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Deflated meringues---why?

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Its strange. The first time I made meringues, they turned out perfect. However, all the attempts afterwards were either mediocre or complete failures. I seem to have the opposite effect where the more practice I get with the recipe, the worst I get!:S

One consistent thing I keep noticing is that my meringues would keep deflating AFTER they are done baking. Why is this? I would mix the egg whites up to stiff peaks. Its white, creamy, shiny, it passes the upside down bowl test. I used fine sugar and everything. What's going on?

I do usually mix it on high speed. Is that bad?

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  1. You could have had a tiny speck of fat in the whites that you didn't notice.

    If you don't already, try separating the eggs while they are cold then letting them come to room temperature.

    Do you use something like cream of tartar to stabalise the mixture?

    1. Only make meringues on dry days. It is hard for me to make them here in Louisiana. I can usually salvage them by cooking them on 200 degrees for a couple more hours, and then letting them cool in the oven.

      1. Also, start at low speed and then slowly increase. A copper bowl helps a lot.

        1. how big are the meringues you are making? If you are making them big and mounding them, you have to adjust the baking time and let them bake for longer and dry them out. whipping them is not an issue for you since you were able to get firm peaks, if fat was present in your mixing bowl/eggs you wouldnt even get that far.

          1. When do you add the sugar? Try waiting until the egg whites have reached the soft peak stage, then add the sugar & beat until stiff. Also, try switching to a lower speed. If you're beating the whites too quickly, you'll get large air bubbles in there that eventually burst & cause the meringue to deflate. You want tiny pockets of air.

            When all else fails, as Becca said, humidity/moisture is a meringue's worst enemy. And be sure they're baked completely - if they're underdone at all, they'll fall.

            3 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Thanks everyone for all the great tips. I'll make sure to have this thread open when I bake meringues again. lol

              I do tend to make the meringues pretty big, jester99. Would you suggest I make them smaller? I'm always afraid they will burn.

              Goodhealthgourmet, I do usually add the sugar during the soft peak stage. Maybe a little earlier sometimes. I'll definitely keep track of when and be more precise about it. I'll also make sure to mix the whites slower next time.:)

              One thing I forgot to mention--the meringues I'm trying to make are chocolate swirled ones. I do understand chocolate has fat in it, so I'm very gentle when folding it in. Perhaps I'm not gentle enough and I deflate the bubbles?
              These are the two recipes I was trying to follow:
              http://melissascuisine.blogspot.ca/20...
              http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/make...

              1. re: Purdys_99

                nothing wrong with them being "bigger" you just have to adjust time and oven temp. Lower the oven temp, and extend the baking

                since you are adding chocolate, i think part of it could also be that you are over beating the meringue and deflating it when you add in the chocolate because since your recipe calls to do it at shift peaks, its already at the point where too much mixing will deflate it. When it gets to stiff peaks (before it looks glossy) pull it and then add in the chocolate. Hell to be even safer, after it hits soft peaks, pull it off the machine and finish whipping it by hand.

                Edit** notice that the temp for one of your recipes is at 200F which is fine, just extend the drying time. 200F is not really going to burn anything, I dont think it will even take on color.

                1. re: jester99

                  That's very helpful and specific advice Jester99. Thanks for the follow up:) Can't wait to try it out again.