A number of recipes call for the whites and yolks of eggs to be separated. Before you begin, wash your hands and the eggshells. You’ll also need a bowl and 2 cups. To separate eggs:
- Tap the side of the egg on the edge of a bowl or cup to crack the shell. Tip the egg so that the majority of its contents are in one half; pull the two halves of the shell apart.
- Pass the yolk from shell half to shell half several times, allowing the white to slip off into a cup. Place the yolk in another cup.
- Inspect the white for small amounts of yolk. If any yolk is present in the white, remove it with a spoon. Any yolk in the white will prevent the whites from beating into peaks.
- Transfer the white to the bowl.
Adding Egg Yolks to a Hot Mixture
Egg yolks will cook too quickly if added all at once to a hot mixture. This must be done gradually. To add egg yolks to a hot mixture:
- Stir a spoonful of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks to condition them to the temperature of the hot mixture.
- Add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining hot mixture and continue to stir over low heat until it thickens to the desired consistency.
Beating Egg Whites
Beaten egg whites incorporate air into baked goods and are used for meringues. They can be beaten with an electric mixer, handheld rotary eggbeater or whisk. Bring egg whites to room temperature for best volume. (Use them within 30 minutes.) Be sure that both the bowl and beaters are clean and dry. Even a small amount of grease or oil, including specks of yolk, will prevent the whites from whipping properly. To beat egg whites:
- Begin beating slowly, gradually increasing the speed as the egg whites begin to foam.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold the desired shape, either soft or stiff peaks.