BAKING WITH MERINGUE POWDER
Our customers often wonder what are the advantages of baking with meringue powder rather than egg whites. This article is answering two of the most frequent questions we receive.
What is Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder consists of dehydrated egg whites that have been ground into a very fine powder. It often contains a bit of cornstarch to lend consistency to its texture, and some varieties contain added sweeteners and a bit of vanilla flavoring. It is easily reconstituted by adding water and beating at high speed until the mixture forms those quintessential fluffy meringue peaks.
However, not all meringue powders are equal. As with pretty much every other food product, it is important to read ingredients statements before selecting what meringue powder to purchase. Meringue powder is meant to replace egg whites, so meringue powders listing dried eggs as their first ingredients will perform better than those listing starch for example.
What are the main advantages of using Meringue Powder?
Egg whites need to be brought at room temperature before using them in a recipe and separated. Unless you are an expert pastry chef chances are that you will not break the shells properly and end up loosing quite some time removing little pieces of egg shell from your egg whites. Separating egg whites is also messy and pose a risk of salmonella if you are not cleaning up your tools and workspace thoroughly and quickly. Furthermore, it is more difficult to be consistent when using egg whites unless you get into the habit of weighting them in grams. Indeed, when glancing inside a carton of eggs you can quickly see that not all eggs are exactly the same size and some have larger yolks than other when you try separating them from the whites. And we are not even talking about having to run back to the store because you accidentally drop one of your eggs on the floor (it happens to the best of us) or trying to figure out what to do with your left-over egg yolks.
Meringue powder can be used right away with no additional time-consuming preparation, which is an important attribute for many of today's busy cooks. It is also very easy to scale, pretty much mess-free and does not pose a safety risk. Who doesn't enjoy having ingredients on hand that require a minimal amount of fuss?
Meringue powder is usually more expensive than buying one egg dozen at the time, but it has a very long shelf-life. For most of us, baking isn't part of our everyday routine, but rather something you enjoy doing for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. You might be concerned by the risk of your baking ingredients going bad in between those sessions. Meringue powder has an exceedingly long shelf live — it can last as long as two years provided you store it in a cool, dry place between uses, such as a back corner shelf in your pantry or cupboard.
Using meringue powder instead of egg whites in applications such as icings, frostings, fillings or baked cakes also prolongs the shelf-life of your finished baked goods. They will stay fresh longer and will be more stable at room temperature than if you use egg whites.
Do you ever look at those professionally decorated cakes and wonder how they made that fabulous frosting or icing? Chances are, the frosting has been created using meringue powder. Meringue powder provides the structure necessary to craft the elaborate flowers and other designs so often seen on cakes decorated by professionals.
Meringue Powder is most often used to make something known as 'royal icing,' which is a thick, easily-molded icing that holds its shape and dries hard. Royal icing is very popular with cookie decorators, or “cookiers”. Although it is traditionally made using egg whites, confectioners' sugar, and whatever coloring the cake decorator wants to use to achieve the desired effect, most cookie decorators now use meringue powder. It’s easier to use and provides a better texture. Many cookiers also swear that using a meringue powder with high levels of dried eggs also help to prevent color bleeding and provide a better shine when drying cookies in a dehydrator.
Meringue powder is also used to make buttercream frosting. An all-time favorite for many birthday and celebrations cakes, when using raw egg whites and leaving the cake on display outside for several hours you take a chance that your raw egg whites may be contaminated with bacteria that could result in a Salmonella infection. When you use meringue powder, you don't have to worry about anyone getting sick, which is not the way you want your guests to remember the party you took so long to plan.
We are huge fans of using meringue powder instead of raw egg whites. We hope you will be too. If you do not know where to start, we recommend you to try Chefmaster Deluxe Meringue Powder. It has one of the highest ratios of dried eggs in the industry. Furthermore, we only use cage-free egg (we are CA prop 12 compliant), natural flavor and GMO-free ingredients. Our Deluxe Meringue Powder has been used by professional pastry chefs all around the world for decades and is well-known for its quality, consistency, and performance. We are confident you will love it.