occasions, I ended up with flatter cheese "bread" that didnt puff up and become hollow in the center.

        I have tried using this recipe by Jacque Pepin:

        And using this recipe, courtesy of
        1/2 cup water
        4 tbsp butter
        1/2 cup flour
        pinch of salt
        2 large eggs
        1/2 cup grated sharp cheese (cheddar, gruyere, etc.
        )1 tsp freshly picked thyme leaves
        1 tsp freshly coarsely ground black pepper

        7 Replies
        1. re: Mellicita

          Both these recipes look fine. It's interesting to note that the foodwishes uses 2 eggs to 1/2 c flour:1/2 c liquid and the Pepin uses 3:1:1. The basic formula is 1 egg to every 1/2 cup flour/liquid.
          Aside from that, it's most likely an oven temp thing, especially if the gougeres were flat.
          What's the baking temp on the foodwishes formula? Should be 375F
          Are you pre-heating for at least ten minutes?
          Do you have a thermometer so you can check oven calibration?
          Assuming you followed the instructions in making the choux, I can't think of anything other than oven temp.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            The formula I use (in metric) is: 100 gm butter, half as much again (150gm) flour, and the addition (100+150) ml of water, with 4-5 large eggs. Works every time for me, and easy to adjust if you want to make more (or less). I don't believe in using cups to measure flour.

            1. re: souschef

              Unfortunately, not everyone has a scale (sigh) but thanks for posting the metric conversion if I ever get one.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                kitchen digital scales can now be gotten pretty cheaply. mine is a godsend. although i bought a pro-model at a restuarant supply store, it has paid for itslef many times over.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I was just reviewing a few models online, maybe for Christmas!?!

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    I've seen Salter scales at Ross's and TJ Maxx type stores. I was kicking myself because I'd already sprung for the expensive one from Williams Sonoma. I'm surprised at how often I use it and how helpful it is.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  I have found that a Pelouze postal scale (Pelouze SP5 5-lb./2200g.Capacity),
                  $25 - $35 @ Amazon works nicely for most anything I'm measuring for cooking.
                  There is a 10-Lb./5000g version for approximately $55. As it's a postal scale, it's quite accurate. With a press of the oz/g button you can toggle between the preferred measurements.

          2. In case it's a technique issue rather than proportions, I use Julia Child's The Way to Cook for gougeres and she provides exceptionally clear instructions and photographs of what the recipe should look like at each stage.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sholli

              I'd echo this -- I made my first Gougeres this way and was very glad I did!

            2. I have had nothing but excellent results with this recipe.

              Alain Ducasse's Gougères


              6 Replies
              1. re: Scagnetti

                That's my favorite, too. always perfect and light. I did a side by side comparison once w/ different recipes and that was the favorite.

                1. re: chowser

                  have you or Scagnetti tried it with cheddar/gruyere combo or just cheddar? I've had nothing but great results with Ducasse's recipe, just thought I'd try a different flavor. BTW, if I can do it, anyone can :)

                  1. re: ceekskat

                    I've never tried it with cheddar, only gruyere, comte if I'm splurging, plain swiss if I'm not. I do sprinkle w/ parmeggiano reggiano sometimes before baking. Did Scagnetti say he(she?) used the combo? I must be missing it. I think cheddar is too high in fat and might melt it too much. If I were going to try it, I might cut back on some butter.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Thanks, no scagnetti didn't say. I was just curious as I've tasted cheese gougere/biscuits before & have enjoyed them but don't have a good recipe for them.

                      1. re: ceekskat

                        I think cheddar would make it heavy but I've had excellent cheddar biscuits and think that would be a better way to go. I think cheddar would weigh it down and make it dense. There might be recipes that use cheddar and I'd probably go w/ that, if you want cheddar gougere.

                    2. re: ceekskat

                      I've only used the Gruyère.

                      I had never made gougères before and the first time I made them using this recipe I was surprised at how well they turned out.

                      They're an excellent make-ahead party snack.