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Is There an Alternative to Ramekins for Baking Souffles?

Hello all.

I am planning to bake my very first soufflés and I am wondering if I can bake them in something other than ramekins. I'm sure there is a very good reason why the ceramic ramekins are the standard (in my estimation they might be the best for heat distribution) but I am wondering if I can make do without them.

Can I bake them in muffin tins, for example?

I should note that the first ever chocolate souffles I had were served in little foil tins. I surmise they were baked right in these tins. These souffles didn't seem 'authentic' (in my mind) by any stretch but they tasted good. I doubt any bakery would sell their souffles in (expensive) ramekin dishes.

So do you think I can get away with making souffles without the ramekins?

(I do plan on getting ramekins in the future.)

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  1. The reason they are usually baked in ramekins is because they have straight sides, which allow the souffle to rise straight up. They are also easier to serve, either in the ramekin or to turn out each one at a time, which is difficult in a muffin tin.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarahjay

      Thanks for the reply. That makes a lot of sense. I was thinking to myself that the shape of muffin tins could be a problem. Do you think (or know from experience if) they will still rise at all?

    2. You can use coffee cups or mugs. It seems you are set on individual souffles. You can do a single large one in any baking pan/casserole though it isn't the elegant presentation you get with a round, straight-sided vessel. On the souffle episode of Julia and Jacques, he used a gratin dish. She used a ramekin with a parchment collar.

      I am skeptical that the bakery item you describe is a true souffle. Souffles must be eaten right out of the oven - they are not a make-ahead retail item.

      13 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        Thanks for the reply. I wouldn't make a big multiple-portion souffle. It doest have same appeal to me. I did read, as you mentioned, of the cups/mug option. It seems like a viable option so long as my mugs are oven-proof. I wonder if the height of the mugs could be an issue. I want them to puff over and I wonder if the fact that batter will be filled to the brim in the taller mugs might be a problem.

        As for the authenticity of that bakery souffle, I pretty much came to the same conclusion as you.

        1. re: claritas

          unlike you , I prefer the presentation of one larger souffle dish with a parchment collar. Very elegant!

          1. re: magiesmom

            How do you dish it out?

            1. re: claritas

              using a large spoon, serve on flat plates.

              1. re: magiesmom

                I might just try this. I have a big ceramic dish that looks just like a ramekin. Thanks.

                1. re: claritas

                  From your description ("a big ceramic dish that looks just like a ramekin"), I would say that what you have is, in fact, a souffle dish.

                  Like so: http://www.potshopofboston.com/souffl...

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    True! That never crossed my mind. It is infact a souffle dish. I've always just used it for serving.

                    1. re: claritas

                      that is indeed a souffle dish. you'll still want a collar.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        Did you have bad results without a collar?

                        1. re: claritas

                          not bad. but a collar will encourage the tallest rise by giving the batter something to creep up. It takes a minute to apply and improves the result.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Great tip! Thanks.

          2. re: claritas

            If you need more height you can make collars for the cups with parchment paper or foil.

            1. re: chefj

              That's a great idea! Thanks.

        2. I've made mini and large souffles using a springform pan.

          7 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            Where there any special adjusments you had to make?

            1. re: claritas

              I wrapped the base in foil.

              1. re: HillJ

                What does that achieve? And I am assuming you wrapped the outside and not the inside.

                1. re: claritas

                  Yes the outside to seal the bottom. Sometimes a springform pan can leak and the joint.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Were the mini ones made with mini springform pans?

                    1. re: claritas

                      Yes. I have a set of four minis at home for cheesecakes and tried using them for lemon souffle some time back. I also have quite a few full size springforms for large cakes and used it for a chocolate souffle at Christmas.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Ah, thanks!

          2. I've seen photos of souffles made in hollowed-out orange shells (pretty, although they didn't seem to rise very much). I was going to try it, but hollowing out one orange was a tedious mess, so I just used my ramekins.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Claudette

              Wow that's a neat idea. And these actually look good and have a good height: http://www.zencancook.com/2010/12/ora...

            2. Hey Claritas, I aspire to make a souffle too one day. And when I do, I want to try a trick I saw a chef do: she ran her thumb all along the inside of the souffle, to make a trench. I can't remember exactly *why* she did it. Something about the it rising uniformly instead of just poofing up in the middle. Anybody else heard of this?

              5 Replies
              1. re: pdxgastro

                Hey! I have also heard of this trick. I first saw it in a souffle demonstration by Gordin Ramsey on his show The F Word. Here's the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O_-HD...

                And heres a second souffle clip from the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paY3Xe...

                I'm not sure how or if this will pair well with the parchment/foil collar technique. And I'm also not sure if it works with bigger souffles. It will be a matter of experimentation and experience.

                1. re: claritas

                  But my chef demonstrated it in the standard souffle dish! I think you could pour the souffle into your dish, do the trench and put the collar on afterwards. Surely, it will be easier to pour in w/o that monstrosity on it, right? :o)

                  1. re: pdxgastro

                    Covering all bases. Sounds like a smart idea!

                    1. re: claritas

                      As long as you work fast. You want to get a souffle into the oven pronto.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        I'll note that!

              2. short squatty little round coffee cups

                1 Reply
                1. re: iL Divo

                  Thanks.